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This paper concerns the development of a new design and tuning method for use with robust proportional-plus-integral-plus- derivative (PID) controllers that are commonly used in the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) fields. The robust PID controller is designed for temperature control of a single-zone environmental space. Although the dynamics of environmental space are described by higher-order transfer functions, most HVAC plants are approximated by first-order lag plus deadtime systems. Its control performance is examined for this commonly approximated controlled plant. Since most HVAC plants are complex with nonlinearity, distributed parameters, and multivariables, a single set of PID gains does not necessarily yield a satisfactory control performance. For this reason, the PID controller must be designed as a robust control system considering model uncertainty caused by changes in characteristics of the plant. The PID gains obtained by solving a two-disk type of mixed sensitivity problem can be modified by contrast to those tuned by the traditional Ziegler-Nichols rule. The results, which are surprisingly simple, are given as linear functions of ratio of deadtime to time constant for robustness. The numerical simulation and the experiments on a commercial-size test plant for air conditioning suggest that the robust PID controller proposed in this paper is effective enough for practical applications.

Units: SI