Open AccessArticle
Environmental Effects on the Polypyrrole Tri-layer Actuator
Actuators 2017, 6(2), 17; doi:10.3390/act6020017 -
Abstract
Electroactive polymer actuators such as polypyrrole (PPy) are exciting candidates to drive autonomous devices that require low weight and low power. A simple PPy tri-layer bending type cantilever which operates in the air has been demonstrated previously, but the environmental effect on this
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Electroactive polymer actuators such as polypyrrole (PPy) are exciting candidates to drive autonomous devices that require low weight and low power. A simple PPy tri-layer bending type cantilever which operates in the air has been demonstrated previously, but the environmental effect on this actuator is still unknown. The major obstacle in the development of the PPy tri-layer actuator is to create proper packaging that reduces oxidation of the electrolyte and maintains constant displacement. Here, we report the variation in the displacement as well as the charge transfer at the different environmental condition. PPy trilayer actuators were fabricated by depositing polypyrrole on gold-coated porous poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) using the electro-synthesis method. It has been demonstrated that the charge transfer of tri-layer actuators is more in an inert environment than in open air. In addition, tri-layer actuators show constant deflection and enhancement of life due to the negligible oxidation rate of the electrolyte in an inert environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Evaluation of a Semi-Active Magneto-rheological Mount for a Wheel Loader Cabin
Actuators 2017, 6(2), 16; doi:10.3390/act6020016 -
Abstract
In this study, a semi-active magneto-rheological (MR) mount is designed and manufactured to minimize unwanted vibrations for the cabin of heavy vehicles. Normally, working conditions in heavy vehicles are extremely rugged. Usually, the heavy vehicles use passive rubber mounts for the reduction of
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In this study, a semi-active magneto-rheological (MR) mount is designed and manufactured to minimize unwanted vibrations for the cabin of heavy vehicles. Normally, working conditions in heavy vehicles are extremely rugged. Usually, the heavy vehicles use passive rubber mounts for the reduction of vibrations from road. However, the passive mount has definite performance limitations because the passive mount has a fixed resonance frequency when the design is finished. An MR application is one of the solutions because the viscosity of MR fluid can be controlled. As a first step, an experimental apparatus was established for performance evaluation of the mounts. The apparatus has hydraulic excitatory, force, and displacement sensors. Performance of two different passive mounts used in industrial fields were evaluated. The passive mount data of force-displacement, force-velocity, and displacement transmissibility were collected and tested. After that, an MR mount was designed and manufactured that provides better performance using the passive mount data. The MR mount uses two different flow paths, annular duct and radial channels, for generating the required damping force. The field-dependent damping forces were then evaluated with respect to the moving stroke and input current. In this work, in order to control the damping force, an on-off controller associated with the fast Fourier transform (FFT) was used. The control results of the MR mount were compared with the results of passive rubber mounts. It was shown that the semi-active MR mount can attenuate vibrations more effectively at all frequency ranges compared with the passive rubber mount. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Power Split Based Dual Hemispherical Continuously Variable Transmission
Actuators 2017, 6(2), 15; doi:10.3390/act6020015 -
Abstract
In this work, we present a new continuously variable transmission concept: the Dual-Hemi Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). It is designed to have properties we believe are required to apply continuously variable transmissions in robotics to their full potential. These properties are a transformation
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In this work, we present a new continuously variable transmission concept: the Dual-Hemi Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). It is designed to have properties we believe are required to apply continuously variable transmissions in robotics to their full potential. These properties are a transformation range that includes both positive and negative ratios, back-drivability under all conditions, kinematically decoupled reconfiguration, high efficiency of the transmission, and a reconfiguration mechanism requiring little work for changing the transmission ratio. The design of the Dual-Hemi CVT and a prototype realisation are discussed in detail. We show that the Dual-Hemi CVT has the aforementioned desired properties. Experiments show that the efficiency of the CVT is above 90% for a large part of the range of operation of the CVT. Significant stiction in the transmission, combined with a relatively low bandwidth for changing the transmission ratio, may cause problems when applying the DH-CVT as part of an actuator in a control loop. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Development of a Compact Axial Active Magnetic Bearing with a Function of Two-Tilt-Motion Control
