Special Issue "Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators"

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Gary M. Bone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
Interests: robot design, sensing and control; collaborative robots (Cobots); 3D machine vision for robots; robot learning from demonstration; soft pneumatic actuators; hybrid pneumatic-electric actuators; advanced control algorithms for pneumatic and hybrid actuators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pneumatic actuators include cylinders, air motors, artificial muscles, and the myriad of designs being developed for soft robots. Hybrid pneumatic–electric actuators can provide greater positioning accuracy and bandwidth than purely pneumatic actuators. Vacuum-powered actuators provide a unique safety advantage (since they can only fail by implosion rather than bursting). These actuators share the advantages of a high power-to-weight ratio, thermal stability (i.e., they do not overheat), and safety for human–machine physical interaction. The latter is particularly important for emerging applications such as collaborative robots, personal robots, and assistive robots. The design and control of these actuators are ongoing areas of research.

This Special Issue will cover all aspects of the design, modeling, control, and applications of pneumatic, hybrid pneumatic–electric, and vacuum-powered actuators. Both theoretical and practical contributions are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Gary M. Bone
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Actuators is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • pneumatic actuators;
  • hybrid pneumatic–electric actuators;
  • vacuum-powered actuators;
  • soft actuators;
  • position control;
  • force control;
  • physical human–robot interaction;
  • soft robots;
  • collaborative robots;
  • assistive robots.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Communication
Extended-State-Observer-Based Super Twisting Control for Pneumatic Muscle Actuators
Actuators 2021, 10(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/act10020035 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1071
Abstract
This paper presents a tracking control method for pneumatic muscle actuators (PMAs). Considering that the PMA platform only feedbacks position, and the velocity and disturbances cannot be observed directly, we use the extended-state-observer (ESO) for simultaneously estimating the system states and disturbances by [...] Read more.
This paper presents a tracking control method for pneumatic muscle actuators (PMAs). Considering that the PMA platform only feedbacks position, and the velocity and disturbances cannot be observed directly, we use the extended-state-observer (ESO) for simultaneously estimating the system states and disturbances by using measurable variables. Integrated with the ESO, a super twisting controller (STC) is design based on estimated states to realize the high-precision tracking. According to the Lyapunov theorem, the stability of the closed-loop system is ensured. Simulation and experimental studies are conducted, and the results show the convergence of the ESO and the effectiveness of the proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators)
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Article
Implementation of an Upper-Limb Exoskeleton Robot Driven by Pneumatic Muscle Actuators for Rehabilitation
Actuators 2020, 9(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9040106 - 20 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1538
Abstract
Implementation of a prototype of a 4-degree of freedom (4-DOF) upper-limb exoskeleton robot for rehabilitation was described in this paper. The proposed exoskeleton robot has three DOFs at the shoulder joint and one DOF at the elbow joint. The upper-limb exoskeleton robot is [...] Read more.
Implementation of a prototype of a 4-degree of freedom (4-DOF) upper-limb exoskeleton robot for rehabilitation was described in this paper. The proposed exoskeleton robot has three DOFs at the shoulder joint and one DOF at the elbow joint. The upper-limb exoskeleton robot is driven by pneumatic muscle actuators (PMA) via steel cables. To implement the passive rehabilitation control, the rehabilitation trajectories expressed in the Fourier series were first planned by the curve fitting. The fuzzy sliding mode controller (FSMC) was then applied to the upper-limb exoskeleton robot for rehabilitation control. Several rehabilitation scenarios were carried out to validate the designed PMA-actuated exoskeleton robot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators)
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Article
Admittance-Controlled Teleoperation of a Pneumatic Actuator: Implementation and Stability Analysis
Actuators 2020, 9(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9040103 - 14 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1210
Abstract
Implementation, experimental evaluation and stability analysis of an admittance-controlled teleoperated pneumatic system is presented. A master manipulator navigates a pneumatic slave actuation, which interacts with a human arm as an environment. Considering the external force in the position control loop in the admittance [...] Read more.
Implementation, experimental evaluation and stability analysis of an admittance-controlled teleoperated pneumatic system is presented. A master manipulator navigates a pneumatic slave actuation, which interacts with a human arm as an environment. Considering the external force in the position control loop in the admittance control, enables the slave to handle the external force independent of the master. The proposed control system is evaluated experimentally using the admittance models with different settings. Stability of the control system is analyzed using the concept of Lyapunov exponents. Parametric stability analysis is conducted to show the effect of changing system parameters on stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators)
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Article
Optimal Force Allocation and Position Control of Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric Linear Actuators
Actuators 2020, 9(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9030086 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Hybrid pneumatic–electric actuators (HPEAs) are redundant actuators that combine the large force, low bandwidth characteristics of pneumatic actuators with the large bandwidth, small force characteristics of electric actuators. It has been shown that HPEAs can provide both accurate position control and high inherent [...] Read more.
