Industrial Control Design Software

(Free Trial Version)


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A new industrial control design software tool has been developed in the Lab for Nonlinear Systems Control at the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering of University of Toronto, funded by the Material and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO) Market Readiness Program. This software solves the control design problem and thus simply and systematically determine a closed-loop controller to meet a set of pre-specified closed-loop performance criteria. Compared with existing techniques to design PID controllers, this approach is substantially less reliant on highly developed controller-gain tuning abilities, applicable to a wide variety of control design problems, and anticipated to significantly reduce tuning time.




Technical Background



Designing a control system to achieve a response with a predetermined set of performance criteria is a complex task. This becomes increasingly difficult and time consuming as the level of performance increases. The traditional PID control method, although very simple, requires manually tuning of the PID gains. This process is often very challenging, as the designer must tune the gains to satisfy conflicting performance criteria simultaneously. As a result, tuning can be a time-consuming task leading to a substantial loss in production time. In addition, the final controller performance depends highly on the skill of the designer. Optimization methods can be used in the determination of the controller and gains. However, a non-convex optimization problem will always result. This non-convex optimization problem is typically hard to solve, in particular when a pre-specified closed-loop performance must be achieved.



Technology Advantage



This new software package can significantly simplify the tuning process. The novelty of this work mainly lies in the simplicity of the embedded control design method – the Convex Integrated Design (CID) method [1]. While the CID method relies on the convexity of these closed-loop performance specifications, many practical performance specifications in common use in control system design possess this property.


By taking advantage of the convexity of the closed-loop specifications, the design is greatly simplified into a simple three-stage method. Utilizing this unique methodology, a single controller is designed to satisfy each closed-loop performance specification. The set of individual controllers is then algebraically combined into one closed-loop controller, satisfying all closed-loop performance specifications. The main advantage of this direct methodology is the ability to tune for one performance specification at a time, a significantly easier process than tuning for all performance criteria simultaneously. This new tool should therefore allow for significant time saving in the design process and decrease reliance on highly skilled tuning capabilities.


[1] Fu, K., Mills, J. K., Sun, D., “Integrated Design of a Linear Positioning System With Applications To Electronic Manufacturing”, Proceedings of IEEE 2004 International Conference on Robotics and Automation, New Orleans, USA, pp. 517-522, April 26-May 1, 2004.


The advantage of the software thus can be summarized as:

Ø      Simplified design approach that can directly satisfy a set of pre-specified closed-loop performance specifications

Ø      Less tuning time required, decreases manufacturing downtime, simplifies retuning of equipment after shipment, less dependence on highly skilled gain tuning abilities

Ø      Controller software can be readily downloaded to target system such as a DSP or Microcomputer/PC based control system

Ø       Generic software package



Easy to Use



The software provides user-friendly interfaces to allow the users input required information for the control design. The software then determines the closed-loop controller, which will satisfy the set of required performance criteria as the output. The software can be used as a black box, i.e., the users do not have to know the control algorithm embedded in the software and can use the software to solve the control design problem without difficulty.























Potential Applications



The control algorithm has been demonstrated on a highly accurate linear positioning system, a semi-active suspension system on cars, and a planar parallel robotic manipulator which is used as a high-speed-high-accuracy pick-and-place machine.


Software package may be utilized to solve a wide variety of control design problems:  

Ø      High precision manufacturing requiring pre-specified performance including:

§         Motion Control Equipment

§         Robotic pick-and-place manipulator

Ø       Any linear control system design research/application where there is a set of conflicting performance criteria to be simultaneously satisfied



Download and Feedback



The trial version of the software is now available. Interested users can download the file here.


The downloadable file is a compressed file (.rar), which should be decompressed using WinRAR software. The decompressed files are located in a folder called “Control Design Software Trial Version”. Inside this folder, there is an executable file “software.exe’. The users can run the software by double clicking this file. All the other files in this folder are necessary files to run the software.


To run the software, the users have to have Matlab7 or higher version installed in his/her own computer. This is because that the software calls many Matlab function in the control design. The required Matlab Toolboxes to run the software are:


§         Control Design Toolbox

§         Optimization Toolbox

§         Robust Control Toolbox

§         Symbolic Toolbox


The users may also need to copy all the files in the sub-folders “Control Design Software Trial Version \ DLLs” to the folder “C:\windows\system32” to run the software. These files are the third-party libraries required by the software to interface Matlab.


The developers of the software welcome feedback on the software to help us improve the software. If you have any problem on how to use the software, or have any technical question about the software, or find there is any bug about it, please let us know by contacting us at:

                        Dr. Kevin Ke Fu

                        Tel: 1-416-946-0457


We appreciate your use of the trial version of the software, and will reply your questions and concern as soon as possible. Thanks very much for the help in advance.