Experimental Control of a Two-Dof Flexible Robot Manipulator by Optimal and Sliding Methods

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This paper presents an experimental study of a robust control scheme for flexible-link robotic manipulators. The design is based on a simple strategy for trajectory tracking which exploits the two-time scale nature of the flexible part and the rigid part of the dynamic equations of this kind of robotic arms: A slow subsystem associated with the rigid motion dynamics and a fast subsystem associated with the flexible link dynamics. Two experimental approaches are considered. In a first test an LQR optimal design strategy is used, while a second design is based on a sliding-mode scheme. Experimental results on a laboratory two-dof flexible manipulator show that this composite approach achieves good closed-loop tracking properties for both design philosophies, which compare favorably with conventional rigid robot control schemes.

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