Industry applications often involve continuous-variable process control and discrete logic control in a manufacturing environment. Although a number of textbooks exist on traditional (continuous-variable) control which is taught in engineering schools, there is a lack of treatments on control that combine continuous-variable control, discrete logic control, and manufacturing fundamentals. In an attempt to fill the void, this book contains an introductory treatment of the essential topics including analog and digital control, discrete logic control, ladder logic diagrams, manufacturing systems, and production control.
The material in this book is based on an undergraduate engineering course that was developed and taught by the author at the Georgia Institute of Technology. A description of the course was presented at the 1997 American Control Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was published in the proceedings of the conference. There is enough material in the text for a three-credit-hour quarter or semester course. A semester course version may require supplemental material if three 1-hour lectures are given per week. In a semester system, the best format is to have a three-credit-hour course with two 1-hour lectures per week and a 1- credit-hour laboratory project.
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A detailed description of a laboratory project is given in Appendix B. The project provides students with hands-on experience in using programmable logic controllers (PLCs), PC-based controllers, and software for equipment interfacing, operation, and communications. The book is intended to be appropriate for junior- or senior-level engineering students or for practicing engineers. The background for reading the text consists of some previous exposure to calculus, Boolean algebra, and the concepts of signals and systems. The part of the book dealing with continuous-variable control does involve the use of the Laplace and z transforms which are introduced in the text.
It is helpful if the reader has had some past experience using transforms, but the brief treatment on transforms in the text is intended to be sufficient for the application to control system analysis and design considered in the book. MATLAB is used in the text to generate plots, compute step responses, etc., but no previous experience with MATLAB is required. The book begins with an introduction to manufacturing and control in Chapters 1 and 2, and then goes into continuous-variable control in Chapters 3 through 6.
A key feature of the continuous-variable part is a development of a modified PI controller that allows for the assignment of the closed-loop zero due to the controller. This result, which is known but appears to be a well-kept secret, provides a powerful method for achieving a desired transient performance when tracking a reference signal. In Chapter 6 a brief introduction to advanced control techniques is given, including model predictive control, adaptive control, and neural net control.
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crete logic control and PLC implementations are considered in Chapters 7 and 8. A systematic procedure for designing discrete logic controllers is presented in terms of a state diagram for each of the state variables describing the desired control action. Boolean logic equations are generated from the state diagrams and then the equations are implemented on a PLC using ladder logic diagrams. Manufacturing systems and production control are considered in Chapters 9 and 10. Various performance measures for manufacturing systems are given in Chapter 9, and in Chapter 10, production control is characterized in terms of the concepts of push-and-pull systems.
Analogies with standard open-loop and closed-loop process control are given. The last chapter of the book deals with equipment interfacing and communications with a brief introduction to OPC, the GEM standard, fieldbuses, and Ethemet. Appendix A contains a list of textbooks for further reading, and Appendix B contains a description of a laboratory project based on a process demonstrator. There are homework problems at the end of Chapters 1 through 10, and suggested web-based studies at the end of Chapter 11.
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