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Abstract: We develop a novel adaptive tuning method for classical proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controller to control nonlinear processes to adjust PID gains, a problem which is very difficult to overcome in the classical PID controllers. By incorporating classical PIDPID-control-system-architecture control, which is well-known in industry, to the control of nonlinear processes, we introduce a method which can readily be used by the industry. In this method, controller design does not require a first principal model of the process which is usually very difficult to obtain. Instead, it depends on a fuzzy process model which is constructed from the measured input–output data of the process. A soft limiter is used to impose industrial limits on the control input. The performance of the system is successfully tested on the bioreactor, a highly nonlinear process involving instabilities. Several tests showed the method’s success in tracking, robustness to noise, and adaptation properties. We as well compared our system’s performance to those of a plant with altered parameters with measurement noise, and obtained less ringing and better tracking. To conclude, we present a novel adaptive control method that is built upon the well-known PID architecture that successfully controls highly nonlinear industrial processes, even under conditions such as strong parameter variations, noise, and instabilities.

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2006 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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