MECH ENG 4102 - Advanced PID Control

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

The course information on this page is being finalised for 2016. Please check again before classes commence.

Advanced topics in automatic control system design with a focus on PID Control. Major topics include: system identification for low-order systems, frequency domain analysis of stability and sensitivity, and PID tuning laws and their deprivation. Emphasis will be placed on techniques used to accommodate uncertainty in practical systems. The course consists of eight weeks of lectures and ten weeks of tutorials. It concludes with a four week laboratory project in which a real-time controller is developed for an experimental rig.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 4102
    Course Advanced PID Control
    Coordinating Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 5 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge MECH ENG 1007, MECH ENG 2019 & MECH ENG 3028
    Course Description Advanced topics in automatic control system design with a focus on PID Control. Major topics include: system identification for low-order systems, frequency domain analysis of stability and sensitivity, and PID tuning laws and their deprivation. Emphasis will be placed on techniques used to accommodate uncertainty in practical systems. The course consists of eight weeks of lectures and ten weeks of tutorials. It concludes with a four week laboratory project in which a real-time controller is developed for an experimental rig.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr William Robertson

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On Completion of the course, student should:

    1 Have a good understanding of the principles of automatic control;
    2 Be able to model a given plant using both time domain and frequency methods;
    3 Have the skills to tune a PID controller;
    4 Be able to simulate a given plant and control system;
    5 Be able to assess a controller for stability and robustness;
    6 Have the skills to design a stable control system for real plant equipment;
    7 Have a good understanding of the affect the controller frequency response function has on the plant response;
    8 Understand the need to undertake lifelong learning.
    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Course Notes available from the Image & Copy Centre or softcopy on MyUni.

    Recommended Resources

    Dorf and Bishop, Modern Control Systems, Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12; Astrom and Hagglund, PID Controllers: Theory, Design and Tuning, Chapters 4 & 5

    Maciejowski, Multivariable Feedback Design, Chapter 1; Xue, Chen and Atherton, Linear Feedback Control – Analysis and Design with Matlab, Chapter 6; Yu, Autotuning of PID Controllers, Chapters 2 and 3; Younkin, Industrial Servo Control Systems – Fundamentals and Applications.

    Online Learning

    Significant links available to online resources available on MyUni.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    54 hours lectures supported by computer-based tutorials and a problem-based practical laboratory.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    As per university recommendations, it is expected that students spend 48hrs/week during teaching periods, and that a 3 unit course has a minimum workload of 156 hours regardless of the length of the course. Additional time may need to be spent acquiring assumed knowledge, working on assessment during non-teaching periods, and preparing for and attending examinations.

    Learning Activities Summary

    Below is a breakdown of the scheduled learning activities for this course:


    Topic 1: Process Models (5%)

    • Algebraic Systems
    • Static models
    • Dynamic models
      • Integrator
      • First Order Time Delay
      • First order
      • First Order Time Delay
      • Second order
      • Second Order Time Delay
    • Identification
      • Time domain
      • Frequency domain

    Topic 2: Frequency Domain (5%)

    • Plotting frequency response function
      • Bode Plots : Magnitude & Phase vs Frequency
      • Nyquist - Complex Plane for G(jω)H(jω)
      • Nichols Charts - Magnitude versus Phase Angle
    • Frequency response of second order systems

    Topic 3: Frequency Domain & Stability (5%)

    • Review of Stability
      • Routh-Hurwitz
      • Root-Locus: s-plane
    • The Cauchy Criterion
    • The Nyquist Stability Criterion
    • Gain, Phase & Delay Margins
    • Effect of time delays on stability

    Topic 4: Relationship between Open and Closed-Loop Frequency Response (5%)

    • The basic relationship between open and closed-loop responses
    • M and N Circles
    • Maximum amplitude of closed-loop response
    • Frequency at which this occurs (resonance frequency)
    • Bandwidth

    Topic 5: PID Control (5%)

    • Various forms of Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controllers
    • The role of each elemental controller
    • Actuator saturation and integral windup
    • Proportional and derivative kick

    Topic 6: PID Tuning - An Introduction (5%)

    • Frequency domain modeling of simple process dynamics
    • Ultimate gain
    • Feature-based PID tuning techniques
      • Ziegler-Nichols
      • Chien, Hrones and Reswick
      • Cohen-Coon

