Robust force control of Series Elastic Actuators using Sliding Mode Control and Disturbance Observer
In this paper, a new robust force controller is proposed for Series Elastic Actuators (SEAs) by using conventional Sliding Mode Control (SMC) and Disturbance Observer (DOb). The position measurement of the actuator's link is subtracted from the desired deflection of the spring so that the force control goal is defined as the desired position of the motor; i.e., the force control is simply performed by designing a position controller at motor side. However, the position accuracy of the motor is influenced by the dynamics of the actuator and environment. Since they cannot be easily identified in practice, the dynamics of the actuator's link and environment are considered as unknown disturbances in the design of the proposed controller. In order to improve the robustness, conventional SMC-based robust force controller is designed without considering the unknown disturbances. Although the robust force control can be theoretically performed by using the conventional SMC-based controller, it suffers from chattering in real implementations. Conventional DOb-based robust motion controller is designed at motor side so that not only the disturbances are cancelled by feeding-back their estimations but also the control signal of SMC-based robust force controller is lowered. Hence, a simple yet efficient robust force controller is designed for SEAs. The validity of the proposed robust force controller is verified by giving experimental results.