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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jprocont

distribution in a main irrigation canal pool

V. Feliu-Batlle a,*, R. Rivas Prez b, F.J. Castillo Garca a, L. Sanchez Rodriguez c

a

Escuela Tcnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Ave. Camilo Jos Cela S/N, Ciudad Real 13071, Spain

Department of Automatica and Computer Science, Havana Polytechnic University, CUJAE, Marianao, C. Habana 19390, Cuba

c

Escuela Universitaria de Ingenieros Tcnicos Industriales, Universidad de Castilla_La Mancha, Campus Tecnolgico de la Antigua Fbrica de Armas, Toledo 45071, Spain

b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 29 December 2006

Received in revised form 7 May 2008

Accepted 13 May 2008

Keywords:

Robust fractional order control

Variable time delay process

Smith predictor based control system

Water distribution control in a main

irrigation canal pool

a b s t r a c t

This paper proposes a new methodology to design fractional integral controllers combined with Smith

predictors, which are robust to high frequency model changes. In particular, special attention is paid

to time delay changes. These controllers show also less sensitivity to high frequency measurement noise

and disturbances than PI or PID controllers. This methodology is applied to design controllers for water

distribution in a main irrigation canal pool. Simulated results of standard PI and PID controllers plus a

Smith predictor, and the controller developed in this paper are compared when applied to the dynamical

model of a real main irrigation canal pool showing that our controller exhibits better and more robust

features than these. Moreover our controller is compared with other more complex control techniques

as predictive control and robust H1 controllers, exhibiting better or similar performances than these.

2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Water constitutes one of the most precious resources of the

earth. However in many cases it is being consumed as if it existed

in limitless quantities. Then it is important to manage the water resources in an effective way and to minimise the losses [1].

At present a lot of water is wasted in most of the networks of

open irrigation main canals because of lack of an efcient control.

It is estimated that irrigation water users can cut their water consumption by 1050% by using water more efciently [1]. In this

context, automatic control is considered as a powerful tool for

improving efciency in water distribution open irrigation canal

systems [2,3].

Irrigation canals are systems distributed over long distances,

with signicant time delays and dynamics that change with the

operating conditions [4,5]. A typical open irrigation canal consists

of several pools separated by undershot gates that are used for regulating the water distribution from one pool to the next one.

Dynamics of a main irrigation canal pool has traditionally been

modelled by the Saint-Venant equations, which are nonlinear

hyperbolic partial differential equations (e.g. [4,6]). Nowadays different methods exist for the solution of the Saint-Venant equations, all of them exhibiting large mathematical complexities

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 926 295364; fax: +34 926 295361.

E-mail addresses: Vicente.Feliu@uclm.es (V. Feliu-Batlle), rivas@electrica.cujae.edu.cu (R. Rivas Prez).

0959-1524/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.jprocont.2008.05.004

[25]. These equations are also very difcult to use for prediction

and control [2,3]. Often, an equivalent rst order system plus a delay is used to model the canal pool dynamic behavior [3,5,7]. This

model has the strong drawback that its parameters may experience

large changes when the discharge regime varies. The variations in

discharge regimes of irrigation canal pools depend on many

parameters such as the pool length, bed slope, cross section, roughness, initial water prole, gate opening magnitude, etc. [8].

Experiments developed on canal dynamics identication conrm that the dynamic parameters of a main irrigation canal pool

such as time constant, time delay and static gain, exhibit wide variations when the discharge regimes change in an operation range

[4,8]. Then any controller to be designed for a main irrigation canal

pool has to be robust to variations in some parameters of the linearized model [4].

Different strategies have been proposed for control of water distribution in main irrigation canal pools [24,9]. PI controllers have

often been used, and sometimes PID controllers too. Some modern

approaches try to improve the robustness of these classical controllers [10,11] when applied to main irrigation canal pools.

The use of Smith predictor in control systems of a main irrigation canal pool has been proposed by different authors, to overcome the time delay that characterizes these systems [1214].

However it is well known that small modeling errors can cause

instability in Smith predictor based control systems if the controller is not properly designed [15]. Conditions for robust stability

of these systems have been proposed in [1618], and several

507

modications of the basic Smith predictor scheme in [19,20]. A recent survey on control of systems with delay and the use of predictors is [21].

In the last years, fractional operators have been applied with

satisfactory results to model and control processes with difcult

dynamical behavior [22,23]. Recently, different works have appeared about the application of fractional controllers in a main irrigation canal pool [24,25]. An interesting feature of fractional order

controllers is that they exhibit some advantages when designing

robust control systems in the frequency domain for processes

whose parameters vary in a large range. In this paper these characteristics are explored in order to design robust controllers to solve

the problem of effective water distribution control in a main irrigation canal pool whose dynamic parameters vary in a wide range. In

particular, this paper is focused on the design of fractional integral

controllers combined with a Smith predictor, which show to be

in some cases more robust to changes in the time delay and

unmodelled high frequency dynamics than other controllers like

PI and PID. Time delay is the parameter more determinant in the

stability of a closed-loop control system of a main irrigation canal

pool [3,9].

This paper is organized as follows. An introduction to fractional

order operators and controllers is presented in Section 2. A model

of the irrigation canal pool to be controlled is proposed in Section

3. Section 4 outlines the principles that justify the robustness properties of the proposed controller. Section 5 develops a numerical

procedure for tuning the parameters of fractional integral controllers with a Smith predictor. Section 6 denes the cases in which

our fractional controller is more robust than PI and PID controllers

always combined with Smith predictors. Section 7 compares the

designed controller with several more complex controllers by carrying out simulations using the dynamic model of a real main irrigation canal pool. Finally some conclusions are drawn in Section 8.

