Controller action with fail open (air to close) valve

This question refers to the programming of control loops in typical commercially available DCS's.
Normally for the PID the action is direct if an increase in the process
measurement is to result in an increase in the output or the valve. Reverse action is used if an increase in the process measurement is to result in closing the valve.
For example, a typical flow loop is reverse acting. If the flow increases above the setpoint, the valve is moved further closed to decrease the flow.
However, what is the case when the valve is fail open (or air to close)? I know that the practice in control systems is to display ot the operator the actual valve position (open, closed, middle, etc.) rather than the signal to the valve.
I am interested in DCS's such as the Emerson Delta V, ABB AC800 and Mod 300, etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm not sure exactly what you are asking, but that has never stopped me before.
In a FTO system the safest situation is to have the valve open, possibly to relieve pressure. Fail closed attempts to contain whatever is in the system or stop it from continuing onward. While there is sometimes a relationship between these and whether the valve control is reverse acting, they are often two different analysis. The failure analysis assumes no further control is going to be possible and the system must be rendered safe. The control analysis assumes that control is ongoing and the system must be maintained at some set point.
A simple example. A pipe carries an inert to a reaction vessel. If the inert flow is too high, the reaction will be quenched. You desire to keep it flowing at 10 lpm. You use a negative acting valve to keep it from going too high. The failure mode is quite possibly fto, so that if there is a power failure the reaction is quenched immediately. The reactants may have the same sort of negative action but have an ftc in order to stop reactant flow to the vessel in the power failure.
The operator display will depend upon what sensors you have and the intelligence of the system. If the valve has position sensors, and they are powered, they will read correctly. If the valve position is dictated only by air pressure or a voltage to the valve, with no feedback, then your operator screen is pleasant fiction.
Michael Herman
In either of these, you can use reverse action if necessary.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I realize you didn't include Infi-90 in your list, but I will tell you what we do at our plant, and it may be of some help. First of all, after the valve action has been chosen, then you pick your controller action. A simple flow loop that has a Fail Closed Valve may use a reverse acting controller. Change the valve to Fail Open and now the controller must be direct acting. Of course, you always pick the fail action of the valve first for what the process needs, and then choose you controller action after. Now about Fail Open valves... There are a lot of people that will say this is a bad way of doing things, but if the operators are aware of how things work, it seems to do OK. Most of our valves have valve positioners on them, but no feedback for actual valve position comes back into the DCS. We make the controller output look like it is valve position (because 95% of the time it is) on the graphic. If a valve is Fail open with no characterization we look at the manual/auto station output as valve position for the operator. Then we do a switch internally before the output to the analog output card that makes 100% = 0% and 0% = 100%. That way the operator sees 0% as closed when there is really 100% drive signal going to the valve to close it. And he sees 100% as open even though there is really 0% drive signal going to the valve to open it.
Mod 300 is old, so it's likely got a bunch of proprietary Function Blocks in it and this can likely be done easily. The new controllers with all their open standards don't seem to have the flexibility that the proprietary stuff has (so I've heard), and I've never done any configuring with them so I can't help you in how it may be done in code. Hope this helps. Curtis
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the information.
Infi-90 was not on my list of DCS's I am interested in. However, it is probably pretty similar. Right now I am specifically interested in Delta V and ABB's latest, 800XA. But I have heard that there is quite a bit of Baily influence in the 800AX. I also understand that 800XA is based on the IEC 61131-3 standard. I don't know if that covers this issue.
Is Infi-90 based on open standards or proprietary functions?
Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Infi-90 was developed long before open standards were around. It's all proprietary. The Delta V think is interesting - and makes good sense. I would be the 800XA is similar.
Curtis
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anita,
DeltaV has two parameters for controlling the valves in this situation. The PID block is set up as direct or reverse acting according to the process. The AO block connected to the PID block has a check box under either control options or I/O options (Sorry, I'm not in front of a station right now) that is call increase to close. Set this option for a fail open valve.
With this option set, 0% out of the PID will close the valve and 100% will open it. The 0% is converted by the AO block to 20mA and the 100% converted to 4mA if you are using 4-20mA outputs. Of course, if the increase to close checkbox is not checked, 0% gives 4 mA and 100% gives 20mA.
I prefer this approach. A 0% out always closes the valve. It prevents operators from making mistakes. In addition, a standard flow loop is always reverse acting.
I think this came from the Provox days when the parameter was called Air to Close.
Positioner feedback is handled much the same way. The fail action of the valve has nothing to do with it being opened, closed, or anywhere in between, it has more to do with how it gets there and what happens on power failures, loss of signal, etc. A couple of the other responses had very good input on where to us a FO vs a FC valve.
I can't help on the ABB products. Hope this helps.
nathan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The ABB MOD 300 and Advant work the same way as the DeltaV (or maybe that should be the other way around, given their relative ages). Within a continuous control loop, the PID function is set for direct or reverse acting to match the process while the analog output function connected to the PID output is set for normal or inverted to match the actuator. Normal scales 0-100% to the low-to-high range output counts (i.e. 0-32000 for TRIO aka Genius I/O). Inverted scales 0-100% to the high-to-low range output counts.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anita, as you see, the answer to your question is "It Depends".
Mike, thanks for the good description of how Mod 300 handles fail open valves.
