A fluid power application of alternative robust control strategies

  • Richard Pannett

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis presents alternative methods for designing a speed controller for a hydrostatic power transmission system. Recognising that such a system, comprising a valve controlled motor supplied by the laboratory ring main and driving a hydraulic pump as a load, contains significant non-linearities, the thesis shows that robust 'modern control' approaches may be applied to produce viable controllers without recourse to the use of a detailed model of the system. In its introduction, it considers why similar approaches to the design of fluid power systems have not been applied hitherto. It then sets out the design and test, in simulation and on a physical rig, of two alternative linear controllers using H∞ based methods and a 'self organising fuzzy logic' controller (SOFLC). In the linear approaches, differences between the characteristics of the system and the simple models of it are accommodated in the controller design route as 'perturbations' or 'uncertainties'. The H∞ based optimisation methods allow these to be recognised in the design. “Mixed sensitivity” and “Loop shaping” methods are each applied to design controllers which are tested successfully on the laboratory rig. The SOFLC in operation does not rely on a model, but instead allows fuzzy control rules to evolve. In the practical tests, the system is subjected to a range of disturbances in the form of supply pressure fluctuations and load torque changes. Also presented are test results for proportional and proportional plus integral (PI) controllers, to provide a reference. It is demonstrated qualitatively that performance using the linear controllers is superior to that using proportional and PI controllers. An increased range of stable operation is achieved by the controller designed using “loop shaping” – performance is enhanced by the use of two controllers selected automatically according to the operating speed, using a “bumpless” transfer routine. The SOFLC proved difficult to tune. However, stable operation was achieved.
Date of Award16 Sept 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorEdmund Keogh (Supervisor) & Derek Tilley (Supervisor)


  • fluid power
  • H∞control
  • robust control
  • fuzzy logic

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