Implementation of Autotuning in Interacting Tanks to Emulate a Bioreactor


  • Charles Nippert Widener University
  • Sorelle Veigne Widener University
  • Steven Voelker Widener University
  • Charles Owens Widener University



digital control, automatic control, level control


The set of two interacting tanks in the Chemical Engineering Lab is a prototype process that can be used to test novel and interesting control schemes. For this project a process that can be represented as a form of an either first order plus dead time (FOPDT) or a second order plus dead time (SOPDT) is tuned using a self-tuning algorithm, with Deadtime added to the control scheme to allow the simulation of a bioreactor. The algorithm uses an intelligent form of a PID controller that determines the tuning settings; thereby eliminating the need for the manually setting of the classical PID controller settings. Because there are a myriad of tuning algorithms, we followed the suggestion of Luyben (1) to provide 3 user selectable tuning settings that the user could choose from â??on the flyâ?. These PI settings are calculated using three distinct methods; Ziegler Nichols (ZN), Tyreus Luyben (TL) and IMC methods. The auto-tuning algorithm and deadtime loop were designed, and the PLC and relay feedback tests were conducted to validate that the set up worked properly. An auto-tuning relay feedback algorithm implemented and system parameters values calculated. The algorithm was successfully able to maintain control during upsets.

Author Biographies

Charles Nippert, Widener University

Chair and Associate Professor Department of Chemical Engineering

Sorelle Veigne, Widener University

Ms. Veigne is an undergraduate student at Widener University

Steven Voelker, Widener University

Mr. Voelker is an undergraduate student at Widener University

Charles Owens, Widener University

Mr. Owens is an undergraduate student at Widener University




How to Cite

Nippert, C., Veigne, S., Voelker, S., & Owens, C. (2012). Implementation of Autotuning in Interacting Tanks to Emulate a Bioreactor. International Journal of Online and Biomedical Engineering (iJOE), 8(3), pp. 44–47.



Short Papers