What are Industrial Temperature Controllers? - The 3 Different Types
Temperature is the most measured environmental quantity. Many mechanical, physical, biological, chemical, and electronic processes greatly depend on an ideal temperature being reached at. Some of these processes also need an optimal temperature for them to work. Failure to achieve the said levels can bring forth damage to the machines and might not be safe for those using them.
Temperature controllers are used in industrial processes where a particular temperature must be maintained. They are used for the accurate control of the temperature without the constant involvement of an operator. Controllers in these temperature control systems accept thermocouples or RTDs (resistive thermal devices) as the input.
These sensors will then compare the desired temperature to the actual atmospheric temperature. After doing so, it will provide an output to a control element which can be in the form of a heater or a fan. A temperature controller is just a part of a whole broader system which depends on feedback from an input.
Such devices are also used to handle sensor signals and not just for temperature alone. Humidity, pressure, and flow rates are also measured and impacted by these controllers.
The 3 Different Types of Temperature Controllers
As mentioned, a temperature controller is merely a part of an entire control system. Choosing the right one is vital, or else risk their efficacy and the ability for a seamless operation. Depending on the type of system which requires control, the operator can pick from these three main types of temperature controllers;
1. On/Off temperature Controllers
On/Off temperature controllers are the simplest form of control devices. With no middle state, the output from the device is either on or off. The controller switches the output when the temperature passes the setpoint. If you set the optimal temperature for the operation, the temperature controller will remain on whenever it is below the setpoint and turns off if it crosses over it.
2. Proportional Controllers
Proportional temperature controllers reduce the average power which is supplied to the heater when the temperature approaches the setpoint. It is used to eliminate the cycling which is often associated with the on/off controllers. The heater is, therefore, slowed down to make it not shoot over the setpoint. It gradually approaches it, and once it achieves the optimal temperature, it maintains.
3. Proportional–Integral–Derivative (PID) Controllers
PID controllers provide proportional, with integral and derivative functions. Unlike the other types of temperature controllers, they compensate for the changes in the system, thanks to the two additional features. These two features; integral and derivative functions, are expressed in time-based units and are referred to as RESET and RATE respectively.
PID terms ought to be individually tuned to a specific system through trial and error. They also provide the most accurate and stable temperature controls, of the three types mentioned here.
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