Intelligent controller prevents unwanted vibrations

1 min read

In a manufacturing environment, unwanted vibrations can cause loss of yield on production machines

Problem:, loss of precision on sensitive equipment and wear on expensive machinery. In consumer goods, demand for high performance and quality, coupled with an increasing emphasis on end user experience in terms of 'feel' and sound, have made reducing vibrations a high priority. EU regulations (ISO 5349-1) relating to 'hand-arm' and 'whole body' vibration will set limits on exposure to vibrations in a given time period, resulting in increased costs and reduced efficiency for contractors and employers as they will have to limit the time workers can spend on tasks that expose them to vibrations. Solution: Edinburgh-based company Reactec has developed an adaptive intelligent control unit (ICU) or electronic control interface that plugs into any system and automatically detects multiple resonances, continually adapting to changing conditions such as mass and excitation frequencies. According to Reactec, the controller can be used with either semi-active or active actuators and with a range of input sensors, to meet any specification or budget. At the core of the system is a unique algorithm (sky-hook) for measuring resonance in the system and at what frequencies those resonances occur. This then feeds information to another control algorithm which calculates the optimum damping level or force output more than 4,000 times every second. The company claims that the system "is smaller and consumes less power than any comparable products." Just as important, the controller requires no prior statistical knowledge of the system and can be trained to use any active or semi-active damper. Applications: Applications for the ICU range from suspension for cars and mountain bikes to industrial machinery. The ICU is small, cheap, durable and flexible and so can be used for any application where vibrations are a problem. Using the ICU along with sensors and actuators in a system will allow sensitive key components such as aircraft wing struts to operate free from vibrations, increasing lifespan and improving performance. In situations where hand-arm or whole body vibration is an issue, a system including the ICU will both protect workers and allow them to use tools for longer periods without the associated health risks. In consumer goods, greater comfort, performance and reduced noise can be achieved. DP