Advanced control of the twin screw extruder

  • Author / Creator
    Iqbal, Mohammad Hasan
  • This research deals with the modeling and control of a plasticating twin screw extruder (TSE) that will be used to obtain consistent product quality. The TSE is a widely used process technology for compounding raw polymers. Compounding creates a polymer with improved properties that satisfy the demand of modern plastic applications. Modeling and control of a TSE is challenging because of its high nonlinearity, inherent time delay, and multiple interactive dynamic behavior. A complete methodology is proposed in this thesis to design an advanced control scheme for a TSE. This methodology was used to develop a model predictive control scheme for a laboratory scale plasticating TSE and to implement the control scheme in real-time. The TSE has a processing length of 925 mm and a length to screw diameter ratio (L/D) of 37. High density polyethylenes with different melt indices were used as processing materials. Manipulated variables and disturbance variables were selected based on knowledge of the process. Controlled variables were selected using a selection method that includes a steady state correlation between process output variables and product quality variables, and dynamic considerations. Two process output variables, melt temperature (Tm) at the die and melt pressure (Pm) at the die, were selected as controlled variables. A new modeling approach was proposed to develop grey box models based on excitation in the extruder screw speed (N), one of the manipulated variables. The extruder was excited using a predesigned random binary sequence (RBS) type excitation in N and nonlinear models relating Tm and Pm to N were developed using this approach. System identification techniques were used to obtain model parameters. The obtained models have an autoregressive moving average with exogenous (ARMAX) input structure and the models explain the physics of the extrusion process successfully. The TSE was also excited using a predesigned RBS in the feed rate (F) as a manipulated variable. Models relating Tm and Pm to F were developed using a classical system identification technique; both models have ARMAX structures. The model between Pm and F was found to give excellent prediction for data obtained from a stair type excitation, indicating that the obtained models provide a good representation of the dynamics of the twin screw extruder. Analysis of the TSE open loop process indicated two manipulated variables, N and F, and two controlled variables, Tm and Pm. Thus, a model predictive controller (MPC) was designed using the developed models for this 2X2 system and implemented in real-time. The performance of the MPC was studied by checking its set-point tracking ability. The robustness of the MPC was also examined by imposing external disturbances. Finally, a multimodel operating regime was used to model Tm and N. The operating regime was divided based on the screw speed, N. Local models were developed using system identification techniques. The global model was developed by combining local models using fuzzy logic methodology. Simulated results showed excellent response of Tm for a wide operating range. A similar approach was used to design a global nonlinear proportional-integral controller (n-PI) and a nonlinear MPC (n-MPC). Both the controllers showed good set-points tracking ability over the operating range. The multiple model-based MPC showed smooth transitions from one operating regime to another operating regime.

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  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.