(k = 0, 1, . . ., n) the orders of the fractional derivatives represented

by arbitrary real numbers.

The conventional PID controller which involves proportional

plus integral plus derivative actions based on the error signal:

1

ut K et K i D1

t et K d Dt et;

can be generalized to a PI Dl fractional controller involving an integrator of order k and a differentiator of order l [22,26]. The equak

l

ut K et K i Dk

t et K d Dt et;

0 6 k; l 6 1:

If a fractional system has to be simulated or a fractional controller has to be implemented, expression (1) has to be approximated

by discrete realizations. They can be obtained by two ways [27]:

(1) to approximate the fractional operator by a standard transfer

function in the frequency range of interest and then apply any

habitual discretization technique (Tustin operator, e.g.), (2) to

approximate numerically the fractional operator.

In the second way, numerical approximations of the fractional

derivative/integral operator are often implemented by using the

following numerical generalization:

a

d f t

lim T a Df ta ;

a

dt tkT T!0

where a 2 R, Df(kT)jt=kT = f(kT) f(kT T); T the period of discretization. Formally this operator is expressed as

Da

1 z1

T

a

2. Fractional calculus and fractional order control systems

a

Fractional calculus is a 300-years-old topic. The theory of fractional order derivatives was developed mainly in the 19th century.

However, applying fractional order calculus to dynamic systems

control is just a recent focus of interest [22].

Fractional calculus is a generalization of integration and differentiation to non-integer (fractional) order fundamental operators

represented as a Dat where a and t are the limits and aa 2 R the

order of the operation. Several denitions of this operator have

been proposed [22]. One of the most used denitions of the general

fractional integro-differential operator is the RiemannLiouville

(RL) denition:

n

f t

1

d

Cn a dt n

f s

t san1

ds;

where n 1 < a < n; n an integer; C() the Eulers gamma function; t > a. The Laplace transform of the RL fractional derivative/

integral (1) under zero initial conditions for order a, (0 < a < 1) is given by

A fractional order system may be represented by a typical nterm linear fractional order differential equation (FODE) in the

time domain:

an Dbt n yt

bn Dbt n ut

a1 Dbt 1 yt

a0 Dbt 0 yt

b1 Dbt 1 ut

b0 Dbt 0 ut;

f t T a

ta

T

X

a

f t jT;

1j

j

j0

where [] means the integer part, and the combinatorial function

has been generalized in the following sense:

a

l

a Dt

a Dt

aa 1 . . . a l 1

l!

GrundwaldLetnikov (GL) denition of the discretized fractional

operator [22]. Provided that T is small enough, this expression is

a numerical approximation that gives sufciently accurate results

in most of the cases. This discrete operator may be approximated

by FIR or IIR discrete lters. Expression (8) can be truncated to a

xed number of N + 1 terms of this sum (0 6 j 6 N) in order to

a 0, and it is

get a FIR lter. This can be done because lim

l

l!1

called the short memory approximation. This approximation leads

usually to FIR lters of very large order (often N > 100).

There are several methods to approximate numerically the fractional operator by IIR lters. IIR lters are better suited for microprocessor implementations of fractional controllers than FIR as

they lead to transfer functions of much lower order. A popular

technique is the Al Alaoui operator, which is a mixed scheme of

the Euler and the Tustin operators, whose generating function

can be expressed by (e.g. [28]):

r

D z

8

7T

(

r

CFE

r )

1 z1

1 z1 =7

p;q

8

7T

r

Pp z1

;

Q q z1

10

where P, Q polynomials of degrees p and q respectively in the variable z1; CFE continued fraction expansion.

508

In the last years it has been an extensive research effort in

developing fractional PID controllers designed in the frequency domain with enhanced robustness properties [29,30]. Often the

robustness feature is designed for a particular range of frequencies

(e.g. the locally at phase condition) in order to obtain robustness

to changes in the plant gain or other specic parameters, e.g. [23].

Some robustness conditions have been obtained for fractional state

space models by using some matrix Lyapunov inequalities [31]. Finally we mention a recent work where the fractional controller has

been designed from a QFT loop shaping point of view [32].

Our paper studies the properties of a very simple fractional integral controller that is embedded in a Smith predictor control

scheme. Moreover we propose a methodology to design these controllers. Robustness features in the frequency domain are explored,

and are applied to design robust controllers for effective water distribution control in main irrigation canal pools whose dynamic

parameters vary in a wide range. Next we present the property that

we will exploit along this paper.

Let us have a plant with transfer function G(s). Assume we want

to full the next closed-loop specications: crossover frequency

(xc) and phase margin (/m). Then the simplest controllers able

to achieve this have only two parameters to be tuned (two degrees

of freedom), being the PD controller (RPD(s) = K(1 + Tds)) the most

often used one. However there are other controllers with different

structures and two degrees of freedom that can achieve these

specications.

Property 1. The minimum-phase controller (all poles and zeros

placed in the complex left half plane) of two degrees of freedom able to

provide a phase (0 6 / 6 p /2) and a gain (g) at frequency (xc) (in

order to achieve the above specications) that exhibits the magnitude

Bode diagram with the smallest slope at high frequencies is of the

form:

RFD s Ksa

where 0 6 a

2/

6 1; K

xac

11

This property is easily justied in Fig. 1 where the Bode diagrams of controller (11) and a standard PD (RPD(s) = K(1 + Tds))

are compared for the case of / = 30 and g = 1. Parameters K and

Td of the PD are also designed to verify the desired /and g values.

