Posted by: Harold Ennulat | March 1, 2010

PID Control Usage Poll Results

So do people actually just turn on a PID controller, and let it run? PID Controllers today are mainly digital implementations inside of PLC’s (or PAC’s or DCS’s or PC’s). This allows a lot of enhanced control from the basic PID control. What kind of control enhancements do programmers make, to make the PID control operate better?    This is what this survey was trying to find out.

The survey asks the question, “How do you run your PID type controllers?” or “What kind of control enhancements have you as a programmer made to PID type controllers”? 

After 2 weeks I’ve gotten 8 responses to the survey seeking to learn how engineers and technologist are implementing PID controls today.  However some interesting results are starting to emerge.    

Click to Enlarge


The chart shows the total number of affirmative responses to each of the 12 statements about PID control. (in light blue).  The maroon red bar shows the total number of comments for 10 groupings of the 12 questions.    

On average engineers report that they are using about 4 of the 12 methods queried by this survey and are running their PID controls with and without enhancements.  Also from the comments (shown below), several individuals use features that were not explicitly queried by this survey.

Five (5) people just let their PID controllers run at least some of the time.  In other words, they do nothing else in the program to initialize the output or control the PID controller during startup and shutdown situations.  Of these, four (4) people indicated they give the operator faceplate control which would allow the operator to adjust setpoints and put the controller in manual operations to set the output as needed.  It may be that the operator has other ways of entering data such as setpoint or auto/manual control to the P&ID controller besides using a PID faceplate however.    

To take the poll go to    

I posted the link to this survey in several automation discussion groups in LinkedIn.  The Automation Engineers discussion group has posted additional comments. 

Here are the comments collected for each of the questions on the survey:   


I found the comments helpful because there are a number of experiences reflected in the comments that are beyond my own.  These helped clue me on some of the different types of applications that require special handling. 

 Updated: 2/25/2010  |  Post Created: 2/24/2010 for publishing on 3/1/2010

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