Implementation of the control loops can be achieved using pneumatic, analog, or digital electronics. The first process controllers were pneumatic. The first process controllers were pneumatic. However, these have largely been replaced by electronic systems, because of improved reliability, less maintenance, easier installation, easier adjustment, higher accuracy, lower cost, can be used with multiple variables, and have higher speed operation.
PID electronic controller:
The electronic circuit diagram is built on the basis of the block diagram shown above.
The measured variable from the sensor is compared to the set point in the first unity gain comparator; its output is the difference between the two signals or the error signal. This signal is fed to the integrator via an inverting unity gain buffer and to the proportional amplifier and differentiator via a second inverting unity gain comparator, which compares the error signal to the integrator output. Initially, with no error signal, the output of the integrator is zero so that the zero error signal is also present at the output of the second comparator
When there is a change in the measured variable, the error signal is passed through the second comparator to the proportional amplifier and the differentiator where it is amplified in the proportional amplifier, added to the differential signal in a summing circuit, and fed to the actuator to change the input variable.
If the error signal is present for an extended period of time, the integrator will supply the correction signal via the summing circuit to the actuator and input the correction signal to the second comparator. This will reduce the effective error signal to the proportional amplifier to zero, when the integrator is supplying the full correction signal to the actuator. Any new change in the error signal will still be passed through the second comparator as the integrator is only supplying an offset to correct for the first long-term error signal. The proportional and differential amplifiers can then correct for any new changes in the error signal.
This is a complex circuit because all the amplifier blocks are shown doing a single function to give a direct comparison to the block diagram and is only used as an example. In practice there are a large number of circuit component combinations that can be used to produce PID action.
A single amplifier can also be used to perform several functions which would greatly reduce the circuit complexity.