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V. Ougrinovski July 22, 2007

1 Introduction
It has been observed that much information about a control system can be obtained from the analysis of its response to test inputs. Recall from the last semester, if we have a rst order system B Y (s) = , R(s) s + 1 its unit step response is found as the inverse Laplace transform of Y (s) = and is equal to y(t) = B Bet/ . The parameter B represents the DC gain of the system. It establishes the nal value the output approaches in response to a unit step. The parameter is the time constant of the system. As a rule of thumb it usually takes time of about 5 seconds for the response to reach its nal value B. Thus, given a rst order system, applied the unit step input, we obtain the output whose nal value is B = 1. Often, we use control to make sure that the system obeys given commands. For example, controlling the altitude of a ghter, we wish to make sure that the ghter will position at the required altitude. However, the above example shows that there may be an error between the desired and resulted nal values. One of the major advantages of feedback control is the ability 1. to track reference inputs precisely, and 2. to maintain this precision in the face of disturbances. In this note, we consider how such precision can be achieved. B/ s(s + 1/ )

2 Error signals
Consider the feedback system in Figure 1. In this system R(s) is the Laplace transform of a reference input, and D(s) is the Laplace transform of a disturbance. The transfer function G(s) is called loop gain transfer function. Note that it 1

D(s) PSfrag replacements R(s) + E(s) G(s) + + Y (s)

Figure 1: may be a series combination of the plant and a compensator. The output Y (s) is required to track the reference input R(s). The input into plant G(s) is the tracking error E(s) = R(s) Y (s) Let e(t) denote its inverse Laplace transform. The limit ess = lim e(t)

is referred to the steady state error. The value of ess characterises the nal value of error as a difference between the nal value of the input r(t) and the nal value of the output y(t). In other words, e ss is the value of error after transients have died out. To calculate ess , we use the Final Value Theorem for Laplace transforms. According to this theorem, as long as E(s) does not have any poles in the right half of the complex plane, except maybe, s = 0, then ess = lim sE(s).

We now nd E(s) given R(s) and D(s). Since Y (s) = G(s)E(s) + D(s), then E(s) = E(s) = R(s) Y (s),

R(s) D(s) 1 1 = R(s) D(s). 1 + G(s) 1 + G(s) 1 + G(s)

Note that a change in the disturbance input has the same effect on the error as a change in the reference input, except the sign is opposite. This observation allows us to drop D(s) and focus on the reference input R(s). Conclusions drawn about R(s) can then be applied to D(s).


Steady state error for a step input

Let D(s) = 0. Consider R(s) = A/s, the step input of the height A. In this case, E(s) simplies to E(s) = 1 R(s). 1 + G(s)

It can be shown that, except for s = 0, E(s) and the closed loop transfer function G/(1 + G) have the same poles. Therefore, the condition of the Final Value Theorem for E(s) to have all its poles in the left half of the complex plane or at the origin, reduces to the condition that the closed loop system must be stable or maybe have poles at s = 0. If this condition is met, then we can continue the calculation: ess = lim s

R(s) A/s A = lim s = . 1 + G(s) s0 1 + G(s) 1 + lims0 G(s)

Note that in this case, the steady state error is determined by the DC gain of G(s). The larger is DC gain, the smaller is the steady state error. Furthermore, if G(s) has one or more poles at s = 0, then lims0 G(s) = . In this case, ess = 0. A pole at s = 0 occurs if G(s) is proportional 1/s, i.e. if G(s) includes integrator. This effect is called the integral action. Thus, as long as G(s) has one or more poles at s = 0 and the closed loop system is stable, the steady state error remains zero despite large modelling errors or changes in the plant. Note that this is true for a constant reference input or constant disturbance input. The number of poles at the origin of the loop gain transfer function (i.e. the number of integrators) denes the systems type number. Type zero systems do not include an integrator and therefore have a nite DC gain G(0). A constant called the position error constant, Kp , is used to indicate the size of DC gain G(0), Kp = lim G(s).

Note that the constant Kp is relevant only in releation to step inputs. A step input has the physical interpretation as a change in reference position for a positioning system and thus the name position error constant. For a type zero system the steady-state error in response to a step input of height A is ess = A 1 + Kp

Note that a large position error constant corresponds to a small steady-state error.


Steady state error for a ramp input

Now consider the steady-state error in response to a ramp input r(t) = At. The Laplace transform of the ramp input is R(s) = A/s2 and ess = lim s

A/s2 A = . 1 + G(s) lims0 sG(s)

Since ramp input corresponds to a change in velocity in a position control system, we call the error constant associated with ramp inputs the velocity error constant, K v : Kv = lim sG(s).

