(78d) Process Control Laboratory on Arduino and Simulink Platform

Authors: 
Wu, Y. - Presenter, Western University
Rohani, S., Western University

Process Control Laboratory on Arduino and
Simulink Platform

Yuanyi
Wu 1, Sohrab Rohani 1*

1.
The University of Western Ontario, Department of Chemical and Biochemical
Engineering, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada

*
Corresponding authors: srohani@uwo.ca

Process control and control theory involve
both abstract mathematical concepts and concrete controller implementation. In
process control education, the hands-on lab plays a significant role in
building connection between the theory and the application and helping students
gain experience in engineering practice. We proposed a low-cost process control
experiment platform based on the Arduino board (Figure 1) and MATLAB Simulink. Students were
inspired to build an experiment setup from scratch by themselves and learn the essential
elements in the control system. In this teaching case, Simulink provided a codeless
block-diagram based modelling environment with handy process identification,
parameter estimation, and controller design tools. The Arduino microcontroller codes
can be generated from the block diagram model by Simulink Arduino hardware
support package (Figure 2). Without
learning a new programming language, students can utilize the symbols and the block
diagram representations that are consistent with the textbook to implement and
validate the controller performance taught in class. The lab session
progressively introduced the topics including handling the analog inputs and
outputs, processing the data with filters, estimating the dynamic model with
collected data, and tuning a PID controller with the model. The students’
feedbacks indicated that the hands-on lab helped to understand the control
theories and motivated them to employ the modelling and rational controller
design methods in their research projects.

Figure 1 Arduino temperature control lab platform

Figure 2 Simulink block diagram can run on the
Arduino board with real-time data visualization and controller parameter tuning
features   Acknowledge

The authors acknowledge the financial
support provided by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
of Canada.