This plot shows that controller (11) gives exactly the phase needed

while the PD gives this phase at frequency xc but ends with a

phase of / = 90 30 at high frequencies. Moreover the magnitude Bode diagram of the PD controller exhibits a positive slope

of 20 dB/dec while (11) exhibits a slope of 6.7 dB/dec. Then the frequency response of the open-loop plant G(s)R(s) exhibits smaller

magnitude at high frequencies with the FD than with the PD controller, which means more robustness at high frequencies, attenuating better (or amplifying less) the effects of high frequency

unmodelled dynamics and noises. We mention that a phase lead

controller of two degrees of freedom (RPL(s) = (s + a)/(s + b)) can

also achieve the phase and gain specications exhibiting a slope

of 0 dB/dec at high frequencies, which is smaller than the slope

of (11). But often these specications lead to non-minimum-phase

controllers that make unstable the closed-loop system. This problem can be precluded by the use of the complete phase lead controller (RPL(s) = K(s + a)/(s + b)) which has three degrees of freedom.

3. Irrigation canal pool dynamic model

We have studied the Aragons Imperial Main Canal (AIMC)

belonging to the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation in Zaragoza,

Spain. This canal is 108 km long, and has a trapezoidal cross section

and a design head discharge of 30.0 m3 s1. It has nine pools of different length separated by undershot gates. Data used in this paper

was obtained from the rst pool which is 8.0 km. long, it has a variable depth between 3.7 and 3.1 m, a variable width between 15.0

and 30.0 m, and the mentioned discharge of 30.0 m3 s1 in all its

extension. This canal pool is operated by using undershoot gates

and distant downstream end control method. The available measurements are the downstream end water levels and the gate

positions.

In downstream end controlled irrigation canal pool i, the controlled variable is the downstream end water level yi(t), the manipulated variable is the upstream gate position ui(t), and the

fundamental disturbance variable is the unknown offtake discharge qi(t) as sketched in Fig. 2.

In order to control the water distribution in a main irrigation canal pool, it is not necessary to know the water level variations

along the whole pool. It is enough to measure it in some specic

points that depend on the canal operation method to be used [3].

In this case, since the water distribution is done by gravity offtakes,

a good distribution is obtained by maintaining a constant water level at the offtake. Considering this, a linear model with concentrated parameters and a time delay adequately characterizes the

dynamical behavior of a main irrigation canal pool in the measurement points [24].

Experiments based on the response to a step like input were

carried out in order to obtain a mathematical model that describes

the dynamic behavior of a main irrigation canal pool under study.

In this test the downstream gate was kept in a xed position, the

upstream gate was excited with a step signal and the downstream

end water level was measured with a level sensor. After recording

the response and applying a standard identication procedure we

obtained the transfer function:

Gs

ys

K

ess ;

us T 1 s 1T 2 s 1

12

identication procedure also provided with a model of the canal

pool disturbance and noise, given by expression:

Gd s

Fig. 1. Frequency responses of equivalent PD and FD controllers.

;

vs

s2 0:01987s 0:00000692

13

509

Fig. 2. Schematic representation of an open irrigation main canal with undershot gates.

We denote as K0, s0, T10, T20 the nominal values of the parameters of model (12). We consider that T1 is the dominant time constant (the larger one associated to the dynamics of the canal pool),

while T2 is the smaller time constant that represents the motor + gate dynamics, which is much faster than the canal pool dynamics,

and it is nearly invariant with respect to discharge regimes. The

estimated nominal values of the model parameters are

K0 = 0.053, T10 = 1500s, T20 = 20s, and s0 = 360 s.

As the obtained dominant time constant T10 is about 75 times

larger than the secondary time constant T20, model (12) is simplied for control design purposes to

K

Gs

ess :

T1s 1

tuned in order to full specications (a) and (b). All this suggests

that these three specications can be attained by a PI controller

of the form:

Rs K p

15

The robustness of this controller to changes in the time delay

(maximum deviation of the time delay from the nominal value that

keeps stable the closed-loop system) can be easily obtained:

s^max s0

14

Experiments reported in previous works on identication of canal pool dynamic behavior showed that all these parameters may

exhibit wide variations when the discharge regimes change across

the gates in the operation range [33]. In our particular canal pool,

we consider variations in the time delay, smin 6 s 6 smax, because

this is the parameter more determinant in the stability of the

closed-loop control system of main irrigation canal pools [3,9].

Moreover we will also study the effects of variations in the secondary time constant in the simulation section.

1 Tds

;

s

/m

xc

16

specications (a) and (b) will exhibit the same time delay stability

margin (16), independently of its particular form. Then a different

control structure has to be used in order to improve the robustness

to changes in the time delay. Next a control structure based on the

Smith predictor is proposed, which is shown in Fig. 4. In this case

the closed-loop transfer function assuming a nominal time delay

s0 and a real time delay s is

Ys M c sCs Md sDs;

17

where

Mc s

18

and the effects of time delay variations are studied.

RsG0 sess

;

1 RsG0 s1 es0 s ess

Md s

1 RsG0 s1 es0 s

;

1 RsG0 s1 es0 s ess

19

and

(12) (or (14)) with the next specications: (a) phase margin (/m),

(b) crossover frequency (xc), and (c) zero steady state error. The

last specication implies that the controller must include an integral term. Moreover the controller needs two parameters to be

Gs G0 sess ;

0

20

being G (s) the rational part of the model. Moreover expression (13)

yields D(s) = Gd(s)v(s).

In the scheme of Fig. 4 (see expression (18)) the time delay stability margin depends on the particular form of any controller R(s)

510

in the control scheme of Fig. 3 where any controller R(s) which fulfils these conditions exhibits the same time delay stability margin.