    Topic 7: Advanced PID Tuning (5%)

    • Pole Placement
    • Dominant Poles
    • Pole-Zero Cancellation

    Topic 8: Sensitivity Relationships and Controller Design (5%)

    • The sensitivity function
    • The complementary sensitivity function
    • The sensitivity of open loop and closed loop
    • Loop shaping

    Topic 9: More On Sensitivity Relationships and Robust Control (5%)

    • Bode’s gain-phase relationship and integral theorem
    • Relationship between sensitivity and proximity of frequency response function to critical point
    • Relationship between sensitivity and phase and gain margins
    • Robust stability criterion

    Topic 10: New Tuning Methods - KT Tuning (5%)

    • The issues with ZN tuning
    • The need for alternative tuning methods
    • Tuning to achieve a desired sensitivity
    • Kappa-Tau tuning method

    Topic 11: ITAE Optimal Systems (5%)

    • Various time domain performance metrics
      • integral of the square of the error
      • integral of the absolute error
      • integral of the time multiplied by the absolute error
      • integral of the time multiplied by the square of the error
    • Controller design using ITAE

    Topic 12: Internal Model Control (5%)

    • Internal Model Control (IMC)
    • Advantages and disadvantages of model-based controllers
    • Factorisation into invertible and non-invertible components
    • The necessity for controllers to be proper

    Topic 13: Servo Control (5%)

    • Mechanical servo systems, including motors and amplifiers,
    • transmission elements
    • Backlash, its effect and techniques for reducing its influence
    • Feedforward elements
    • Dual loop control

    Topic 14: Automatic Tuning (5%)

    • The theory behind auto-tuning algorithms
    • How to use auto-tuning algorithms
    • The “relay method”

    Matlab / Simulink modeling (30%)

    • Design of a control system for a real physical system
    • Hands-on implementation using Simulink and Space Control Desk

    Text book: Nil

    Specific Course Requirements


  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment: Written Examination 50%; Matlab Examination 20%; Assignments 16%; Tutorials 4%; Practical Project 10%

    Assessment Rationale: Assignments are provided as part of the learning experience. Students are expected to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter through completing the assignments, so they are regarded as formative rather than summative. It should be noted that all assignments are optional. If a student chooses to undertake an assignment, then this will contribute to their overall summative assessment, otherwise, the proportion of the mark will be added onto the final exam. The rationale behind this approach is it gives the students the responsibility to direct their learning, and in doing so hopefully lead to the situation in which the continuing assessment is seen as enhancing learning rather than simply providing summative assessment. Solutions are provided on MyUni within 1 week of the submission date and relevant issues will be discussed in the lectures. Assignments are also used to help assess whether the required graduate attributes are being developed.

    The computer tutorials are designed to provide instruction of Matlab and Simulink while simultaneously developing the understanding of the students’ control knowledge through simulation.

    The problem-based laboratory classes are intended to provide students with some practical experience in developing controllers for real (non-ideal) plants, as well as the use of instrumentation, and experience in report writing and communicating their results. Again, this assessment is intended to be formative and students receive written feedback on their work.

    The examination is a summative assessment and is intended to assess the student’s knowledge and understanding of the course material and how it fits into the global engineering context.

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail

    Four optional assignments spaced approximately 3 weeks apart, each worth 4% of overall assessment. Computer tutorials, worth a total of 4% of overall assessment. One problem based learning laboratory worth 10% of overall assessment. Examination worth 70% of overall assessment


    All assignments and practical report must be submitted as a hard copy in the labelled box located on level 2 of Engineering South Building. Any assessment submitted as a hard copy must be accompanied by an assessment cover sheet available from the front office S116 or near the assignment submission boxes. Late assignments and reports will be penalised 10% per day. Extensions for assignments will only be given in exceptional circumstances and a case for this with supporting documentation can be made in writing after a lecture or via email to the lecturer. Hard copy assignments will be assessed and returned in 2 weeks of the due date. There will be no opportunities for re-submission of work of unacceptable standard. Due to the large size of the class feedback on assignments will be limited to in-class discussion resulting from questions from students.

    All tutorials are submitted online using MyUni. Late tutorials and extensions for numbers 2 and 3 cannot be accepted as they are submitted electronically via MyUni which automatically prevents submission after the due time on the due date.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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