Actuators 2017, 6(2), 14; doi:10.3390/act6020014 -
Abstract
A compact axial active magnetic bearing with a function of two-tilt-motion control is fabricated which has a new configuration of magnetic poles. They consist of four cylindrical poles with coils and a single common pole whose opposite plane of the rotor has a
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A compact axial active magnetic bearing with a function of two-tilt-motion control is fabricated which has a new configuration of magnetic poles. They consist of four cylindrical poles with coils and a single common pole whose opposite plane of the rotor has a permanent magnet to achieve multi-degree-of-freedom zero power control. Modal control is applied because local zero power control may make the whole system unstable when the number of control channels is larger than the number of freedoms of motion to be controlled. In the developed system, a disk-shape rotor is sandwiched between two axial magnetic bearing stators that are operated differentially. Such a configuration makes it possible to rotate the rotor without disturbing the axial motion. The characteristics of the fabricated magnetic bearing system including rotation are studied experimentally. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A System Identification Technique Using Bias Current Perturbation for the Determination of the Magnetic Axes of an Active Magnetic Bearing
Actuators 2017, 6(2), 13; doi:10.3390/act6020013 -
Abstract
Inherent in every Active Magnetic Bearing (AMB) are differences between the expected geometric axes and the actual magnetic axes due to a combination of discrepancies, including physical variation from manufacturing tolerances and misalignment from mechanical assembly, fringing and leakage effects, as well as
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Inherent in every Active Magnetic Bearing (AMB) are differences between the expected geometric axes and the actual magnetic axes due to a combination of discrepancies, including physical variation from manufacturing tolerances and misalignment from mechanical assembly, fringing and leakage effects, as well as variations in magnetic material properties within a single AMB. A method is presented here for locating the magnetic axes of an AMB that will facilitate the accurate characterization of the bearing air gaps for potential improvement in field tuning, performance analyses and certain shaft force measurement techniques. This paper presents an extension of the application of the bias current perturbation method for the determination of the magnetic center to the determination of magnetic axes for the further development of accurate current-based force measurement techniques. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Modeling and Realization of a Bearingless Flux-Switching Slice Motor
Actuators 2017, 6(2), 12; doi:10.3390/act6020012 -
Abstract
This work introduces a novel bearingless slice motor design: the bearingless flux-switching slice motor. In contrast to state-of-the-art bearingless slice motors, the rotor in this new design does not include any permanent rotor magnets. This offers advantages for disposable devices, such as those
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This work introduces a novel bearingless slice motor design: the bearingless flux-switching slice motor. In contrast to state-of-the-art bearingless slice motors, the rotor in this new design does not include any permanent rotor magnets. This offers advantages for disposable devices, such as those used in the medical industry, and extends the range of bearingless slice motors toward high-temperature applications. In this study, our focus is on the analytical modeling of the suspension force torque generation of a single coil and the bearingless motor. We assessed motor performance in relation to motor topology by applying performance factors. A prototype motor was optimized, designed, and manufactured. We also presented the state-of-the-art nonlinear feedback control scheme used. The motor was operated, and both static and dynamic measurements were taken on a test bench, thus successfully demonstrating the functionality and applicability of the novel bearingless slice motor concept. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Proposal of Magnetic Suspension using Laterally Control Flux-Path Mechanism
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/act6010011 -
Abstract
A novel flux control magnetic suspension system that places control plates beside the magnetic source (permanent magnet) is proposed. In a conventional flux-path control magnetic suspension system, the control plates were inserted between the magnetic source and the suspended object (floator). In contrast,
