Project - Noncontact Processing of Fibers, Beams, Webs and Plates

Noncontact Processing of Fibers, Beams, Webs and Plates

PI(s): 

Ming-Chih Weng
Xiaodong Lu
Robin Ritter

Sponsor: 

National Science Foundation

In some industrial operations, it may be advantageous to handle the material without directly touching it, such as plastic film production, coating, and painting. This project explores the magnetic and electrostatic suspensions of flexible structures such as fibers, beams, webs, and plates. The research involves design of noncontact sensors and actuators, and study of suspension and vibration control.

Motivation

This project arose from a consultation involving a metal broom handle manufacturing plant.  The handle makers calculated that they could save a significant amount of money if they made the process continuous.  Beginning with a flat piece of steel which is rolled and seam welded into a tube,  the soon-to-be broom handle is moved through the painting, heating and curing stations at about 1 meter per second.  While this happens, the tube cannot be touched by rollers without marring the surface finish, so it is magnetically levitated with ten magnetic suspension stations for the 35 meters it takes for the paint to be applied and to harden.

Abstract

Our current project is a slight tangent from the original, with a more broad focus not only on beams but fibers, plates and webs as well.  The problem is now three-fold: design and construction of a new position sensor; design and construction of a new actuator, and implementation of a control scheme for the system.  To test the system we built an eight station, 1/10 scale model using the designed sensors and actuators to control the position of the tube.

Click here for more information on the following topics:

Actuator design

Sensor design

Suspension experiments of 2ft beam

Suspension experiments of 10ft beam

Controller design

Sensor/actuator positioning: averaging method

Publications

D. L. Trumper, M. C. Weng, and R. J. Ritter, "Noncontact Processing of Fibers, Beams, Webs, and Plates," NSF Grantee's Conference, January 1999.

D. L. Trumper, M. C. Weng, and R. J. Ritter, "Magnetic Suspension and Vibration Control of Beams for Non-contact Processing," Proceedings of the 1999 IEEE Conference on Control Applications, pp.551-557, August 22-27, 1999.

M. C. Weng and D. L. Trumper, "A Design Method for Magnetic Suspension and Vibration Control of Levitated Beams for Noncontact Processing," Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Magnetic Suspension Technology, December 1-3, 1999.

M. C. Weng, X. Lu and D. L. Trumper, "Magnetic Suspension of Flexible Structures for Non-Contact Processing," 7th International Symposium on Magnetic Bearings, Zürich, Switzerland, Aug., 2000.

M. C. Weng, X. Lu and D. L. Trumper, "Vibration Control of Flexible Structures Using Sensor Averaging and Acutator Averaging Methods," IEEE Transaction on Control System Technology, to be accepted.

X. Lu, M. C. Weng and D. L. Trumper, "Robust Moment Control of Flexible Structures Using Sensor Averaging and Acutator Averaging," IEEE Transaction on Control System Technology, to be accepted.