Research Theme

(A) Motion Control of Pneumatic Muscle Actuator System

Pneumatic muscle actuator (PMA) becomes famous and widely used in industrial automation, process and medical applications (such as an exoskeleton for rehabilitation), due to its power-to-weight ratio. Unfortunately, the major challenge of controlling PMA precisely is due to the problem of high nonlinear and its time varying characteristics.

In this laboratory, the motion control of pneumatic muscle actuated system is investigated. Few structure of PMA systems are designed and developed.

(B) Positioning Control of an X-Y Table

Decade by decade, the industry still has favored classical controllers such as PID and/or lead-lag elements, due to their structure simplicity, high adaptability, easy understanding and design. There features are significant in selecting controller design procedure for industrial application. However, the classical controllers have met limitation when higher positioning and robust performances are required.

This research proposed nominal characteristic trajectory following (NCTF) controller as a practical control which emphasizes a simple and straightforward design procedure in order to achieve the promising results in positioning and continuous motion control as the end objectives.

(C) Design and Implementation of a Laboratory-scale Single Axis Solar Tracking System

The renewable solar energy can be produced by using the photovoltaic (PV) panel which converts the solar energy to the electrical energy. The solar tracking system can enhance the amount of solar energy harvest throughout the day as compared to the fixed solar panel.

In this project, a laboratory-scale single axis solar tracking system is designed and constructed. This laboratory-scale solar tracking system is important as a tool in the classroom and/or laboratory for students and/or researchers to have a better understanding of the working mechanism of a solar tracking system. Besides, the mechanism is portable and convenient to be moved to the desired location in order to achieve the optimum energy.

(D) Tracking Control of Direct Drive System

In manufacturing industries, high precision positioning performance is one of the key features that investors are looking for. Unlike the conventional geared motors used in most machining tools, direct drive motors do not come with gears; the load is directly connected to the rotor.  Through eliminating the use of gears, direct drive motors got rid of problems such as backlash and non-linear frictions and thus capable in achieving higher precision positioning performance compared to conventional geared motors. Voice coil motor and linear motors are some of the examples of direct drive motors. However, since the load is directly coupled with the rotor, the rotor inertia might be reduced and therefore affect the positioning performance of the system.

In this research, the dynamic characteristic of direct drive system is investigated. Besides, a practical control is proposed to achieve high positioning performance of the system.

(E) Positioning Control of a 1-DOF Magnetic Levitation System

In recent year, Magnetic Levitation (MagLev) system has become famous and widely used in the high speed applications such as MagLev train, magnetic bearing, energy storage flywheel and vibration isolation of sensitive machinery. The MagLev system is contactless and frictionless, thus capable of reducing the noise and significant components wear and tear. However, it is a very challenging task to control the MagLev system due to its highly nonlinear characteristics and instability.

Classical controller such as PID controller are widely used in the industrial applications due to its simplicity and easy to design. However, the PID controller has a limited performance in positioning control of the MagLev system. In this research, a high-speed tracking controller is proposed to enhance the positioning performance of the MagLev system.

(F) Force Characterization of a Rotary Motion Electrostatic Actuator with FEM Analysis

Development of Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) is increasing rapidly throughout these years. MEMS consists of 3 main components which are microstructure, microsensor, and microactuator. Microactuator is the only one of the subset of the MEMS that converts energy to create motion such as rotary or linear motion. The microactuator can be applied in many fields such as the robotics, electronics, medicine, medical, biotechnology, communications and inertial sensing. There are few types of microactuators which are electrostatic, thermal, piezoelectric and shape memory. Compared to all the types of microactuators as shown above, electrostatic microactuator created the lowest force. Therefore, this research will focus on the rotary electrostatic microactuator designs with FEM analysis to verify the best design.

(G) Force Characterization of a Rotary Motion Electromagnetic Actuator With FEM Analysis

The motivation of this project is to design, analyse and compare the force characterization of a 3-Phase Rotary Electromagnetic Actuator Drive for a fine motion stage. The project is undertaken in order to envisage a practical and simple electromagnetic actuator that produces high precision motion and sufficient force for a micromachining fine motion stage. Actuator is a systems that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. With advance technologies, an efficient and reliable actuator can be built for various microsystems.

The rotary motion of electromagnetic actuators is designed and analyzed using Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis. This project discussed the comparisons and detailed thrust force analysis of the simulations and fabricated actuators.

(H) Investigation of the Motion and Force Characteristic of a 3-Phase Driven Linear Electromagnetic Microactuator

Nowadays, the growth of interest in Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) is increasing rapidly. MEMS consists of micromechanisms such as microstructures, actuators and microsensors. Actuator is a subset of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that convert electrical energy to mechanical energy. With advance technologies in microfabrication for MEMS, an efficient and reliable actuator can be built for various microsystems.

The motivation of this project is to design, analyse and compare the force characterization of a 3-Phase Linear Electromagnetic Actuator Drive for a fine motion stage. The project is undertaken in order to envisage a practical and simple electromagnetic actuator that produces high precision motion and sufficient force for a micromachining fine motion stage. Two types of linear motion electromagnetic actuators are proposed, designed and analyzed using Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis. This project discussed the comparisons and detailed thrust force analysis of the two actuators. Both designs have similar specifications; i.e the number of rotor’s teeth to stator’s teeth ratio, radius and thickness of rotor, and gap between stator and rotor. Two structures will be proposed, designed and evaluated; (a) Side-Driven Actuator and (b) Bottom-Driven Actuator. This project focuses on comparing & analyzing the generated thrust force for both designs when the actuator’s parameters are varied.

(I) Positioning Control of a Robotic Hand with Non-linear Controller

The motivation of this project is to design a non-linear controller for a robotic hand, which includes analyzing the motion & force characterization of the robotic hand. Hazardous environments such as in industry sector with high chemical usage give high risks to the safety of workers. These risks can be reduced by designing a robotics hand that is able to replace the human works. For industry purpose, the robotics hand needs to have a higher performance in accuracy, stability and consistency. However, the current robotics hand in industry is not flexible which mean that it cannot be used for different tasks. Therefore, a multi-purpose robotics hand is developed.