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A novel flux control magnetic suspension system that places control plates beside the magnetic source (permanent magnet) is proposed. In a conventional flux-path control magnetic suspension system, the control plates were inserted between the magnetic source and the suspended object (floator). In contrast, the control plates were placed beside the magnetic source in the proposed system. In such a configuration, the effective gap becomes larger than in the conventional system. Basic characteristics of the proposed magnetic suspension system were studied both numerically and experimentally. The numerical analyses show that the attractive force acting on the floator increases as the position of the lateral ring-shape control plate increases. The variation of the attractive force is sufficient for the stabilization of the suspension system. It is also shown that lateral force can be generated by dividing the plates into halves and moving them differentially. The predicted characteristics are confirmed experimentally in a fabricated apparatus with a three-axis force sensor and a gap adjustment mechanism. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Design, Implementation and Evaluation of a Pump-Controlled Circuit for Single Rod Actuators
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/act6010010 -
Abstract
Pump-controlled hydraulic circuits are more efficient than valve-controlled circuits, as they eliminate the energy losses due to flow throttling in valves and require less cooling effort. Presently existing pump-controlled solutions for single rod cylinders encounter an undesirable performance during certain operating conditions. This
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Pump-controlled hydraulic circuits are more efficient than valve-controlled circuits, as they eliminate the energy losses due to flow throttling in valves and require less cooling effort. Presently existing pump-controlled solutions for single rod cylinders encounter an undesirable performance during certain operating conditions. This paper investigates the performance issues in common pump-controlled circuits for the single rod actuators. Detailed analysis is conducted that identifies these regions in a load-velocity plane and the factors affecting them. The findings are validated by experimental results. A new design is then proposed that employs a limited throttling valve alongside two pilot operated check valves for differential flow compensation to improve the performance. The valve is of the flow control type and is chosen to have a throttling effect over critical regions; it has the least throttling over other operating regions, thus maintaining efficiency. Experimental work demonstrates improved performance in a full operating range of the actuator as compared to a circuit that uses only the pilot-operated check valves. This circuit is energy efficient and capable of recuperating energy. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Transpermeance Amplifier Applied to Magnetic Bearings
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/act6010009 -
Abstract
The most conventional approach of controlling magnetic forces in active magnetic bearings (AMBs) is through current feedback amplifiers: transconductance. This enables the operation of the AMB to be understood in terms of a relatively simple current-based model as has been widely reported on
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The most conventional approach of controlling magnetic forces in active magnetic bearings (AMBs) is through current feedback amplifiers: transconductance. This enables the operation of the AMB to be understood in terms of a relatively simple current-based model as has been widely reported on in the literature. The alternative notion of using transpermeance amplifiers, which approximate the feedback of gap flux rather than current, has been in commercial use in some form for at least thirty years, however is only recently seeing more widespread acceptance as a commercial standard. This study explores how such alternative amplifiers should be modeled and then examines the differences in behavior between AMBs equipped with transconductance and transpermeance amplifiers. The focus of this study is on two aspects. The first is the influence of rotor displacement on AMB force, commonly modeled as a constant negative equivalent mechanical stiffness, and it is shown that either scheme actually leads to a finite bandwidth effect, but that this bandwidth is much lower when transpermeance is employed. The second aspect is the influence of eddy currents. Using a very simple model of eddy currents (a secondary short-circuited coil), it is demonstrated that transpermeance amplifiers can recover significant actuator bandwidth compared with transconductance, but at the cost of needing increased peak current headroom. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Piezoelectric Inertia Motors—A Critical Review of History, Concepts, Design, Applications, and Perspectives
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/act6010007 -
Abstract
Piezoelectric inertia motors—also known as stick-slip motors or (smooth) impact drives—use the inertia of a body to drive it in small steps by means of an uninterrupted friction contact. In addition to the typical advantages of piezoelectric motors, they are especially suited for
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Piezoelectric inertia motors—also known as stick-slip motors or (smooth) impact drives—use the inertia of a body to drive it in small steps by means of an uninterrupted friction contact. In addition to the typical advantages of piezoelectric motors, they are especially suited for miniaturisation due to their simple structure and inherent fine-positioning capability. Originally developed for positioning in microscopy in the 1980s, they have nowadays also found application in mass-produced consumer goods. Recent research results are likely to enable more applications of piezoelectric inertia motors in the future. This contribution gives a critical overview of their historical development, functional principles, and related terminology. The most relevant aspects regarding their design—i.e., friction contact, solid state actuator, and electrical excitation—are discussed, including aspects of control and simulation. The article closes with an outlook on possible future developments and research perspectives. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Applying Standard Industrial Components for Active Magnetic Bearings
