Controller Tuning Rules in Frequency Domain

by Jeffrey Kantor (jeff at The latest version of this notebook is available at

Demonstrate the use of a Bode plot for controller tuning. The notebook uses the Python Control Systems Library.

Closed-Loop Transfer Functions

Process Transfer Functions

The process output $y$ is modeled as the output of a linear system described by the transfer function

$$y = G_p(s)G_v(s) u + G_d(s) d$$

where $G_p(s)$ is the process response to a manipulated variable, $G_v(s)$ is the transfer function of the actuator dynamics, and $G_d(s)$ is process response to a disturbance. The measured process output is given by

$$y_m = G_m(s) y$$

where $G_m(s)$ is the sensor transfer function. We assume the sensor has unit gain, i.e., $G_m(0) = 1$

Control Transfer Functions

The controller generates a command $u$ in response to the reference input $r$ and measured process output $y_m$. This is modeled as

$$u = G_r(s)r - G_y(s)y_m$$

where $G_r(s)$ and $G_y(s)$ are the controller transfer functions. Textbook simulations often set $G_r(s) = G_y(s)$ for PID control. In practice, however, it is generally desireable to avoid excessive action in response to setpoint changes, so generally $G_r \neq G_y$.

Below we employ a parallel implementation of PID control for output feedback where

$$G_y(s) = K_p\left[ 1 + \frac{1}{\tau_Is} + \frac{\tau_D s}{\alpha\tau_Ds + 1}\right]$$

where parameter $\alpha$ limits excessive derivative action. Typical values of $\alpha$ are in the range 0.2 to 0.1.

For the reference signal, $G_r(s)$ has the same general form but with additional parameters $\beta$ and $\gamma$

$$G_r(s) = K_p\left[ \beta + \frac{1}{\tau_Is} + \gamma\frac{\tau_D s}{\alpha\tau_Ds + 1}\right]$$

Commonly $\gamma = 0$ to avoid derivative action on the reference signal. Parameter $\beta$ is typically set to a value $0\leq\beta\leq 1$ that balances prompt response to a setpoint against undue 'kicks' caused by sudden changes in setpoint.

Closed Loop Transfer Functions

The overall response of the closed-loop system is characterized by a set of four transfer functions relating the reference and disturbance inputs to the process output $y$ and the control command $u$.

$$\begin{align*} y & = H_{yr}(s)r + H_{yd}(s)d \\ u & = H_{ur}(s)r + H_{ud}(s)d \end{align*} $$

The closed-loop transfer functions are given explicitly as

$$H_{yr} = \frac{G_pG_vG_r}{1 + G_pG_vG_yG_m}$$

$$H_{yd} = \frac{G_d}{1 + G_pG_vG_yG_m}$$

$$H_{ur} = \frac{G_r}{1 + G_yG_mG_pG_v}$$

$$H_{ud} = -\frac{G_yG_mG_d}{1 + G_yG_mG_pG_v}$$

where the argument $s$ has been suppressed for brevity.


We'll assume a process transfer function with time delay

$$G_p(s) = \frac{0.2}{s^2 + 1.5 s + 1}$$

and a disturbance response

$$G_d(s) = \frac{1}{s + 1}$$

and a measurement transfer function

$$G_m(s) = e^{-s}$$

We'll assume the dynamics of the actuator are negligible such that $G_v(s) = 1$.

The Python Control Systems Library does not provide a specific representation for time delay. It does, however, provide a function pade for creating Pade approximations to time delay systems.

Entering Process Transfer Functions

In [1]:
%matplotlib inline
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from control.matlab import *

Gp = tf([0.2],[1, 1.5, 1])
print("Gp = ", Gp)

Gd = tf([1],[1,1])
print("Gd = ", Gd)

Gv = tf([1],[1])
print("Gv = ", Gv)

(num,den) = pade(1.0,3)
Gm = tf(num,den)
print("Gm = ", Gm)
Gp =  
s^2 + 1.5 s + 1

