Highly redundant and fault tolerant actuator system: control, condition monitoring and experimental validation
2018-05-01T15:19:25Z (GMT) by
This thesis is concerned with developing a control and condition monitoring system for a class of fault tolerant actuators with high levels of redundancy. The High Redundancy Actuator (HRA) is a concept inspired by biomimetics that aims to provide fault tolerance using relatively large numbers of actuation elements which are assembled in parallel and series configurations to form a single actuator. Each actuation element provides a small contribution to the overall force and displacement of the system. Since the capability of each actuation element is small, the effect of faults within the individual element of the overall system is also small. Hence, the HRA will gracefully degrade instead of going from fully functional to total failure in the presence of faults. Previous research on HRA using electromechanical technology has focused on a relatively low number of actuation elements (i.e. 4 elements), which were controlled with multiple loop control methods. The objective of this thesis is to expand upon this, by considering an HRA with a larger number of actuation elements (i.e. 12 elements). First, a mathematical model of a general n-by-m HRA is derived from first principles. This method can be used to represent any size of electromechanical HRA with actuation elements arranged in a matrix form. Then, a mathematical model of a 4-by-3 HRA is obtained from the general n-by-m model and verified experimentally using the HRA test rig. This actuator model is then used as a foundation for the controller design and condition monitoring development. For control design, two classical and control method-based controllers are compared with an H_infinity approach. The objective for the control design is to make the HRA track a position demand signal in both health and faulty conditions. For the classical PI controller design, the first approach uses twelve local controllers (1 per actuator) and the second uses only a single global controller. For the H_infinity control design, a mixed sensitivity functions is used to obtain good tracking performance and robustness to modelling uncertainties. Both of these methods demonstrate good tracking performance, with a slower response in the presence of faults. As expected, the H_infinity control method's robustness to modelling uncertainties, results in a smaller performance degradation in the presence of faults, compared with the classical designs. Unlike previous work, the thesis also makes a novel contribution to the condition monitoring of HRA. The proposed algorithm does not require the use of multiple sensors. The condition monitoring scheme is based on least-squares parameter estimation and fuzzy logic inference. The least-squares parameter estimation estimates the physical parameters of the electromechanical actuator based on input-output data collected from real-time experiments, while the fuzzy logic inference determines the health condition of the actuator based on the estimated physical parameters. Hence, overall, a new approach to both control and monitoring of an HRA is proposed and demonstrated on a twelve elements HRA test rig.