Accurate position control of a pneumatic actuator

Jiing Yih Lai, Chia Hsiang Menq, Rajendra Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


We propose a new control strategy for on-off valve controlled pneumatic actuators and robots with focus on the position accuracy. A mathematical model incorporating pneumatic process nonlinearities and nonlinear mechanical friction has been developed to characterize the actuator dynamics; this model with a few simplifications is then used to design the controller. In our control scheme, one valve is held open and the other is operated under the pulse width modulation mode to simulate the proportional control. An inner loop utilizing proportional-plus-integral control is formed to control the actuator pressure, and an outer loop with displacement and velocity feedbacks is used to control the load displacement. Also, a two staged feedforward force is implemented to reduce the steady state error due to the nonlinear mechanical friction. Experimental results on a single-degree-of-freedom pneumatic robot indicate that the proposed control system is better than the conventional onoff control strategy as it is effective in achieving the desired position accuracy without using any mechanical stops in the actuator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-739
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990


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