A sliding mode controller design for the robust position control problem of series elastic actuators
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In this paper, a new robust position controller is proposed for Series Elastic Actuators (SEAs) by using Sliding Mode Control (SMC) and a second order Disturbance Observer (DOb). The latter estimates not only disturbances but also their first and second order successive derivatives. A simple yet efficient dynamic model of the position control system is derived by using the analogy of a two-mass-spring-damper system. It is of fourth order and suffers from collocated and non-collocated disturbances. The former is directly cancelled by feeding-back its estimation through control input. The latter is suppressed by treating the estimations of disturbances and their first and second order time derivatives in the design of the SMC-based robust position controller. By cancelling disturbances via their estimations, not only the robustness of the position control system is improved but also the control signal chattering is lowered. The proposed robust controller significantly improves the position control performance of SEAs by suppressing plant uncertainties and external disturbances, such as friction, backlash, inertia variation and load. The validity of the proposed robust position controller is verified by giving experimental results of an SEA.