Control design engineers typically use PID controllers or model-based control design tools to design control systems.
PID often is insufficient to control more-complex systems the designer faces. Model-based control can be effective but depends on good process models that are difficult to develop and maintain. In addition, designing a model-based control system requires high-level expertise not always available on site and is time-consuming.
To help automation engineers solve various tough control problems, CyboSoft released a major revision to its model-free adaptive MFA Control Toolbox for MatLab software. Model-free adaptive control, as its name suggests, is an adaptive and robust control method that does not require process models. Based on the core MFA technology, CyboSoft developed a set of general-purpose MFA controllers, each of which solves a tough control problem.
This product can help bridge the gap between the academic and industrial worlds because it is the only off-line control simulation software for which a number of field-proven, real-time control products of the same family are available, says Dr. George Cheng, CyboSoft CEO. They include many MFA control products offered by CyboSoft and various MFA-embedded or integrated products and systems offered by vendors in the machine control, process control and building control markets.
The MFA Control Toolbox for MatLab software includes a set of embedded MFA controller S-functions that work as control functional blocks in the Simulink environment. Anyone familiar with Simulink can configure and use the MFA control blocks to perform off-line simulations. It is a useful tool for research, development, design, teaching and lab testing.
MatLab and Simulink are the most popular simulation tools out there, says CyboSoft Director of Engineering Steve Mulkey. Using the MFA Control Toolbox, extensive off-line simulations can be run to prove the concept. Once the simulation is successful, the same MFA controllers can be selected and launched when using the real-time MFA control products in the real application. This, adds Mulkey, allows tremendous savings in R&D time and equipment investment, as well as minimized development risks and time to market.
A leading medical device company in the U.S. uses MFA Control Toolbox for MatLab software to develop novel medical devices, says Cheng. Using MFA Control Toolbox and MatLab software, tens of thousands of off-line simulations can be run to build sufficient case studies for FDA approval purposes. This type of experiment would be so costly and time-consuming if animal models were used.
In this new MFA version, says Mulkey, a flexible demonstration system is implemented to let the user compare the performance of a MFA solution versus a PID alternative, where different types of MFA controllers are used.
The MFA Control Toolbox for MatLab software runs in the Windows operating system. The Standard edition includes six of the most popular MFA controllers, for processes characterized as single-input-single-output, nonlinear, anti-delay, robust, feedforward or pH.
The Professional edition of the toolbox provides six additional, special MFA controllers for processes characterized as multiple-input-multiple-output, flex-phase, anti-inverse, time-varying, anti-delay pH and XRT (exothermal reaction run-away).