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Development of a Motion Control Laboratory Focusing on Control Design and Fluid Power Education

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Instrumentation Division Technical Session 1

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Paper Authors


Luis Alberto Rodriguez Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Dr. Luis A. Rodriguez is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He completed his doctoral training at the University of California-Irvine where he was a National Science Foundation Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was a GEM fellow and Graduate Engineering Research Scholar. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from University of California San Diego. His interests include robot control, design of mechatronics systems, fluid power education, motion planning and optimal control.

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Daniel Williams Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Twenty-one years of industrial experience in mechanical engineering including eighteen years at the John Deere Construction & Forestry Division, doing dynamic system simulation covering fluid power, automatic controls, drive trains and machine dynamics. Eleven years teaching mechanical engineering including six at Milwaukee School of Engineering teaching automatic controls, fluid power and system dynamics. Primary interest: Simulation analysis of fluid power and mechanical systems.

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Michael D. Cook Milwaukee School of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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Michael D. Cook is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, USA. His interests are in control system design and optimization of mixed-physics dynamic systems, with current research in power flow control with emphasis on the optimization and decentralized control of microgrids.

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This paper presents the development of a Motion Control Laboratory in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). The main objectives of the lab are to 1) Prepare students to work in real-world motion control applications by providing students with hands-on experiences to better understand control system design ideas and concepts, 2) Expose students to electromechanical and fluid power hardware, and 3) Educate students about the benefits and capabilities of fluid power and electromechanical actuation. Students analyze systems in both open-loop and closed-loop operation, implement simulations validated by experimentation, and perform control system design. Hands-on laboratory experiences are used to reinforce control system concepts, introduce students to fluid power and electromechanical hardware, and provide experience with real-time control and industrial strength hardware. The lab experiences begin with a structured inquiry format investigation into numerous control strategies and culminate with an open-ended design lab experience where the students design a closed-loop controller of their choice to meet a set of desired design specifications. This allows students to connect how abstract concepts lead to the realizable control of hardware. Outcomes of a student exit survey are used to provide recommendations for future improvement in class offerings.

Rodriguez, L. A., & Williams, D., & Cook, M. D. (2019, June), Development of a Motion Control Laboratory Focusing on Control Design and Fluid Power Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32648

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