Neural networks approach to process control : the case of processes with long dead times
McLeod, Charles Meredith
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This study relates to applications of static artificial neural networks (ANNs) to two basic problems of process control: (a) process model identification, and (b) optimal controller tuning. The emphasis is on model identification, where several novel techniques are introduced. A review of the use of ANNs for determining optimal controller settings is included as a logical adjunct which would make the complete system suitable for realisation as a portable or networked system. Three methods for obtaining good approximations for the parameters of first-order processes with long dead time using artificial neural networks (ANNs) are proposed and described. These are termed in this study: time-domain, frequency-domain and model-based methods. In each case the aim was to develop a brief one-shot test that could be applied with minimal disturbance to a closed loop control system. These methods build on existing techniques, but introduce the following novel aspects: 2. The frequency-domain method makes use of the first 81 components of the FFT without further selection as input to a static ANN to yield process parameter estimates. 3. The model-based method uses a simple single-neuron implementation of an ARX model and uses a static ANN to relate process parameter values to the weights of this neuron. In making the analysis, the process input and output are applied repetitively to the neuron model with delays getting progressively larger. Useful effects arising from this are explored. A technique in which ANN training sets are slightly distorted in a random way during training of a radial basis function is developed as part of the time- and frequencydomain methods. The benefits arising from this technique are demonstrated. These experimental ANN-based control methods are evaluated by means of simulations in which accuracy in the presence of measurement noise and performance with higher order processes is measured and analysed. Although the main theme of this study is first-order-plus-dead-time (FOPDT) processes, the full autotuning scheme is tested with some representative higher order processes. Finally, the composition of a complete autotuning scheme is proposed which includes the automatic generation of controller parameters by means of ANN s.