Continuous phase synchronised drives (for a rod-making machine)
Traditional high speed machinery actuators are powered and coordinated by mechanical linkages driven from a central drive, but these linkages may be replaced by independently synchronised electric drives. Problems associated with utilising such electric drives for this form of machinery were investigated. The research concentrated on a high speed rod-making machine, which required control of high inertias (0.01-0.5kgm2), at continuous high speed (2500 r/min), with low relative phase errors between two drives (0.0025 radians). Traditional minimum energy drive selection techniques for incremental motions were not applicable to continuous applications which require negligible energy dissipation. New selection techniques were developed. A brushless configuration constant enabled the comparison between seven different servo systems; the rate earth brushless drives had the best power rates which is a performance measure. Simulation was used to review control strategies, such that a microprocessor controller with a proportional velocity loop within a proportional position loop with velocity feedforward was designed. Local control schemes were investigated as means of reducing relative errors between drives: the slave of a master/slave scheme compensates for the master's errors: the matched scheme has drives with similar absolute errors so the relative error is minimised, and the feedforward scheme minimises error by adding compensation from previous knowledge. Simulation gave an approximate velocity loop bandwidth and position loop gain required to meet the specification. Theoretical limits for these parameters were defined in terms of digital sampling delays, quantisation, and system phase shifts. Performance degradation due to mechanical backlash was evaluated. Thus any drive could be checked to ensure that the performance specification could be realised. A two drive demonstrator was commissioned with 0.01kgm2 loads. By use of simulation the performance of one drive was improved by increasing the velocity loop bandwidth fourfold. With the master/slave scheme relative errors were within 0.0024 radians at a constant 2500 r/min for two 0.01 kgm^2 loads.