For identification, parameter determination and intelligent control of thermal processes

Stable thermal process conditions provide the basis for complex production systems. The Adaptive Temperature Controller (ATeC) supports rapid implementation of this task with the highest control quality. In parallel with other control sequences, a single ATeC module operates up to 256 temperature control loops simultaneously on the M1 real-time system. 

Determining parameters automatically 

The ATeC is designed for heating systems as well as for combined heating and cooling systems. Using integrated identification routines, the system is able to determine the characteristics of different process lines automatically. The calculated control parameters enable reference-variable response to be optimized and disturbances to be suppressed for each individual task without the need for in-depth control know-how. Time-consuming experiments are no longer needed. This reduces costs considerably, especially for processes with very long time constants or when fully automatic adjustment is required during operation after a tool was changed. 

Energy-optimized control 

Multiple channels can be combined into a group and controlled in a coordinated manner. Pulses generated to control actuators by means of PWM or PFM are distributed automatically within a period. Thus, almost constant power consumption is achieved. Through start-up optimization, control of each loop is initiated in a way that allows all zones to reach their set point temperature almost simultaneously. This makes it possible to save valuable energy without additional effort or expenses. If necessary, power and energy management limits the total power released. In this way, control of actuators is adapted to the existing power supply connection without the need for further adjustments. 

Handling coupled systems 

When multiple heating and cooling systems have a mutual effect on one another, isolated consideration of individual controlled systems is no longer sufficient. By adaption in it‘s operating point, the controller is tuned exactly to these conditions. Moreover, known disturbance variables can be taken into account for feedforward control. In doing so, optimal results are reachable even under production conditions. 

Monitoring included 

If a control loop does not behave as intended, the ATeC is able to diagnose this beforehand. Monitoring of temperature limits, control deviation or a temperature tolerance band are included as standard functions. Through verifying the heating current, a pending or possibly already started heater failure is detectable. 

In case of an error, the desired reaction can be selected on the basis of process requirements. If material would harden in a feed screw, heating is maintained at a constant power level. If, on the other hand, exceeding a maximum temperature limit is expected, heating is shut off. 

Fully integrated into the engineering tool 

Maximum convenience during start-up and operating mode is assured by full integration of the Adaptive Temperature Controller (ATeC) into the Bachmann SolutionCenter. In order to configure and parametrize an ATeC software module, a custom interface was introduced. 

Alternatively, the Adaptive Temperature Controller (ATeC) can be integrated into an application. That’s enabled by libraries, available in C/C++ as well as IEC 61131-3. All temperatures and manipulated variables can be observed in Recorder Scope3 beside other application variables. This allows a quick capture and graphically display of temperature control behavior at any time, even during real-time operation.



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System overview