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/act6010008 -
Abstract
With the increasing number of active magnetic bearing applications, satisfying additional requirements is becoming increasingly more important. As for every technology, moving away from being a niche product and achieving a higher level of maturity, these requirements relate to robustness, reliability, availability, safety,
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With the increasing number of active magnetic bearing applications, satisfying additional requirements is becoming increasingly more important. As for every technology, moving away from being a niche product and achieving a higher level of maturity, these requirements relate to robustness, reliability, availability, safety, security, traceability, certification, handling, flexibility, reporting, costs, and delivery times. Employing standard industrial components, such as those from flexible modular motion control drive systems, is an approach that allows these requirements to be satisfied while achieving rapid technological innovation. In this article, we discuss technical and non-technical aspects of using standard industrial components in magnetic bearing applications. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Miniature Pneumatic Bending Rubber Actuator Controlled by Using the PSO-SVR-Based Motion Estimation Method with the Generalized Gaussian Kernel
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/act6010006 -
Abstract
Soft actuators have been employed in various fields recently. A miniature pneumatic bending rubber actuator is one of the soft actuators. This actuator will be used for medical and biological fields. Its flexibility and high safety are suitable for fragile objects. However, its
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Soft actuators have been employed in various fields recently. A miniature pneumatic bending rubber actuator is one of the soft actuators. This actuator will be used for medical and biological fields. Its flexibility and high safety are suitable for fragile objects. However, its modeling is difficult due to its nonlinearity. There are no suitable sensors to measure the output of this actuator. In this paper, the particle swarm optimization-support vector regression (PSO-SVR)-based estimation method with the generalized Gaussian kernel is proposed. An experimental result with the operator-based robust nonlinear control system is employed to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Re-Engineering a High Performance Electrical Series Elastic Actuator for Low-Cost Industrial Applications
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/act6010005 -
Abstract
Cost is an important consideration when transferring a technology from research to industrial and educational use. In this paper, we introduce the design of an industrial grade series elastic actuator (SEA) performed via re-engineering a research grade version of it. Cost-constrained design requires
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Cost is an important consideration when transferring a technology from research to industrial and educational use. In this paper, we introduce the design of an industrial grade series elastic actuator (SEA) performed via re-engineering a research grade version of it. Cost-constrained design requires careful consideration of the key performance parameters for an optimal performance-to-cost component selection. To optimize the performance of the new design, we started by matching the capabilities of a high-performance SEA while cutting down its production cost significantly. Our posit was that performing a re-engineering design process on an existing high-end device will significantly reduce the cost without compromising the performance drastically. As a case study of design for manufacturability, we selected the University of Texas Series Elastic Actuator (UT-SEA), a high-performance SEA, for its high power density, compact design, high efficiency and high speed properties. We partnered with an industrial corporation in China to research the best pricing options and to exploit the retail and production facilities provided by the Shenzhen region. We succeeded in producing a low-cost industrial grade actuator at one-third of the cost of the original device by re-engineering the UT-SEA with commercial off-the-shelf components and reducing the number of custom-made parts. Subsequently, we conducted performance tests to demonstrate that the re-engineered product achieves the same high-performance specifications found in the original device. With this paper, we aim to raise awareness in the robotics community on the possibility of low-cost realization of low-volume, high performance, industrial grade research and education hardware. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fractional Order PID Control of Rotor Suspension by Active Magnetic Bearings
