industrial heat press control panel

Why Digital Temperature Controllers

Author: Skip Schaefer

Control panels are an integral aspect of all mechanical and electrical machines. Operators of machines are able to easily regulate temperature, pressure, and humidity among other factors through controllers with the aim of making the operational process efficient and smooth.

A digital temperature control process involves three elements:

  1. Temperature Controller
  2. Environmental Sensor
  3. Device or element being monitored

The environmental sensor will constantly measure the temperature, the data is then compared against predetermined values which in this case form the set point. A control action is then initiated depending on the level of temperature recorded. It’s important to note that devices that are able to handle temperature sensor signals, as well as flow rate, humidity, and pressure, are simply referred to as controllers.

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What Is A Digital Temperature Controller?

A digital temperature controller is an electronic device used to maintain the temperature of an item at a constant level.

The microprocessor-based technology records electronic temperature levels through the use of a sensor and checks them against the desired set point. The environmental sensor gives feedback about the temperature through signals in regards to the set point. The set point is the control amount that functions as the intended target temperature.

With the development of the industry, temperature indicators are being used in various devices such as chemical heaters, microwaves, and other systems that deal with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. There are digital controllers on the market that specifically deal with the regulation of temperature. Depending on the appliance, they could either be digital or analog.

Enhanced Efficiency

Digital sensors are able to supply information and results that are more accurate as compared to analog sensors. The accuracy of the data ensures a safe and more efficient system. This is because pneumatic analog sensors tend to drift out of calibration when excess loads are applied.

Save Energy

The accurate data and results from the electric sensors will help an operator manage a machine or system more effectively. This is because the set point of a digital temperature controller can be adjusted easily. By adjusting the set point, the operator is at a position in which they can better analyze information on energy consumption patterns on a daily basis thus saving heat energy and money on electric bills.

Better Visibility

A digital controller comes with a control panel that will help operators see how the device performs by being able to read and analyze data on the heating and cooling process reported by sensors. This enables the user to resolve any technical issues on the device in immediately before irreparable damage occurs.

More Flexibility

Digital temperature controllers come with increased flexibility as they are easy to integrate with computer software. After integration, the user can easily change set points, alter the algorithm by which they function. The user can also reset schedules so that they can be used in various applications such as fire alarm systems or lighting, control systems or even industrial water level sensors.

digital temperature controller

What Does A Temperature Controller Do?

A digital temperature controller will perform calculations according to the deviation between the set point and the different values of temperature recorded. It will then work to control the level of temperature so that the temperature being controlled is the same as the set point with minimal overshooting or undershooting. However, the response might differ because of the physical traits of the controlled object as well as the control method of the temperature controller.

In the event that the logged values are different from the set point, the digital controller will send out signals through the sensor to start or stop a control loop process of regulating temperature.

Is PID A Good Controller For Temperature Control?

A PID controller is a type of temperature controller that provides proportional control with integral and derivative adjustments, hence the name PID. It works by combining the integral and derivative adjustments to proportional control thus compensating automatically to system changes. The best.

PID is a good controller for temperature control because it is ideal for accuracy and stability.

It is highly ideal for systems both with a small mass and those that react quickly to energy changes. The integral and derivative adjustments are both expressed in units based on time and are referenced according to their reciprocals which are reset and rate. Using trial and error, the terms that come up as a result of the combination of the proportional controller with the integral and derivative adjustments are separately ‘tuned’ to a specific system. The PID controller is applied in systems that have consistent load changes because the controller has to automatically compensate with changes in the set point, load mass, as well as energy supply and availability.

A proportional temperature controller is designed to eradicating the cycling associated with on-off control of a heating system. The proportional controller will reduce the average power that is fed to the heating system as the temperature nears the values encoded as the set point. The purpose of this function is to slow down the heater so that it does not overshoot the set point.

Instead, it will approach the set point in a gradual and timely manner so as to maintain a stable level of temperature. The work of proportioning temperature can be done by turning the output on and off over intervals of short periods. This function is successfully achieved through varying the ratio of the time the appliance stays both on and off so as to control the temperature.

This process of proportioning occurs around the set point temperature within what is known as a 'proportional band’. The proportional band set point has an output on:off ratio at 1:1. This indicates that the times at which the machine is on and off are both equal. When the temperature is far from the set point, the off and on times vary proportionally to the temperature difference.

Got Questions? We Got Answers

And no we aint RadioShack. My name is Skip Schaefer. I have been in the metal finishing equipment industry for over 50 years.
I will be happy to help if you have further questions or assistance setting up your process heaters and controls.

Works Cited

Bradenbaugh, Kenneth A. "Proportional band temperature control for multiple heating elements." U.S. Patent No. 6,374,046. 16 Apr. 2002. Leys, Christophe, et al. "Detecting outliers: Do not use standard deviation around the mean, use absolute deviation around the median." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 49.4 (2013): 764-766. Nadkarni, R. A. "Applications of microwave oven sample dissolution in analysis." Analytical Chemistry 56.12 (1984): 2233-2237. Wet ashing of some biological samples in a microwave oven. A. Abusamra, Jeffrey S. Morris, Samuel R. KoirtyohannPublished in Analytical chemistry 1975 DOI:10.1021/ac60358a013.

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