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A control loop consists of sensors for measurement, controller hardware such as PLCs, actuators such as control valves, breakers, switches and motors, and the communication of variables. Controlled variables are transmitted to the controller from the sensors. The controller interprets the signals and generates corresponding manipulated variables, based on set points, which it transmits to the actuators. Process changes from disturbances result in new sensor signals, identifying the state of the process, to again be transmitted to the controller.
NIST SP 800-82 Rev. 2