The aim of the paper is a steady-state inverse heat transfer problem for plate-fin and tube heat exchangers. The objective of the process control is to adjust the number of fan revolutions per minute so that the water temperature at the heat exchanger outlet is equal to a preset value. Two control techniques were developed. The first is based on the presented mathematical model of the heat exchanger while the second is a digital proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control. The first procedure is very stable. The digital PID controller becomes unstable if the water volumetric flow rate changes significantly. The developed techniques were implemented in digital control system of the water exit temperature in a plate fin and tube heat exchanger. The measured exit temperature of the water was very close to the set value of the temperature if the first method was used. The experiments showed that the PID controller works also well but becomes frequently unstable.
This paper proposes a practical tuning of closed loops with model based predictive control. The data assumed to be known from the process is the result of the bump test commonly applied in industry and known in engineering as step response data. A simplified context is assumed such that no prior know-how is required from the plant operator. The relevance of this assumption is very realistic in the context of first time users, both for industrial operators and as educational competence of first hand student training. A first order plus dead time is approximated and the controller parameters immediately follow by heuristic rules. Analysis has been performed in simulation on representative dynamics with guidelines for the various types of processes. Three single-input-single-output experimental setups have been used with no expert users available in different locations – both educational and industrial – these setups are representative for practical cases: a variable time delay dominant system, a non-minimum phase system and an open loop unstable system. Furthermore, in a multivariable control context, a train of separation columns has been tested for control in simulation, followed by experimental tests on a laboratory system with similar dynamics, i.e. a sextuple coupled water tank system. The results indicate the proposed methodology is suitable for hands-on tuning of predictive control loops with some limitations on performance and multivariable process control.