This paper characterizes the static, dynamic, and controlled behavior of a high-performance electro-hydraulic actuator to assess its suitability for use in evaluating machine tool behavior. The actuator consists of a double-acting piston and cylinder arrangement controlled by a servo valve and a separate rear chamber controlled by a separate valve, designed to work in conjunction to generate static forces of up to 7000 N that can be superposed with dynamic forces of up to ±1500 N. This superposition of periodic forces with a non-zero mean makes the actuator capable of applying realistic loading conditions like those experienced by machines during cutting processes. To characterize the performance of this actuator, linearized static and dynamic models are described. Since experiments with the actuator exhibit nonlinear characteristics, the linearized static model is expanded to include the influence of nonlinearities due to flow, leakages, saturations, and due to friction and hysteresis. Since all major nonlinearities are accounted for in the expanded static model, the dynamical model remains linear. Unknown static and dynamical model parameters are calibrated from experiments, and the updated models are observed to capture experimentally observed behavior very well. Validated models are used to tune the proportional and integral gains for the closed-loop control strategy, and the model-based tuning in turn guides appropriate closed-loop control of the actuator to increase its bandwidth to 200 Hz. The statically and dynamically characterized actuator can aid machine tool structural testing. Moreover, the validated models can instruct the design and development of other higher-performance electro-hydraulic actuators, guide the conversion of the actuator into a damper, and also test other advanced control strategies to further improve actuator performance.
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