Then a proper design of such controller R(s) in a Smith predictor

based control scheme may increase such stability margin.

4.2. Effects of a detuned Smith predictor

When ss0 the Smith predictor is detuned and the closed-loop

characteristic equation is obtained from expression (18):

is bounded: 30 6 \W(jx, 0, s0) 6 30.

Function W exhibits a positive phase at low frequencies in the

interval 0 6 s < s0, while its phase is negative at low frequencies

in the interval s0 < s < 1.

In the case that 0 6 s 6 s0, the rst change of the phase of W

from positive to negative values is produced at a frequency:

xc

p

:

s0 s

23

the closed-loop stability analysis is

values of d = s s0. It shows that, while the magnitude plot never

surpasses 3 (10 dB), the phase decreases quickly when the frequency surpasses a given value that depends on d.

jxs0

1e

jxs

21

22

where the term W(jx, s, s0) represents the effects introduced by the

non-nominal time delay. Some features of this term are

Its magnitude is bounded: 0 6 jW(jx, s, s0)j 6 3.

In the case of nominal delay: W(jx, s0, s0) = 1.

of zero steady state error to step commands. A natural modication

of the previous fractional controller in order to achieve this is to include an integral term. It leads to the fractional integral controller:

RFI s

RFD s Ksa K

b;

s

s

s

b 1 a P 0:

24

that simultaneously achieves desired phase margin, crossover frequency and zero steady state error to step commands, and exhibits the

magnitude Bode diagram with the smallest slope at high frequencies.

Controller (24) is obtained from controller (11) by adding a pole at the

origin in order to achieve the steady state condition. A similar

procedure can be used to obtain a PI controller from a PD one, and to

make any other controller of two degrees of freedom exhibit zero

steady state error to steps commands. Then the above property easily

follows from previous Property 1.

511

therefore, increases the stability margin dm too. As (24) has the

property of adding less phase than other controllers at high

frequencies, it reduces the robustness of this controller.

The two before effects are contradictory and one will dominate

the other depending on the plant and controller parameters.

Section 6 will study the circumstances that cause the preeminence of each effect, making the FI controller more or less

robust than the well known PI and PID controllers. Previously a

simple controller design procedure is proposed in Section 5 that

will be used in the calculations of Section 6.

5. Algebraic procedure of design

First a sufcient stability criterion for the closed-loop system is

given.

Lemma. Consider a plant of the form (12) or (14) being controlled by

a FI controller (24) combined with a Smith predictor tuned to s0,

0

(ss0). Let us denote as xe the frequency such that jG (jxe)RFI(jxe)j =

i

1/3. Let us denote as xs s; s0 , 1 6 i 6 n(s, s0) the set of frequencies

that verify j Hjxis ; s; s0 j 1, where n is the number of them and its

dependence on parameters s and s0 has been made explicit. Then (1)

at least one frequency xis s; s0 exists, (2) all these frequencies verify

xis s; s0 6 xe , (3) a sufcient condition for the stability of the closedloop system is

1 6 i 6 ns; s0 :

25

RFI(jx)

always

introduces

x!0

pole

in

the

origin,

and

x!0

x!1

i

s

s; s0

exists such that j Hjxis ; s; s0 j 1, and the rst part of the lemma

is proven.

28

where now the phase margin /m is expressed in radians. This equation holds for any controller R(s). For the case of our FI controller it

gives

G0 jxc ejp/m

e2 ;

K

K

29

which yields conditions for the phase and magnitude that allow to

calculate the parameters of this controller:

b

K

p \G0 jxc /m ;

b

c

j G0 jxc j

30

31

s

yielding:

We have that:

the parameters of controller (24) in a very simple way. This controller must full specications (a)(c) of Section 4.1.

Specications (a) and (b) in the frequency domain lead to two

equations that can be written in a compact form in the complex

plane:

26

because jWj 6 3, "x, as was stated in Section 4.2. Moreover combining the denition of xe with inequality (26), and the fact that

0

jG (jx)RFI (jx)j is always a descendent function for transfer functions (12) and (14) with a controller of the form (24), it easily follows that jH(jx, s, s0)j 6 1, " x P xe. Therefore it is not possible

to have frequencies xis s; s0 P xe and the second part of the lemma is proven.

The third part of the lemma easily follows from the Nyquist

criterion. Expression (25) is a version for multiple frequencies of

the well known positive phase margin stability condition, and

guarantees that the Nyquist plot does not encircle the point (1, 0),

yielding to the sufcient stability condition.

Then the stability margin dm = sm s0 of the time delay is given

by

jxc ej/m

;

0

G jxc

j/

je m

K I 0

;

G jxc

K i R

32

33

where R and I stand for the real and imaginary part of a complex

number.

This frequency domain algebraic design procedure can be easily

extended to other design cases:

1. A Smith predictor based controller with a delay different from the

0

nominal value. Controllers can be designed substituting G (jx)

0

by G (jx)W(jx, s, s0) in expressions (28)(33).

2. A FI controller in a standard closed-loop scheme (see Fig. 3). A controller that provides the desired frequency specications can be

0

0

obtained by substituting G (jx) by G (jx)ejxs in expressions

(28)(33).

27

6. Application to rst order systems with delay

A consequence of Property 2 is that (24) is the controller of two

degrees of freedom that fulls conditions (a)(c) of Section 4.1, and

makes the magnitude of H(jx, s, s0) decrease fastest (smaller slope)

at high frequencies, making thus frequency xe be minimum. Then

the frequency interval where condition (25) has to be veried

decreases and we may expect stable closed-loop systems for larger

values of d. However, controller (24) provides with less phase at

high frequencies than other controllers like a PI. Adding more

robust to changes in the time delay than a PI or PID controller. We

consider the quite common case of rst order plants with a delay.

