Fault-tolerant Control Systems
Faults in automated processes will often cause undesired reactions and shut-down of a controlled plant, and the consequences could be damage to technical parts of the plant, to personnel or the environment. Fault-tolerant control is the synonym for a set of recent techniques that were developed to increase plant availability and reduce the risk of safety hazards. The aim is to prevent that simple faults develop into serious failure. Fault-tolerant control merges several disciplines into a common framework to achieve these goals. The desired features are obtained through on-line fault diagnosis, automatic condition assessment and calculation of appropriate remedial actions to avoid certain consequences of a fault. The envelope of the possible remedial actions is very wide. Appropriate retuning can sometimes suffice. In other cases, accommodation of the fault could be achieved by replacing a measurement from a faulty sensor by an estimate. In some situations, complex reconfiguration with on-line controller redesign is required. This chapter introduces tools to analyze and explore structure and other fundamental properties of an automated system such that any inherent redundancy in the controlled process can be fully utilized to maintain availability, even though faults may occur.
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