Quasi-Static Hydraulic Control Systems and Energy Savings Potential Using Independent Metering Four-Valve Assembly Configuration
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In this research, the four valve independent metering configuration is to be investigated. The Independent metering concept will be emphasized and compared to spool valve coupled metering conventional technologies. Research focuses on the energy savings potential of the four valve independent metering configuration in addition to improving performance. The basic model of interest in this research is an actuator that is controlled by the four valve independent metering configuration to move beam like members of mobile hydraulic equipment such as tractor loader backhoes, excavators, and telehandlers. Five distinct (or discrete) metering modes that exist in the literature are initially studied: Powered Extension, High Side Regeneration Extension, Low Side Regeneration Extension, Powered Retraction, and Low Side Regeneration Retraction. The energy saving potential of these modes is studied and comparisons between this system and a conventional spool valve controlled actuator are conducted. The problem of switching between these five modes is treated as an optimal control problem of a switched dynamic system. Before solving the optimal control problem, a dynamic model for the system of interest is first derived. The model is experimentally validated. General theory for the optimal control problem is derived and then applied to the hydraulic system of interest. The results are then interpreted and explained by looking into the force-speed capability of modes. The effect of mode switching on system performance is studied as well. The basic mechanical system used for this analysis is a continuous rotating beam that undergoes structural vibrations due to mode switching in the driving hydraulic actuator. A fully coupled actuator-beam model is investigated. A non-dimensional analysis is pursued to generalize the study results. The optimal switching analysis and the vibrational study lead to the idea of Continuously Variable Modes (CVMs). Instead of having five distinct modes that determines the flow path by opening two of the four valves in the assembly, three Continuously Variable Modes are presented as an alternative way of controlling the four-valve configuration. These three CVMs combine the distinct modes and use three of the four valves to provide the fluid flow path. The five distinct modes become a special case of these three CVMs. It is going to be shown that CVMs have more force-speed capabilities than the distinct modes and provide for better velocity and vibrational performance by virtue of always offering a continuous flow path. The theory behind CVMs is presented and experimental validation follows.