As we are not able to provide with an analytical demonstration, we

will carry on the comparison through extensive calculations and

simulations. Lemma of Section 4 and the design procedure of Section 5 are used to reduce computations.

512

by T1 (tn = t/T1) and the plant output y by K(yn = y/K). The normalized transfer function is

Gn s

1 sn s

;

e

s1

sn s=T 1

34

assumed. The time delay margin depends on the normalized crossover frequency xcn (second design specication). From now on we

will use the normalized closed-loop time constant Tcn = 1/xcn instead of xcn because some graphics and expressions become simpler. This parameter varies from 0.05 s, which means a closed-loop

system 20 times faster than the open-loop one (without taking into

account the delay), to 1.5 s, which means closed-loop system 1.5

times slower than the open-loop one (which is quite uncommon

as we usually want to make the closed-loop system faster than

the open-loop one), in intervals of 0.05 s. The range of variation

of the normalized time delay used in the Smith predictor s0n is

from 0 s to 10 s in intervals of 0.1 s, which means considering from

zero delay to a delay ten times larger than the main time constant.

Fig. 6. Time delay stability margin obtained using the FI controller dFI

m .

Fig. 6 shows the time delay stability margin obtained using the

FI controller dFI

m . This gure shows an abrupt change in the

robustness which basically divides the whole area into two regions: a region or high robustness where the robustness dFI

m slowly

increases as the nominal time delay s0n increases, and a region of

low robustness where dFI

m decreases as s0n increases. This pattern

can also be noticed in the PI and PID controllers. Fig. 7 shows the

border line between the before two regions in the cases of FI, PI

and PID controllers.

After extensive calculations in the whole dened search space

(0.05 6 Tcn 6 1.5, 0 6 s0n 6 10) three regions were found: a region

where the FI is more robust than the PI, a region where the PI is

more robust than the FI, and a third region where both controllers

have about the same robustness (normalized time delay stability

margins differ in less than 0.2 s). These regions can be approximated by

PI

1 FI better than PIdFI

m > dm :

35

PI

2 PI better than FIdFI

m < dm :

36

37

3 PI similar to

FIdFI

m

dPI

m

38

6.2. FI controller versus PID controller

Improvements using a PID controller are studied next. PID has

three parameters to be adjusted in (4) (K, Ki, Kd). As we have now

an extra parameter, we try to improve the robustness properties

while keeping the same nominal behavior by adequately tuning

these three parameters. We run an optimization process that maximizes the time delay stability margin dPID

m while keeping the

same phase margin, crossover frequency and zero steady state error to step commands. The algebraic procedure of Section 5 was

modied in order to deal with PID controllers. As expected, larger

stability margins are obtained than with PI in all the cases (Tcn, s0n),

but this improvement is signicant only in a small region. This

Fig. 7. Border line between the high and low robustness regions in the cases of FI, PI

and PID controllers.

a PID exhibits a magnitude Bode diagram with a larger slope at

high frequencies than a PI, then yielding an only marginal robustness improvement.

Again the space of search is divided into three regions: the region where the FI is more robust than the PID, the region where

the PID is more robust than the FI (which is larger now), and a third

region where both controllers have about the same robustness

(normalized time delay stability margins differ in less than 0.2 s).

These regions can be approximated by

PID

1 FI better than PIDdFI

m > dm :

s0n 6 0:3021T 2cn 2:5551T cn ;

2

PID

PID better than FIdFI

m < dm :

2

0n P 0:3021T cn 2:5551T cn ;

3

2

0n 6 1:5279T cn 3:2443T cn 3:1839T cn ;

FI

PID

PID similar to FIdm dm :

3

2

0n > 1:5279cn 3:2443T cn 3:1839T cn ;

and 0n 6 1:3795T 3cn 1:8114T 2cn 1:2724T cn :

39

40

s

s

41

43

42

44

513

the delay invariant.

Fig. 8 shows regions (35)(38) (FI versus PI), and includes the

rectangular design area dened above. Fig. 9 does the same for

the regions (39)(44) (FI versus PID). Fig. 8 shows that FI is more

robust than PI in most of the design area. Fig. 9 shows that FI is

more robust than PID in an important section of the design area,

and in most of the remaining area it exhibits similar robustness

than PID. These results are the principal motivation for using our fractional controller combined with an Smith predictor in a main irrigation canal pool.

7. Case study: a main irrigation canal pool

Fig. 8. Comparison of the time delay stability margins obtained with the FI and PI

controllers.

Comparing regions (39)(44) with (35)(38) we notice that the region where the FI controller is better than the PID shrinks by its

lower bound: the upper bound (35) remains the same but now appears a lower bound (39). This reduction has little effect on the design criteria as it happens mostly when Tcn > 0.7, which is a zone

where its is quite unlikely that we place our closed-loop system

speed of response specication. The region where the FI controller

is worse than the PID has grown (see border (42)).

