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Week 3

Controls and

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Week 3
Control system and component

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Week 3 Contents
Characteristics of Actuating system
Comparison of Actuating system
Hydraulic Devices
Pneumatic Devices

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Actuators are the muscles of robots.

Links and joints are the skeleton of the robot,
actuators acts as muscles, which move or rotate
the links to change the configuration of the
The actuators must have enough power to
accelerate and decelerate the links and to carry
the load, yet be light, economical, accurate,
responsive, reliable and easy to maintain.
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Some types of actuators as follows:
Hydraulic actuators
Pneumatic actuators
Electric motors
Stepper motors
Direct-drive electric motors

Shape memory metal actuators

Magneto-strictive actuators
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Electric motors-specially servomotors are the most
common used robotic actuators.
Hydraulic actuators were very popular for large robots in
the past and are still around in many places, but are not
used new robots as often anymore. Used for high
payload capacity.
Pneumatic actuators are used in robots that have 1or 2
DOF on-off type joints as well as for insertion purposes.
Used for high compliant characteristic and
Direct-drive electric motors, shape memory metal
actuators and others like them are mostly in research and
development stage..
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Characteristics of Actuating System


Power to Operating Stiffness VS

weight Use of
weight ratio Pressure Compliance
Reduction Gear

Characteristics of Actuating systems contd..

1) Weight, power-to-weight ratio, operating pressure

) It is important to consider the weight of the actuating system, as
well as its power-to-weight ratio.
) For examples, power-to-weight ratio of electric system is
) Stepper motors are generally heavier than servomotors for the
same power and thus have lower power-to-weight ratio.
) The higher the voltage of an electric motor, better power-to-
weight ratio it has.
) Pneumatic cylinders deliver the lowest power-to-weight ratio.

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Hydraulic systems have the highest power-to-weight ratio.
The weight is actually composed of two portions
i. Hydraulic actuators
ii. Hydraulic power unit
) The Power unit, which is very heavy, does not move and is not
counted in this ratio.
) The power that the hydraulic systems delivers is also very high
due to high operating pressures.
) This may range from 5 345 bar pressure.( 60 psi to 5002 psi
) Pneumatic cylinders normally operate around 6 -10 bars
( 87 psi-145 bars)
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2) Stiffness vs. Compliance
) Stiffness is the resistance of material against deformation.
) It may be the stiffness of a beam against bending under load, the
resistance of a gas against compression in a cylinder under load.
) The stiffer the system, the larger the load that is needed to
deform it.
) Conversely, the more compliant the system, the easier it deforms
under the load.
) Stiffness is directly related to the modulus of elasticity of the
) The modulus of elasticity of fluids can be around 68,948
bar, which is very high.
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Hydraulic systems are very stiff and non-compliant.
Conversely, pneumatic systems are easily compressed and
thus, are compliant.
Stiff systems have a more rapid response to changing loads
and pressure and are more accurate.
Obviously, if a system is compliant, it can easy deform (or
compress) under changing load or changing driving force and
thus, will be inaccurate.

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3) Use of Reduction Gear
) Hydraulic devices, produce very large forces with short strokes.
) This means that the hydraulic arm may be moved very slightly,
while delivering its full force.
) There is no need to use reduction gear train to increase the torque
it produces and to slow it down to manageable speeds.
) For this reason, hydraulic actuators can be directly attached to the
links thus, simplifies the design, reduces the weight, cost and
rotating inertia of joints, reduces backlash, increases the reliability
of the system, due to simpler design and fewer parts, and also
reduces noise.
) Electric motors rotate at high speeds and must be used in
conjunction with reduction gears to increase their torque and to
decrease their speed
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Now suppose that, through a set of reduction gears with a
reduction ratio of N, a load with inertia Il, is connected to a
motor with inertia Im (including the inertia of the reduction
gears). The torque and speed ratio between the motor and
the load will be:

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If we write the torque balance equation for the system, we get
Tm = Imm+ bmm+ 1/NTl
= Imm+ bmm+ 1/N(Ill + bll )
= Imm+ bmm+ 1/N2(Ilm+ blm )
where bm and bl are viscous coefficient of friction for the
motor and the load.
The effective inertial of the load felt by the motor is conversely
proportional to the square of the reduction gear ratio, or
IEffective = 1/N2Il and
ITotal = 1/N2Il + Im

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Good for lager robots and heavy payload
Highest power/weight ratio
Stiff system, high accuracy, better response
No reduction gear needed
Can work in wide range of speeds without difficulty
Can be left in position without any damage.
May leak. Not fit for clean room application
Requires pump, reservoir, motor, hoses, etc.
Can be expensive and noisy. Requires maintenance
Viscosity of oil changes with temperature
Very susceptible to dirt and other foreign material
Low compliance
High torque, high pressure, large inertia on the actuator

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Many components are usually off the shelf
Reliable components
Not leak or spark
Inexpensive and simple
Low pressure compare to hydraulics
Good for on-off applications and pick and place
Compliant systems
Require air pressure, filter, etc.
Difficult to control their linear position
Deform under load constantly
Very low stiffness, inaccurate response
Lowest power to weight ratio
Noisy systems