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/act6010004 -
Abstract
One of the key issues in control design for Active Magnetic Bearing (AMB) systems is the tradeoff between the simplicity of the controller structure and the performance of the closed-loop system. To achieve this tradeoff, this paper proposes the design of a fractional
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One of the key issues in control design for Active Magnetic Bearing (AMB) systems is the tradeoff between the simplicity of the controller structure and the performance of the closed-loop system. To achieve this tradeoff, this paper proposes the design of a fractional order Proportional-Integral-Derivative (FOPID) controller. The FOPID controller consists of only two additional parameters in comparison with a conventional PID controller. The feasibility of FOPID for AMB systems is investigated for rotor suspension in both the radial and axial directions. Tuning methods are developed based on the evolutionary algorithms for searching the optimal values of the controller parameters. The resulting FOPID controllers are then tested and compared with a conventional PID controller, as well as with some advanced controllers such as Linear Quadratic Gausian (LQG) and H controllers. The comparison is made in terms of various stability and robustness specifications, as well as the dimensions of the controllers as implemented. Lastly, to validate the proposed method, experimental testing is carried out on a single-stage centrifugal compressor test rig equipped with magnetic bearings. The results show that, with a proper selection of gains and fractional orders, the performance of the resulting FOPID is similar to those of the advanced controllers. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Actuators in 2016
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/act6010003 -
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Generalized Unbiased Control Strategy for Radial Magnetic Bearings
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/act6010001 -
Abstract
The present work extends a method of unbiased control originally developed for three-pole radial magnetic bearings into a generalized unbiased control strategy that encompasses bearings with an arbitrary number of poles. By allowing the control of bearings with more than three poles, the
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The present work extends a method of unbiased control originally developed for three-pole radial magnetic bearings into a generalized unbiased control strategy that encompasses bearings with an arbitrary number of poles. By allowing the control of bearings with more than three poles, the applicability of the approach is broadened to the case of large rotors. Other ramifications of this generalized unbiased control strategy are fault tolerant unbiased bearings, control of bearings with more than three poles using 3-phase drives, and a novel approach to the unbiased control of eight-pole magnetic bearings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Active Magnetic Bearing Online Levitation Recovery through μ-Synthesis Robust Control
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/act6010002 -
Abstract
A rotor supported on active magnetic bearings (AMBs) is levitated inside an air gap by electromagnets controlled in feedback. In the event of momentary loss of levitation due to an acute exogenous disturbance or external fault, reestablishing levitation may be prevented by unbalanced
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A rotor supported on active magnetic bearings (AMBs) is levitated inside an air gap by electromagnets controlled in feedback. In the event of momentary loss of levitation due to an acute exogenous disturbance or external fault, reestablishing levitation may be prevented by unbalanced forces, contact forces, and the rotor’s dynamics. A novel robust control strategy is proposed for ensuring levitation recovery. The proposed strategy utilizes model-based μ-synthesis to find the requisite AMB control law with unique provisions to account for the contact forces and to prevent control effort saturation at the large deflections that occur during levitation failure. The proposed strategy is demonstrated experimentally with an AMB test rig. First, rotor drop tests are performed to tune a simple touchdown-bearing model. That model is then used to identify a performance weight, which bounds the contact forces during controller synthesis. Then, levitation recovery trials are conducted at 1000 and 2000 RPM, in which current to the AMB coils is momentarily stopped, representing an external fault. The motor is allowed to drive the rotor on the touchdown bearings until coil current is restored. For both cases, the proposed control strategy shows a marked improvement in relevitation transients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MR Damper Controlled Vibration Absorber for Enhanced Mitigation of Harmonic Vibrations
Actuators 2016, 5(4), 27; doi:10.3390/act5040027 -
Abstract
This paper describes a semi-active vibration absorber (SVA) concept based on a real-time controlled magnetorheological damper (MR-SVA) for the enhanced mitigation of structural vibrations due to harmonic disturbing forces. The force of the MR damper is controlled in real-time to generate the frequency