6.3. Application to a main irrigation canal pool

Dynamics of a main irrigation canal pool are usually characterized by large main time constants compared to their time delays. In

some cases they are even approximately modelled by a transfer

function of the form G(s) = ess/(As) (see e.g. [34,35]), which implies an innite main time constant. This means that ratio sn (see

(34)) is usually small (sn < 1). Moreover, we usually may want

our closed-loop system be faster that the open-loop one. Reasonable improvements can range from Tcn = 1 (the same speed as the

open-loop system) to Tcn = 0.1 (ten times faster than the open-loop

system). Lower values of Tcn may saturate actuators. These

improvements are achieved only in the main time constant of

In this section our controller is applied to the closed-loop control of our main irrigation canal pool. Robustness to changes in

the time delay of six control schemes are compared: (a) a PI standard controller in the scheme of Fig. 3, (b) a PI standard controller

with Smith predictor (Fig. 4), (c) our fractional controller with

Smith predictor (Fig. 4), a PID standard controller with Smith predictor (Fig. 4), a predictive controller, and a H1 robust controller.

All these controllers are designed to achieve the same frequency

specications (xc and /m) for the simplied plant (14) when nominal values K0, T10 and s0.

In our main irrigation canal pool the time delay may experience

variations in the range smin = s0/2 6 s 6 2s0 = smax. The controller

must remain stable for delays up to smax, but we want a controller

that keeps the closed-loop system stable for larger values in order

to cope with some emergency situations. Control systems will be

compared from six points of view: (a) dynamic performance of

the controlled systems in the case of nominal plant dynamics,

where the controllers are designed with the same given frequency

specications, (b) amplitudes of control signals, (c) maximum

deviation of the time delay that keeps the closed-loop system stable (robustness to time delay changes), (d) behavior of the dynamic

response in the normal work range dened above [smin, smax], (e)

robustness to changes in the secondary time constant (T2), which

implies changes in the high frequency range of the canal model,

(f) sensitivity to measurement noise and perturbations.

7.1. Design specications

Open-loop canal pool settling time is obtained as Ts

3T10 + s0 = 4860 s. The closed-loop control system is designed to

be nearly four times faster i.e. exhibit a settling time T cs 1300 s.

A crossover frequency of xc 3=T cs 0:0023 rad/s and the standard phase margin /m = 60 are chosen as design specications.

7.2. Standard PI controller

A PI controller is designed for the scheme of Fig. 3. The procedure of Section 5 applied to the whole transfer function

0

(G (jx)ejxs) with model (14) yields a negative value in expression

(32) resulting a controller:

PIs

0:00411 16555s

;

s

45

possible to nd a PI controller that fulls the above frequency domain specications.

7.3. Design of PI, FI and PID controllers with the Smith predictor

Fig. 9. Comparison of the time delay stability margins obtained with the FI and PID

controllers.

a Smith predictor. Now expression T cs 3T c10 s0 has to be considered in order to achieve the desired settling time. This yields a

514

closed-loop main time constant of T c10 313 s, and a corresponding crossover frequency of xc = 0.0032 rad/s. The PI controller is

obtained by using expressions (32), (33):

PIs s

0:1961 350:7s

;

s

46

FIs s

6:4

:

s0:46

47

A PID that fulls the same /m and xc than the two previous controllers and maximizes the time delay stability margin is obtained

from an optimization procedure:

PIDs s

:

s

48

controllers (46)(48). The responses of these three controllers to

unity step commands C(s) are drawn in Fig. 11. The region of errors

lower than 5% of the desired nal value, which denes the settling

time, is also drawn in this gure and in the following ones. This gure shows that the overshot is 18.7% (PI), 9.6% (FI) and 6.9% (PID),

and the settling time is 2059 s (PI), 1601 s (FI) and 1864 s (PID). The

rise time is approximately the same for all controllers. Fig. 12 plots

the control signals u(t) of all controllers and shows that the maximum value of the control signals given by the PI and the PID are

respectively about 4.3% and 38.6% larger than the maximum of

the signal given by the FI.

Then the FI gives a faster response (less settling time) than the

PI and PID controllers while generating a control action of less

amplitude (all controllers having been designed for the same frequency specications). Moreover the FI response is more damped

than the PI response and slightly less damped than the PID response. This suggests that the FI controller provides with a more

efcient control action than the PI and PID. In turn Fig. 11 shows

that the steady error converges to zero more slowly when using

the FI than PI or PID controllers. This may be a severe drawback

when a precise control is required, like in the case of servos. But

in the case of controlling a main irrigation canal pool, achieving

an error of less than 5% is accurate enough.

We have also included in Fig. 11 the response of the complete

plant (12) (second order with delay plant) using the FI controller

(47) plus Smith predictor. This response is very close to the one obtained using the rst order with delay plant (14), supporting the

validity of the proposed simplication.

Fig. 10. Bode plots of the open-loop system with PI, FI and PID controllers.

Fig. 11. Responses of PI, FI and PID control systems to unity step commands C(s).

First, we must locate the design point (Tcn, s0n) in Figs. 8 and 9. It

easily follows that Tcn = 1/(T10xc) = 0.2089 and s0n = s0/T10 = 0.24.

This point is marked with a p in these gures and lies inside

the design region. Moreover these two gures show that this point

lies inside the region where the FI controller is more robust than

the PI and PID controllers.

If we carry on a numerical procedure similar to the one used to

calculate Figs. 8 and 9, the time delay stability margins are obFI

tained for the three controllers: dPI

m 0:2931, dm 0:3698 and

0:3526.

The

fractional

controller

improves

the robustness

dPID

m

of the PI in 26 % and the robustness of a PID in 4%. The maximum

time delay allowed by these controllers is given by s0max s0

dm T 10 which yields: s0max 2:22s0 for the PI, s0max 2:54s0 for the

FI and s0max 2:47s0 for the PID.