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Good for all sizes of robots
Better control, good for high precision robots
Higher compliance than hydraulics
Reduction gears used reduce inertia on the motor
Does not leak, good for clean room
Reliable, low maintenance
Can be spark free. Good for explosive environments
Low stiffness
Needs reduction gears, increased backlash, cost, weight, etc.
Motor needs braking device when not powered. Otherwise,
the arm will fall
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Comparison of Actuating Systems
Good for lager robots and heavy
Highest power/weight ratio
Stiff system, high accuracy, better Good for all sizes of robots
response Better control, good for high
No reduction gear needed Many components are usually off the precision robots
Can work in wide range of speeds shelf Higher compliance than
without difficulty Reliable components hydraulics
Can be left in position without any Not leak or spark Reduction gears used reduce
damage. Inexpensive and simple inertia on the motor
May leak. Not fit for clean room Low pressure compare to hydraulics Does not leak, good for clean
application Good for on-off applications and pick room
Requires pump, reservoir, motor, and place Reliable, low maintenance
hoses, etc. Compliant systems Can be spark free. Good for
Can be expensive and noisy. Requires Require air pressure, filter, etc. explosive environments
maintenance Difficult to control their linear position Low stiffness
Viscosity of oil changes with Deform under load constantly Needs reduction gears, increased
temperature Very low stiffness, inaccurate response backlash, cost, weight, etc.
Very susceptible to dirt and other Lowest power to weight ratio Motor needs braking device
foreign material Noisy systems when not powered. Otherwise,
Low compliance the arm will fall
High torque, high pressure, large
inertia on the actuator

Pneumatic Electric
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Pneumatic Hydraulic

Compressed Air Industrial Oil

Light loads,6-8 bars Heavy loads, unlimited,
no OL
Fast, erratic Slow, stable
Compressor Pump
Compressible Incompressible
Air Receiver/Air Tank
Exhaust to Atmosphere Liquid back to Tank
PU tubes Hi pressure Wire braided
Hydraulic System
Hydraulic System

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Hydraulic System
Hydraulic System
Hydraulic Reservoir
Hydraulic Devices contd..

A hydraulic cylinder can be deliver a force of

F= p x A (N)
where A is the effective are of the piston or ram and p is
the working pressure.
In rotary cylinders, the principle is true, except that the
output is a torque where
dA = t.dr. r2

Oil out

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Hydraulic Devices contd..

T = = = pt =1/2pt(r22 r12 )

where p is the fluid pressure, t is the thickness or width of the rotary cylinder
and r1 and r2 are the inner and outer of the rotary cylinder.
The flow rate and volume of oil needed in a hydraulic system are
d(Vol.) =/4d2. dx,
Q = d(Vol.)/dt = /4d2. dx/dt = /4d2 x,
where dx is the desired displacement and x is the desired velocity of the
A hydraulic system generally consists the following parts:
Hydraulic linear or rotary cylinders and rams. These provide the force or torque
needed to move joints and are controlled by the servo valves or manual valves

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Hydraulic Devices

A hydraulic pump which is a high pressure pump that provides

high-pressure fluid to system.
Electric motor which operates the hydraulic pump.
Cooling system, which rids the system of the heat generated.
Reservoir, which keeps the fluid supply available to the system.
Servo-valve is a very sensitive valve that control the amount and
the rate of the fluid to cylinders. Servo-valve is generally driven by
hydraulic Servomotor.
Safety check valves, holding valve and other safety valves
throughout the system.
Connecting hoses, which are used to transport the pressurized fluid
to the cylinders and back to the reservoir
Sensors, which are used to control the motion to the cylinders. They
include position, velocity, magnetic, touch, and other sensors.
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Hydraulic Devices contd..
Schematics of a hydraulic system and its applications



power unit
sensors controller

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Hydraulic Valves
3/2 way
5/2 way
5/3 way
Flow Control Valves
Flow Control Valves are valves that
control the flow thereby controlling
the speed of the cylinder.
They are just the combination of
needle/throttle valve and the check
Flow Control Valves
Meter in circuit
Meter Out Circuit
Meter Out
Pressure Control Valves
Servo Valves
A servo valve is a direction control
valve, which has an infinitely variable
positioning capability. Thus, it
controls not only the direction of the
fluid flow but also the quantity.
In a servo valve, the output controlled
parameter is measured with a transducer
and fed back to a mixer where the
feedback is compared with the command.
The difference is expressed in the form of
an error signal which is in turn used to
induce a change in the system output, until
Servo Valve
There are two basic types of servo
valves that are widely used. They
1. Mechanical-type servo valve
2. Electro hydraulic servo valve.
Mechanical-type servo valve
Electrohydraulic servo
The main characteristic of an electro-
hydraulic valve is that its hydraulic
output flow amplitude is directly
proportional to the amplitude of its
electrical DC input current. Typical
electro-hydraulic valves use an
electrical torque motor, a double
nozzle pilot stage and a sliding spool
second stage.
The torque motor includes components
such as coils, pole pieces, magnets and an
armature. The armature is supported for
limited movement by a flexure tube. The
flexure tube also provides a fluid seal
between the hydraulic and
electromagnetic portions of the
valve. The flapper attaches to the center of
the armature and extends down, inside
flexure tube.
A nozzle is located at each side of the flapper
such that the flapper motion varies the
nozzle opening.
Pressurized hydraulic fluid is supplied to each
nozzle through an inlet orifice located at the
end of the spool.
A 40-micron screen that is wrapped around
the shank of the spool, filters this pilot stage
The differential pressure between the ends of
the spool is varied by the flapper motion
between the nozzles.
The four-way valve spool directs flow from the
supply to either control port C1 or C2 in
an amount proportional to the spool
The spool contains flow-metering slots in the
control lands that are uncovered by the
spool motion.
Spool movement deflects a feedback wire that
applies a torque to the armature/flapper.
Electric current in the torque motor coil
causes either clockwise or anti-clockwise
torque on the armature.
This torque displaces the flapper between the two nozzles. The
differential nozzle flow moves the spool to either the right or
left. The spool continues to move until the feedback torque
counteracts the electromagnetic torque.

