An open loop system is also known as a non-feedback system. An open-loop control system is shown in Fig. It starts with a subsystem called an input transducer, which converts the form of the input to that used by the controller. The controller drives a process or a plant. The input is sometimes called the reference, while the output can be called the controlled variable. Other signals, such as disturbances, are shown added to the controller and process outputs via summing junctions, which yield the algebraic sum of their input signals using associated signs.

For example, the plant can be a furnace or air conditioning system, where the output variable is temperature. The controller in a heating system consists of fuel valves and the electrical system that operates the valves. Open-loop systems, then, do not correct for disturbances and are simply commanded by the input. For example, toasters are open-loop systems, as anyone with burnt toast can attest. The controlled variable (output) of a toaster is the color of the toast. The device is designed with the assumption that the toast will be darker the longer it is subjected to heat. The toaster does not measure the color of the toast; it does not correct for the fact that the toast is rye, white, or sourdough, nor does it correct for the fact that toast comes in different thicknesses.

The distinguishing characteristic of an open-loop system is that it cannot compensate for any disturbances that add to the controller’s driving signal (Disturbance 1 in Fig.). For example, if the controller is an electronic amplifier and Disturbance 1 is noise, then any additive amplifier noise at the first summing junction will also drive the process, corrupting the output with the effect of the noise.

Figure: Open-loop control system (Non-feedback System)

The output of an open-loop system is corrupted not only by signals that add to the controller’s commands but also by disturbances at the output (Disturbance 2 in fig). The system cannot correct these disturbances. Other examples of open-loop systems are mechanical systems consisting of a mass, spring, and damper with a constant force positioning the mass.

The greater the force, the greater the displacement. Again, the system position will change with a disturbance, such as an additional force, and the system will not detect or correct the disturbance.

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Aanchal Gupta

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