Proportional Integral Derivative Controller Engineering Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a generic control loop feedback mechanism (controller) widely used in industrial control systems. A PID controller calculates an "error" value as the difference between a measured process variable and a desired setpoint. The controller attempts to minimize the error by adjusting the process control inputs. The PID parameters used in the calculation must be tuned according to the nature of the system.

The PID controller is the most common form of feedback. It was an essential element of early governors and it became the standard tool when process control emerged in the 1940s. In process control today, more than 95% of the control loops are of PID type, most loops are actually PI control. PID controllers are today found in all areas where control is used.The controllers come in many different forms. There are standalone systems in boxes for one or a few loops. PID control is an important ingredient of a distributed control system. The controllers are also embedded in many special purpose control systems. PID control is often combined with logic, sequential functions, selectors, and simple function blocks to build the complicated automation systems used for energy production, transportation, and manufacturing. Many sophisticated control strategies, such as model predictive control, are also organized hierarchically. PID control is used at the lowest level; the multivariable controller gives the set points to the controllers at the lower level. The PID controller can thus be said to be the “bread and butter of control engineering. It is an important component in every control engineer’s tool box.

The Algorithm:

The proportional, integral, and derivative terms are summed to calculate the output of the PID controller. Defining u(t) as the controller output, the final form of the PID algorithm is:

where the tuning parameters are:

Proportional gain, Kp

Larger values typically mean faster response since the larger the error, the larger the proportional term compensation. An excessively large proportional gain will lead to process instability and oscillation.

Integral gain, Ki

Larger values imply steady state errors are eliminated more quickly. The trade-off is larger overshoot: any negative error integrated during transient response must be integrated away by positive error before reaching steady state.

Derivative gain, Kd

Larger values decrease overshoot, but slow down transient response and may lead to instability due to signal noise amplification in the differentiation of the error.

PID controller theory

This section describes the parallel or non-interacting form of the PID controller. For other forms please see the Section "Alternative notation and PID forms".

The PID control scheme is named after its three correcting terms, whose sum constitutes the manipulated variable (MV). Hence:


Pout, Iout, and Dout are the contributions to the output from the PID controller from each of the three terms, as defined below.

Proportional term

The proportional term (sometimes called gain) makes a change to the output that is proportional to the current error value. The proportional response can be adjusted by multiplying the error by a constant Kp, called the proportional gain.

The proportional term is given by

Pout: Proportional term of output

Kp: Proportional gain, a tuning parameter

e: Error = SP – PV

t: Time or instantaneous time.

Integral term

The contribution from the integral term (sometimes called reset) is proportional to both the magnitude of the error and the duration of the error. Summing the instantaneous error over time (integrating the error) gives the accumulated offset that should have been corrected previously. The accumulated error is then multiplied by the integral gain and added to the controller output. The magnitude of the contribution of the integral term to the overall control action is determined by the integral gain, Ki.

The integral term is given by:

Iout: Integral term of output

Ki: Integral gain, a tuning parameter

e: Error = SP – PV

t: Time or instantaneous time

t: a dummy integration variable.

Derivative term

The rate of change of the process error is calculated by determining the slope of the error over time (i.e., its first derivative with respect to time) and multiplying this rate of change by the derivative gain Kd. The magnitude of the contribution of the derivative term (sometimes called rate) to the overall control action is termed the derivative gain, Kd.

The derivative term is given by:

Dout: Derivative term of output

Kd: Derivative gain, a tuning parameter

e: Error = SP – PV

t: Time or instantaneous time

Physical implementation of PID


In the early history of automatic process control the PID controller was implemented as a mechanical device. These mechanical controllers used a lever, spring and a mass and were often energized by compressed air. These pneumatic controllers were once the industry standard.

Electronic analog controllers can be made from a solid-state or tube amplifier, a capacitor and a resistance. Electronic analog PID control loops were often found within more complex electronic systems, for example, the head positioning of a disk drive, the power conditioning of a power supply, or even the movement-detection circuit of a modern seismometer. Nowadays, electronic controllers have largely been replaced by digital controllers implemented with microcontrollers or FPGAs.

Most modern PID controllers in industry are implemented in programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or as a panel-mounted digital controller. Software implementations have the advantages that they are relatively cheap and are flexible with respect to the implementation of the PID algorithm.