Figs. 1315 show the responses of the PI, FI and PID controllers

with a Smith predictor to unity step commands for time delay values of smin, smax and 2.5s0 respectively. Control signals are also

plotted. Figs. 13 and 14 show that the FI provides with more

damped and faster (less settling time) responses in the working

range [smin, smax] than the other controllers (these results were obtained for the extremes of the working interval and remain true for

515

is slightly smaller. Fig. 15 shows the previously established result

that the PI and the PID controllers are unstable for 2.5s0 while

the FI remains stable.

7.5. Comparison with other robust control schemes

Fig. 13. Responses of PI, FI and PID control systems with a Smith predictor to unity

step commands for values smin.

complex control schemes: a Model Based Predictive controller

(MPC) and an H1 controller (this last one is specially designed to

be robust). Fig. 16 shows the temporal responses of these controllers when time delay changes (s0/2 6 s 6 2s0). Both control

schemes have been tuned using the Robust Control Toolbox of MATLAB [36,37]. Tables 1 and 2 resume the design parameters used for

the MPC and H1 tuning respectively.

The MPC presents higher robustness than our fractional controller plus Smith predictor, nevertheless its temporal response with

nominal time delay is too slow (Ts = 4300 s). The rapidity of the

temporal response can be improved decreasing the sampling period. In fact with a sampling period of 1 s a settling time Ts = 2100 s

is achieved. The drawback of this method is that often the sampling frequency can not be increased much because of technological limitations of the installed sensors.

The H1 controller presents a similar temporal response than the

fractional controller plus Smith predictor in the nominal case

(Ts 1900 s). It shows a much better behavior than the FI at

smax = 2s0. Nevertheless it exhibits a slightly lower robustness to

Fig. 14. Responses of PI, FI and PID control systems with a Smith predictor to unity

step commands for values smax.

Fig. 16. Temporal responses of H1 and MPC with time delay changes (s = s0/2,

s = s0 and s = 2s0).

Table 1

Design parameters of the Predictive control

Sample time

Prediction horizon

Optimizer solver

Maximum number of iterations

60 s

2000

ActiveSet

200

Table 2

Design parameters of the H1 control

Fig. 15. Responses of PI, FI and PID control systems with a Smith predictor to unity

step commands for values 2.5s0.

Sample time

Algorithm

Weighting function

60 s

DGKF [38]

Ds

DK K s DT 0 DK 0 T 0 0:5Ds0 s2K 0 T 0 DK 0 T 0 K 0 DT 0 20 s2

Wy 0 0 0

K 0 T 0 DT 0 s1

516

s = 2.4s0. The drawback of this controller is that its design can be

hardly automated. H1 controller tuning methods require an iteration process to calculate the controller transfer function. Moreover,

several adequate weighting functions must be selected to obtain

controllers that provide the system with a robust behavior. The order of the resulting controller is usually high.

7.6. Robustness to changes in the secondary time delay

Next the secondary time constant T2 T1 is considered. As

changes in T2 inuence the high frequency dynamics of the plant,

we check if the property of the FI controller of making the magnitude of the open-loop system decrease faster at high frequencies

implies any improvement in the robustness to this parameter. Very

small values of T2 do not unstabilize the closed-loop system (transfer function (12) approaches (14)). Then we study how much we

can increase the value of T2 before the system becomes unstable.

Simulations for different values of T2 show that the closed-loop

system with the PI controller becomes unstable for values

T2 P 635 s and the PID for values T2 P 1050 s while the system

with the FI controller never becomes unstable.

Fig. 18. Control signals of PI, FI and PID control systems with a Smith predictor to

step commands of amplitude 3 in presence of the modelled measurement noise and

perturbations.

Sensitivity to output measurement noise of PI, FI and PID controllers is compared. The water level sensor has a sampling period

of T = 60 s. A disturbance modelled by a noise with an uniform

energy spectrum in the range [0.5fn, fn] where fn = 0.5/T is the

Nyquist frequency colored by transfer function (13) has been

considered in the simulations. The command signal is a step of

amplitude 3. Then the noise is a very noticeable component of

the measured signal. This high noise/signal ratio is not unusual

in main irrigation canal pools as often changes in the command

signal are of short amplitude, and the control is of incremental nature. Fig. 17 plots the responses of the canal pool with the PI, FI and

PID controllers, and Fig. 18 plots the control signals generated by

these controllers. They show that the FI controller deals better with

this noise as the amplitude of the noisy component of its output is

Fig. 17. Responses of PI, FI and PID control systems with a Smith predictor to step

commands of amplitude 3 in presence of the modelled measurement noise and

perturbations.

show this more clearly.

Fig. 19 shows the behavior of PI, FI and PID controllers when a

step disturbance of amplitude 1 (D(s) in Fig. 4) is produced. This

disturbance may model an unpredicted water offtake. The responses are shown for three different time delays: s = s0/2, s = s0

and s = 1.5s0. This gure shows that the response of the fractional

controller is usually more damped and converges faster to the error

band of 5% than the responses of the other two controllers. For

example, in the nominal case the settling times are: 3076.3 s for

the PI, 3008.5 s for the PID and 2723.4 s for the FI.

8. Discussion and conclusions

The design of Smith predictor based controllers robust to high

frequency unmodelled dynamics and disturbances has been studied. Special attention has been paid to the stability robustness to

changes in the process time delay.

Such robustness is associated to a fast descent of the magnitude

Bode diagram at high frequencies. We found that the controller

that provides with the maximum descent of such magnitude diagram in the open-loop transfer function at high frequencies while

satisfying the desired closed-loop specications is of fractional

order.

In particular, among all the controllers having two parameters

to be tuned, the proposed fractional integral controller (24) is the

one that provides with the smallest magnitude diagram slope at

high frequencies.