If G(s) is a type zero system with no poles at the origin, then K v = 0 and the steady-state error in response to the ramp input is innite, that is, the error grows with time. If you have a type zero system and you wish to be able to follow a ramp within some degree of accuracy, you must add at least one integrator to your controller. 3

If G(s) is a type two or higher system, Kv is innite and the steady-state error for a ramp input or disturbance is zero. A type one system will have a nite, non zero Kv and the steady-state error is given by ess = A Kv

and is constant. This situation is demonstrated in Fig. 2. Notice again that a large K v indicates a small
20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Reference type 1 system type 2 system







Figure 2: Ramp responses of type 1 (G1 (s) =

4s+1 ) s(s2 +4s+6)

and type 2 systems (G2 (s) =

4s+1 ) s2 (s2 +4s+6)

steady-state error. Also, notice that Kv is dened only with respect to a ramp input.


Steady state error for a parabolic input

For a parabolic input r(t) = At2 /2, we take R(s) = A/s3 . Since parabolic input corresponds to a change in acceleration in a position control system, the associated error constant, K a , is called the acceleration error constant in reference to a positioning system: Ka = lim s2 G(s)

Then, we obtain

A/s3 A A = = . 2 G(s) s0 1 + G(s) lims0 s Ka Type zero and type one systems have Ka = 0 and an innitely growing error to a parabolic input. A type three or higher system has an innite Ka and zero steady-state error. A type two system has a nite Ka and a nite steady-state error with a parabolic point. ess = lim s



The table summarizes the results of this section for steady-state errors. 4

Input Error Constant System type 0 1 2 3 and higher

Step, A/s Kp = lim G(s)


Ramp, A/s2 Kv = lim sG(s)


Parabola, A/s3 Ka = lim s2 G(s)


Steady-State Error A 1 + Kp 0 0 0 A Kv 0 0 A Ka 0

Table 1:



100(s + 1) 2(s + 1) . Consider the control PSfrag replacements system where Gp (s) = (s + 2)(s + 3) , H(s) = s+4 r(t) + H(s) Gp (s) y

Figure 3: 1. Find the steady state error when r(t) is a unit step. 200(s + 1)2 First, nd the loop gain G(s) = H(s)Gp (s) = Second, nd the position (s + 2)(s + 3)(s + 4) error constant, Kp = G(0) = 200/24 = 8.3333. Then, ess = 1 1 = = 0.1071. 1 + Kp 9.3333

2. Find the steady state error when r(t) is a unit ramp. Find the velosity error constant, Kv = lims0 sG(s) = 0 (note that this is a type 0 system). Then, ess = 1 = . Kv 5

3. Now introduce integral action by modifying H(s) to H(s) = compensator, G(s) = H(s)Gp (s) =

100(s + 1) . With the modied s(s + 4)

200(s + 1)2 . For the unit step input, the position s(s + 2)(s + 3)(s + 4) error constant Kp = , and ess = 0. For the unit ramp input, the velosity error constant Kv = lim sG(s) =

200 = 8.3333 234

and ess = 1/8.3333 = 0.12. 4. With H(s) as in 3, set r(t) = 0 and take a look at the steady state error due to a constant disturbance. That is, we now consider the system in Fig. 4 PSfrag replacements r(t) 0 H(s) + Gp (s) + + d(t) y

Figure 4: 100(s + 1) 2(s + 1) , H(s) = . (s + 2)(s + 3) s(s + 4) We can either note that the result will be the same as a step input result but with opposite sign (that is ess = 0 since we have integral action in the compensator), or derive the result from the scratch. Toward this end, we redraw the block diagram where Gp (s) = d(t) 1 + + PSfrag replacements e(t)


Figure 5: and nd the transfer function from the disturbance input to the error: E(s) 1 = . D(s) 1 + G(s) 6

Set D(s) =

A s.

Then from the Final Value Theorem 1 A A A = = . 1 + G(s) s 1 + lims0 G(s) 1 + Kp

ess = lim sE(s) = lim s

s0 s0

But Kp = in this example, hence ess = 0.

3 The steady state error of non-unity feedback systems

The approach to direct computing the steady state error of non-unity feedback systems has been demonstrated in the previous example. That is, consider a non-unity feedback system r(t) Gp (s) + PSfrag replacements



Figure 6: For this system, Gp (s) Y (s) = , R(s) 1 + Gp (s)H(s) E(s) = R(s) Y (s) = 1 Gp (s) 1 + Gp (s)H(s) R(s)

Let r(t) be a unit step, and R(s) = 1/s. Then from the Final Value Theorem, ess = lim s 1

Gp (s) 1 + Gp (s)H(s) Gp (0) = 1 . 1 + Gp (0)H(0)

1 s

Thus, to achieve a zero steady state error, we require Gp (0) = 1, 1 + Gp (0)H(0) or Gp (0) = 1 + Gp (0)H(0).