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This paper describes a semi-active vibration absorber (SVA) concept based on a real-time controlled magnetorheological damper (MR-SVA) for the enhanced mitigation of structural vibrations due to harmonic disturbing forces. The force of the MR damper is controlled in real-time to generate the frequency and damping controls according to the behaviour of the undamped vibration absorber for the actual frequency of vibration. As stiffness and damping emulations in semi-active actuators are coupled quantities the control is formulated to prioritize the frequency control by the controlled stiffness. The control algorithm is augmented by a stiffness correction method ensuring precise frequency control when the desired control force is constrained by the semi-active restriction and residual force of the MR damper. The force tracking task is solved by a model-based feed forward with feedback correction. The MR-SVA is numerically and experimentally validated for the primary structure with nominal eigenfrequency and when de-tuning of −10%, −5%, +5% and +10% is present. Both validations demonstrate that the MR-SVA improves the vibration reduction in the primary structure by up to 55% compared to the passive tuned mass damper (TMD). Furthermore, it is shown that the MR-SVA with only 80% of tuned mass leads to approximately the same enhanced performance while the associated increased relative motion amplitude of the tuned mass is more than compensated be the reduced dimensions of the mass. Therefore, the MR-SVA is an appropriate solution for the mitigation of tall buildings where the pendulum mass can be up to several thousands of metric tonnes and space for the pendulum damper is limited. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Homopolar Permanent-Magnet-Biased Actuators and Their Application in Rotational Active Magnetic Bearing Systems
Actuators 2016, 5(4), 26; doi:10.3390/act5040026 -
Abstract
Active Magnetic Bearings (AMBs) are already widely used in rotating machinery and continue to gain popularity due to the ever-present push to higher rotational speeds and decreasing prices of associated electronic components. They offer several advantages over conventional mechanical bearings including non-contact rotor
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Active Magnetic Bearings (AMBs) are already widely used in rotating machinery and continue to gain popularity due to the ever-present push to higher rotational speeds and decreasing prices of associated electronic components. They offer several advantages over conventional mechanical bearings including non-contact rotor support (thus eliminating mechanical wear and the need for lubricants), ability to tune bearing parameters through software for optimum machine performance, remote monitoring and health diagnostic, etc. In some applications, such as in a vacuum or in aggressive environments, they are often the only viable solution. An electromagnetic actuator, along with a position sensor and control electronics, is a key component of AMBs. While there is a variety of actuator designs described in the literature, most of the AMBs built commercially use heteropolar radial electrical actuators in combination with a dedicated electrically-biased axial actuators. On the contrary, since its inception in 1998, Calnetix Technologies mainly uses homopolar permanent magnet (PM)-biased radial actuators along with a homopolar PM-biased combination radial/axial actuators. In this paper, we provide an overview of the research we have done over the last 15 years in this area focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and explaining why we have made certain design choices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hysteresis Curve Fitting Optimization of Magnetic Controlled Shape Memory Alloy Actuator
Actuators 2016, 5(4), 25; doi:10.3390/act5040025 -
Abstract
As a new actuating material, magnetic controlled shape memory alloys (MSMAs) have excellent characteristics such as a large output strain, fast response, and high energy density. These excellent characteristics are very attractive for precision positioning systems. However, the availability of MSMAs in practical
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As a new actuating material, magnetic controlled shape memory alloys (MSMAs) have excellent characteristics such as a large output strain, fast response, and high energy density. These excellent characteristics are very attractive for precision positioning systems. However, the availability of MSMAs in practical precision positioning is poor, caused by weak repeatability under a certain stimulus. This problem results from the error of a large magnetic hysteresis in an external magnetic field. A suitable hysteresis modelling method can reduce the error and improve the accuracy of the MSMA actuator. After analyzing the original hysteresis modelling methods, three kinds of hysteresis modelling methods are proposed: least squares method, back propagation (BP) artificial neural network, and BP artificial neural network based on genetic algorithms. Comparing the accuracy and convergence rate of three kinds of hysteresis modelling methods, the results show that the convergence rate of least squares method is the fastest, and the convergence accuracy of BP artificial neural networks based on genetic algorithms is the highest. Full article
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