I worked for Taylor Instruments (now a small part of ABB) when Mod 300 was developed and the issue of fail open (air to close) valves was handled. A little background:
In the analog controller days Taylor (and I think other) controllers would reflect the valve operation in the controller action. That is, a flow loop with a fail open valve would be set to direct action.
There was always a way to indicate to the operator the position of the valve rather than the level of the signal. Early pneumatic controllers had stick on OPEN and CLOSE labels; later electronic controllers had slide switches that would invert the operation of the output meter and manual open and close buttons.
In the late 70's the early computer control mini-computers were connected to analog output boxes and would send up or down pulses to analog boxes that would generate the 4 - 20 ma signals. The analog boxes had reverse action functions to decrease the current when an up pulse was received. So from the stand point of the computer -- the PID algorithm, the operator displays, and other functions -- a flow loop was always reverse acting. That made the software configuration much simpler. To configure the PID action you looked only at the process. In a complex loop (override, etc.) the signal was in terms of percent valve position.
In the early 80's we carried the same philosophy into Mod 300. A function block handles the analog output and is configured with such things as the channel number and whether or not the signal was inverted. The output of the PID function block represented the valve position. That PID output is displayed to the operator. The color of valves on graphics, etc. is based on the output of the PID without regard to the valve action.
Personally, I think this is much simpler, particularly in the more complex loops. 100% is always open (even if the analog output converts it to 4 ma.)
I have heard that most, but not all, DCSs use the same scheme as the Mod 300.
There has been some confusion among customers and engineering firms that worked with other types of controls that used the older analog form. (I have received more than a few calls at home at night from sites going through startups). I have a drawing illustrating the two methods of handling fail open valves that I used when I was at ABB. It is on my web site at <a href="http://www.jashaw.com/pid/action ">www.jashaw.com/pid/action</a>.
I do not know how the new 800XA handles the issue. I think that there is more Bailey (recently acquired by ABB) than Mod 300 influence. I will soon find out about how 800 does it.
This is an important issue (nothing can mess up a control loop more than having the wrong action - and, with complex control loops, correcting it can be time consuming during a startup!). Unfortunately, it is very difficult to ask a DCS vendor and get an explanation. I don't think IEC 61131 addresses the issue.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anita, as you see, the answer to your question is "It Depends".
Mike, thanks for the good description of how Mod 300 handles fail open valves.
I worked for Taylor Instruments (now a small part of ABB) when Mod 300 was developed and the issue of fail open (air to close) valves was handled. A little background:
In the analog controller days Taylor (and I think other) controllers would reflect the valve operation in the controller action. That is, a flow loop with a fail open valve would be set to direct action.
There was always a way to indicate to the operator the position of the valve rather than the level of the signal. Early pneumatic controllers had stick on OPEN and CLOSE labels; later electronic controllers had slide switches that would invert the operation of the output meter and manual open and close buttons.
In the late 70's the early computer control mini-computers were connected to analog output boxes and would send up or down pulses to analog boxes that would generate the 4 - 20 ma signals. The analog boxes had reverse action functions to decrease the current when an up pulse was received. So from the stand point of the computer -- the PID algorithm, the operator displays, and other functions -- a flow loop was always reverse acting. That made the software configuration much simpler. To configure the PID action you looked only at the process. In
a complex loop (override, etc.) the signal was in terms of percent valve position.
In the early 80's we carried the same philosophy into Mod 300. A function block handles the analog output and is configured with such things as the channel number and whether or not the signal was inverted. The output of the PID function block represented the valve position. That PID output is displayed to the operator. The color of valves on graphics, etc. is based on the output of the PID without regard to the valve action.
Personally, I think this is much simpler, particularly in the more complex loops. 100% is always open (even if the analog output converts it to 4 ma.)
I have heard that most, but not all, DCSs use the same scheme as the Mod 300.
There has been some confusion among customers and engineering firms that worked with other types of controls that used the older analog form. (I have received more than a few calls at home at night from sites going through startups). I have a drawing illustrating the two methods of handling fail open valves that I used when I was at ABB. It is on my web site at www.jashaw.com/pid/action.
I do not know how the new 800XA handles the issue. I think that there is more Bailey (recently acquired by ABB) than Mod 300 influence. I will soon find out about how 800 does it.
This is an important issue (nothing can mess up a control loop more than having the wrong action - and, with complex control loops, correcting it can be time consuming during a startup!). Unfortunately, it is very difficult to ask a DCS vendor and get an explanation. I don't think IEC 61131 addresses the issue.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks to all for your help. I would like to hear about other DCSs, but the ABB 800XA is the one I need to know about most (Delta V was the other; Nathan described it well).
It would be helpful if this was standardized. Does IEC-61131 or any other standard address it?
I certainly prefer the method Nathan described for Delta V and Mike and John described for Mod 300. That is, configure the PID block based on the process and configure the analog output to invert the signal if the valve is fail open.
Anita.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The ABB 800XA handles air to close valves through the use of a function block to invert the output before the analog output. So the PID function is configured based on the process, without regard to the valve action. Then, if the valve is air to close (fail open) a function is added to invert the signal. Anything connected to the PID block will see a PID output based on the desired valve position, not the signal.
I don't know about other DCSs not discussed in this thread, but I think any DCS could be configured like the ABB 800 by setting the PID based on the process and using a function block to invert the signal.
I do not think that IEC 61131 or IEC 61499 address the issue.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.