At this point, the armature/flapper is returned to the center, the

spool stops and remains displaced until the electrical input
changes to a new level, thus making the valve spool position
proportional to the electrical signal.

A simple description of the overall operation of an electro-

hydraulic system can be made by referring to the following
block diagram (see Figure )
The electro-hydraulic servo valve operates from an
electrical signal to its torque motor, which positions the
spool of a direction control valve.

The signal to the torque motor comes from an electrical

device such as a potentiometer.

The signal from the potentiometer is electrically amplified to

drive the torque motor of the servo valve.

The hydraulic flow of the servo valve powers an actuator,

which in turn drives the load.
The velocity or position of the load is fed back in the form of
an electrical input to the servo valve via a feedback device
such as tachometer generator or potentiometer. Since the
loop gets closed with this action, it is termed a closed loop

These servo valves are effectively used in a variety of

mobile vehicles and industrial control applications such as
earth moving vehicles, articulated arm devices, cargo
handling cranes, lift trucks, logging equipments, farm
machinery, steel mill controls, etc.

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Block Diagram of Electro hydraulic
Servo System
Pneumatic System
Component parts of
Pneumatic System
Pneumatic Service Units
Pneumatic Devices

Pneumatic systems are very common, and have much in

common with hydraulic systems with a few key differences.
The reservoir is eliminated as there is no need to collect and
store the air between uses in the system.
Also because air is a gas it is compressible and regulators are
not needed to re-circulate flow.
But, the compressibility also means that the systems are not as
stiff or strong.
Pneumatic systems respond very quickly, and are commonly
used for low force applications in many locations on the factory

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Some basic characteristics of pneumatic systems are:
stroke from a few millimeters to meters in length (longer
strokes have more springiness
the actuators will give a bit - they are springy
pressures are typically up to 85psi above normal atmosphere
the weight of cylinders can be quite low
additional equipment is required for a pressurized air supply-
linear and rotary actuators are available.
dampers can be used to cushion impact at ends of cylinder

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A Pneumatic system generally consists the
following parts:
The flow control valve is used to restrict the flow,
typically to slow motions.

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The shuttle valve allows flow in one direction, but blocks it in
the other.

The receiver tank allows pressurized air to be accumulated.

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Pneumatic Devices contd..

Directional control valves ensure the flow of air

between air ports by opening, closing and switching
their internal connections.

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Pneumatic Devices contd..

i. A compressor can compress air to the required

pressures. It can convert the mechanical energy from
motors and engines into the potential energy in
compressed air.

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Pneumatic Devices contd..

Pressure regulating components are formed by

various components, each of which has its own
pneumatic symbol:
i. Filter can remove impurities from compressed air before it
is fed to the pneumatic components.
ii. Pressure regulator to stabilize the pressure and regulate
the operation of pneumatic components
iii. Lubricator To provide lubrication for pneumatic

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Pneumatic Devices contd..

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Pneumatic Devices contd..
i. Pneumatic execution components provide rectilinear or rotary
movement. Examples of pneumatic execution components
include cylinder pistons, pneumatic motors, etc.
ii. Rectilinear motion is produced by cylinder pistons, while
pneumatic motors provide continuous rotations.
iii. There are many kinds of cylinders, such as single acting
cylinders and double acting cylinders.

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Problems on Actuators

Prof. Charlton S. Inao

Pneumatic /Hydraulic Robotic Motion ,
3 P robot manipulator
Four cylinders pick and place robot
Task assignment
Sequence of operations

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Pick and Place Pneumatic
Cyl inder B

Cyl inder

Cyl inder A
Cyl inder
D * Attached to
rack and
pinion (90
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degrees twist
Task Assignment
A + => robot rotates 90 degrees
B + => Cylinder B Forward
C + => Cyl C forward
D - => Cyl D Retract, gripper closed
D+ => gripper open

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Pneumatic Actuated Robot
Design an electro pneumatic diagram and relay
ladder diagram with the following sequence of

A + ,B +,C + , D -,C-, B-, A-, D+

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