This work is based on the application of Cohen-Coon and Zeigler-Nichols tuning techniques using proportional (P), proportional-integral (PI) and proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers to the control of a reactive distillation process used for the production of methyl oleate, which is a fatty acid methyl ester, produced from the esterification reaction between oleic acid and methanol.
The model used for the study was obtained from literature and formulated in Simulink environment of MATLAB. Before embarking on the control study, the open-loop dynamics of the system was first studied by applying a step to its input variable.
Furthermore, the closed-loop dynamic simulation was accomplished by applying a step to the set-point of the controlled variable of the system. From the results obtained, it was discovered that the obtained model of the process was a stable one because it was able to get settled within the simulation time considered.
Also, the closed-loop results obtained from the simulation revealed that the process was successfully controlled using PID controllers tuned with the techniques because they (the controllers) made the system to behave as it was desired, even though there was a normal offset in the case of P-only controller.