Gd =  
s + 1

Gv =  

Gm =  
-s^3 + 12 s^2 - 60 s + 120
s^3 + 12 s^2 + 60 s + 120

Finding Cross-Over Frequency and Gain at Cross-Over

In [2]:
w = np.logspace(-1,1)
mag,phase,omega = bode(Gp*Gm*Gv,w)

# find the cross-over frequency and gain at cross-over
wc = np.interp(-180.0,np.flipud(phase),np.flipud(omega))
gc = np.interp(wc,omega,mag)

# get the subplots axes
ax1,ax2 = plt.gcf().axes

# add features to the magnitude plot
[gmin,gmax] = plt.ylim()
plt.title("Gain at Crossover = {0:.3g}".format(gc))

# add features to the phase plot
[pmin,pmax] = plt.ylim()
plt.title("Crossover Frequency = {0:.3g}".format(wc))
<matplotlib.text.Text at 0x1115d4518>

Computing Ultimate Gain and Period

The conventional tuning rules for process control are written in terms of an ultimate gain $K_{cu}$ and ultimate period $P_u$. These are the values obtained by an experiment or calculation where the gain of a proportional only controller is increased until a steady closed-loop oscillation is first observed. The corresponding proportional gain is $K_{cu}$, and the period of oscillation is $P_u$.

These values may be computed from a Bode plot. The ultimate period corresponds to

$$P_u = \frac{2\pi}{\omega_c}$$

where $\omega_c$ is the cross-over frequency. The ultimate gain is then

$$K_{cu} = \frac{1}{G_p(\omega_c)}$$

where $G_p(\omega_c)$ is the open-loop process gain at the cross-over frequency.

In [3]:
Kcu = 1.0/gc
Pu = 2.0*np.pi/wc

Ziegler-Nichols Tuning Rules

Control $K_p$ $\tau_I$ $\tau_D$
P $0.5K_{cu}$ $-$ $-$
PI $0.45K_{cu}$ $\frac{P_u}{1.2}$ $-$
PID $0.6K_{cu}$ $\frac{P_u}{2}$ $\frac{P_u}{8}$
In [4]:
Kp = 0.6*Kcu
tauI = Pu/2.0
tauD = Pu/8.0

print("Ziegler-Nichols PID Tuning")
print("Kp   = {0:0.3g}".format(Kp))
print("tauI = {0:0.3g}".format(tauI))
print("tauD = {0:0.3g}".format(tauD))
Ziegler-Nichols PID Tuning
Kp   = 5.97
tauI = 2.48
tauD = 0.621

Interactive Tuning of a PID Controller

The following cell is initiated with the Ziegler-Nichols tuning for PID control. Interactive sliders can be adjusted to tune the controller for acceptable response.

In [5]:
from ipywidgets import interact, interactive, fixed
import ipywidgets as widgets

def f(alpha=0.1,beta=0.5,gamma=0.0,Kp=0.6*Kcu,tauI=Pu/2.0,tauD=Pu/8.0):
    # parallel implementation of PID control
    P = Kp * tf([1.0],[1.0])
    I = (Kp/tauI) * tf([1.0],[1.0,0.0])
    D = Kp*tauD * tf([1.0,0.0],[alpha*tauD,1.0])

    # controller transfer functions
    Gr = beta*P + I + gamma*D
    Gy = P + I + D

    t = np.linspace(0,20,200)

    yr,t = step(Gp*Gv*Gr/(1+Gp*Gv*Gy*Gm),t)
    plt.title('Setpoint Response')
    plt.ylabel('Output y')

    yd,t = step(Gd/(1+Gp*Gv*Gy*Gm),t)
    plt.title('Disturbance Response')
    plt.ylabel('Output y')

    ur,t = step(Gr/(1+Gy*Gm*Gp*Gv),t)
    plt.ylabel('Control u')

    ud,t = step(-Gy*Gd/(1+Gy*Gm*Gp*Gv),t)
    plt.ylabel('Control u')

         Kp = (0.01*Kcu,Kcu),
         tauI = (Pu/20.0,Pu),
         tauD = (0.0,Pu),
<function __main__.f>
In [13]:
def h(a,b):

def g(Controller):

interact(g, Controller=['P','PI','PID']);
12.2 3.0