Improved Tracking And Switching Performance Of An Electro-Pneumatic Positioning System

For robotic systems that use on/off (solenoid) pneumatic actuators, a sliding mode control law for precise position control and low switching (open-close) activity of the valves is presented in this paper. Given a pneumatic actuator with two chambers and four solenoid valves, there are sixteen possible input combinations defined directly from the state of the four on/off valves present in the system; however, only seven of these discrete operating modes are considered both functional and unique. Therefore, we introduce a novel seven-mode sliding controller that minimizes the position tracking error using modes that have both the necessary and sufficient amounts of drive energy and, thus, involve reduced switching activity. An analysis of the closed-loop system stability is carried out. The performance of the proposed control design is experimentally verified on a single pneumatic actuator setup comprising of two chambers with four on/off valves.