A simple methodology to design these FI controllers combined

with Smith predictors has been proposed. Robustness of these controllers to time delay changes in rst order plus time delay plants

(14) has been compared with the robustness of PI controllers, and

PID controllers optimized to exhibit the largest time delay margin

(both controllers combined with a Smith predictor). Though the FI

controller provides with the smallest magnitude Bode diagram

slope at high frequencies, there are regions where the PI and the

PID are more robust than the FI. This is explained by the fact that

the mismatching in the time delay can not be considered only as

a high frequency modeling error, but this error also inuences at

medium frequencies.

However there is a very important region where the FI is more

robust than PI, and even than PID which is a more complex con-

517

Fig. 19. Responses of PI, FI and PID control systems with a Smith predictor to step disturbances D(s) of amplitude 1 for the cases of time delays s = s0/2, s = s0 and s=1.5s0.

proper tuning of its three parameters. Many control system designs

of real main canal pools are placed in this region. So our FI controllers are well suited for robust Smith predictor based control of a

main irrigation canal pool.

As dynamic parameters of a main irrigation canal pool change

through time, and canal pool dynamic responses are inuenced

by several disturbances, the behavior of several controllers has

been compared under these circumstances for the case of a real

main canal pool that we have modeled and parametrically identied. These comparisons showed:

The FI controller performed better than the PI and PID controllers in the case of the nominal plant in terms of the output

response and the amplitude of the control signal.

The dynamic response to a step command of the plant controlled

with the FI remains better than responses with the PI and the

PID for any delay included in the working conditions range.

An improvement of about the 20% in the stability margin of the

time delay was obtained in our example by using FI instead of PI

controllers. However we have achieved improvements over 40%

in this margin in other canal pools [24].

More complex control schemes as H1 or MPC do not necessarily

improve the robustness to changes in time delay. Often these

controllers lead to worst temporal response in the nominal

delay case if the robustness to the time delay must be made

comparable to what can be achieved with our FI.

The robustness of the Smith predictor based closed-loop control to changes in the secondary time constant of the canal

pool is improved if a FI controller is used instead of a PI or a

PID.

and PID. FI control actions require less abrupt motions of the

gate motors than the other controllers in all the cases: with

and without disturbances. This may be an advantage in preventing the ageing of these actuators.

The proposed methodology can be viewed as a particular application of the loop shaping design used in QFT (quantitative feedback theory). Loop shaping design has the drawbacks that (a) it

requires optimization algorithms that often can not nd the globally optimum solution; (b) it needs some error bounding transfer

functions that often can not be systematically chosen. Then usual

approaches are based on manual designs or automated designs

based on particular controller structures. We mention that, from

this point of view, fractional controllers can play an important role

in QFT as they allow a loop shaping with interesting robustness

properties by designing a new controller parameter: the value of

the fractional derivative. This allows us to design open-loop frequency responses by tuning few parameters (b and one gain in

our controller) with similar features to what can be obtained in

the standard QFT by tuning more parameters in high order controllers, and with more complex optimization procedures.

Then our FI controller allows to design robust controllers with a

minimum design effort that can be easily automated according to

(30), (31). Its robustness is larger than what can be achieved with

PI and PID controllers and similar (may be slightly lower) to what

can be achieved with an H1, in the cases of many irrigation main

canal pools. But the design effort needed for this last controller is

much larger. This makes our controller especially well suited for

implementing adaptive robust controllers (like gain scheduling

control schemes) where the controller has to be redesigned in real

518

while it is wanted to get some robustness properties in the tuned

controller in order to face abrupt changes in the plant dynamics

or errors in the real time parameter estimation algorithm (parameter identication subsystem of the adaptive control system). This

kind of control systems is of great interest for irrigation main canal

pools as they are time varying processes.

Fractional controllers can be digitally implemented in very

straightforward ways by using both IIR or FIR lters ([27,28],

e.g.). Once the parameters of the very simple controller (24) are designed, its digital implementation is obtained automatically. The

rst practical implementation of a simple fractional controller in

a prototype canal pool was done in [25]. Moreover a version of this

controller has been implemented in a Siemens PLC (a Simatic 300)

[39]. In both applications, as well as in our simulations, the discretized operator (8), (9) combined with the short memory approximation was used. We also mention that there are some recent

developments that allow to implement fractional controllers by

analogic physical devices that reproduce their frequency responses

over ranges of 6 or more decades [40].

The next objective of our research is generalizing the application of our FI to the control of a main canal with multiple pools.

We mention that modern canal control systems may be more complex than a PI or a Smith predictor based controller, and multivariable controllers may be proposed. But often these control systems

include series of simple PI controllers as the lowest control level

which are coordinated by other more complex controllers at

upper levels ([41], e.g.). Although centralized H1 or MPC controllers may provide with a better performance than decentralized

controllers, the last ones offer some advantages: (a) the design

and implementation of these control systems are simpler, (b) the

impact of communication failures or electrical power breakdown

(which are common due to lightning, vandalism, and rodent bites,

e.g. [42]) is more limited if the control system is implemented locally (or there were local controllers at a low level coordinated by a

high level multivariable controller), (c) communication systems

and electronic devices are cheaper. Substituting these PI controllers by our fractional controllers at such low level control may improve the global control system because local control robustness is

increased having an impact on the overall control system performance. We nally mention that our design methodology can be extended to design other more complex fractional PID controllers.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by

the Program of International Cooperation of the Universidad de

Castilla-la Mancha, Spain. The authors would also like to thank

the journal editor and reviewers for their revision and fruitful comments and recommendations, which have made it possible to improve upon the original paper.

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