Hybrid pneumatic–electric actuators (HPEAs) are redundant actuators that combine the large force, low bandwidth characteristics of pneumatic actuators with the large bandwidth, small force characteristics of electric actuators. It has been shown that HPEAs can provide both accurate position control and high inherent safety, due to their low mechanical impedance, making them a suitable choice for driving the joints of assistive, collaborative, and service robots. If these characteristics are mathematically modeled, input allocation techniques can improve the HPEA’s performance by distributing the required input (force or torque) between the redundant actuators in accordance with each actuator’s advantages and limitations. In this paper, after developing a model for a HPEA-driven system, three novel model-predictive control (MPC) approaches are designed that solve the position tracking and input allocation problem using convex optimization. MPC is utilized since the input allocation can be embedded within the motion controller design as a single optimization problem. A fourth approach based on conventional linear controllers is included as a comparison benchmark. The first MPC approach uses a model that includes the dynamics of the payload and pneumatics; and performs the motion control using a single loop. The latter methods simplify the MPC law by separating the position and pressure controllers. Although the linear controller was the most computationally efficient, it was inferior to the MPC-based controllers in position tracking and force allocation performance. The third MPC-based controller design demonstrated the best position tracking with RMSE of 46%, 20%, and 55% smaller than the other three approaches. It also demonstrated sufficient speed for real-time operation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators)
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Article
Improving Endurance of Pneumatic Linear Peristaltic Actuators
Actuators 2020, 9(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9030076 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1579
Abstract
Pneumatic linear peristaltic actuators can offer some potential advantages when compared with conventional ones. Low cost, virtually unlimited stroke and easy implementation of curved motion profiles are among those benefits. On the downside, these actuators suffer high mechanical stress, which leads to short [...] Read more.
Pneumatic linear peristaltic actuators can offer some potential advantages when compared with conventional ones. Low cost, virtually unlimited stroke and easy implementation of curved motion profiles are among those benefits. On the downside, these actuators suffer high mechanical stress, which leads to short endurance and increased leakage between chambers during the actuator lifetime. This paper contributes to this field by experimentally characterizing the life behavior of a prototype of a linear pneumatic peristaltic actuator where force—instead of displacement—between rollers is imposed. It is shown that the use of an imposed force configuration has a significant impact in the actuator life time. In fact, the proposed actuator configuration has an average endurance of up to 250% higher than the one previously presented in the literature. This result was obtained while maintaining almost zero leakage between chambers, despite the hose wear throughout the service life. Finally, this paper explores the use of different hose geometries to increase the actuator life span. To this end, a preliminary study is presented where two different 3D printed hose cross sections are tested and compared with a circular one. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators)
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Article
Accurate Motion Control of a Pneumatic Linear Peristaltic Actuator
Actuators 2020, 9(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/act9030063 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Pneumatic linear peristaltic actuators can offer some potential advantages when compared with conventional ones. The low cost, virtually unlimited stroke and easy implementation of curved motion profiles are among those benefits. On the downside, these actuators suffer high mechanical stress that can lead [...] Read more.
Pneumatic linear peristaltic actuators can offer some potential advantages when compared with conventional ones. The low cost, virtually unlimited stroke and easy implementation of curved motion profiles are among those benefits. On the downside, these actuators suffer high mechanical stress that can lead to short service life and increased leakage among chambers during the actuator lifetime. One way to cope with this problem is to impose the force—instead of the displacement—between rollers, as this has been shown to improve the endurance of the hose while reducing leakage during the actuator lifetime. This paper presents closed control loop results using such a setup. Previous studies with linear peristaltic actuators have revealed that, although it is possible to reach zero steady state error to constant references with closed loop control, the dynamic response obtained is very slow. This paper is mainly focused on this topic, namely on the development of several control laws to improve the dynamic performance of the system while avoiding limit cycles. The new developed control law leads to an average time of 1.67 s to reach a 0.1 mm error band in an experiment consisting of a series of 16 steps ranging from 0.02 to 0.32 m in amplitude. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pneumatic, Hybrid Pneumatic–Electric, and Vacuum-Powered Actuators)
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