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You are on page 1of 13

**4, AUGUST 2012 593
**

Precision Tracking Control and Constraint Handling

of Mechatronic Servo Systems Using Model

Predictive Control

Chi-Ying Lin, Member, IEEE, and Yen-Chung Liu

Abstract—This paper presents precision tracking control and

constraint handling of mechatronic servo systems using model

predictive control. The current study revisits integral model pre-

dictive control, a common technique used in industrial process

applications, from a motion control perspective for step tracking

and constraint handling. To improve the control performance for

periodic signal tracking, this paper integrates an internal model-

based repetitive control law with the model predictive controller

and transforms the original problem to a quadratic programming

problem to deal with the given constraints. The current study ap-

plies the aforesaid controls to a piezoactuated system, implemented

at a 10-kHz sampling rate. This research analyzes and discusses

the experimental results of several controller design parameters

affecting the control performance. Asymptotic error tracking and

constraint handling results particularly demonstrate the effective-

ness and potential of the model predictive controller for the servo

design of fast mechatronic systems.

Index Terms—Constraint handling, mechatronic systems, model

predictive control (MPC), motion control, repetitive control.

I. INTRODUCTION

A

DVANCED controls such as adaptive control or on-line-

based optimal control, are typically heavily computational

and highly processor-dependent if applying to real-time control

applications. Their practical use is thus limited to slow dynamic

systems in previous literatures [1]. However, due to emerging

development of nanotechnology for fast microprocessors, up-

to-date technology has made implementing advanced controls

on fast dynamic systems a possible task. Therefore, applying

advanced control techniques to improve system performance

has become an attractive approach for control engineers. As

an optimal control approach, model predictive control (MPC)

is especially suitable for constraint handling in multivariable

process systems and commonly seen in slow sampled-data con-

trol systems such as chemical process control and automotive

applications.

Manuscript received May 26, 2010; revised September 13, 2010 and

December 30, 2010; accepted January 22, 2011. Date of publication March

10, 2011; date of current version May 4, 2012. Recommended by Technical

Editor J. Xu. This paper was supported by the National Science Council of

Taiwan, R.O.C., under Grant NSC 97-2218-E-011-015.

C.-Y. Lin is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, National

Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei 106, Taiwan (e-mail:

chiying@mail.ntust.edu.tw).

Y.-C. Liu is with International Games System Co., Ltd., Taipei 248, Taiwan

(e-mail: M9703114@mail.ntust.edu.tw).

Color versions of one or more of the ﬁgures in this paper are available online

at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

Digital Object Identiﬁer 10.1109/TMECH.2011.2111376

Because of its promising properties, studies have recently

applied MPC to a variety of mechatronic and motion control

applications, such as motor control [2], [3], two-stage actuation

system control [4], inverted pendulum control [5], machine tool

chatter suppression [6], active noise and vibration control [7],

and trajectory tracking of robotic systems [8]–[10]. Among the

aforementioned applications, MPC of electrical motor drives

has become increasingly more popular in the industries because

combined control of the motor speed and current with lim-

its may be ﬁnancially beneﬁcial to energy efﬁciency and power

consumption. However, since motor drives can be categorized as

actuators of mechatronic systems [11], it is also worthy to inves-

tigate MPC control performance using a different and broader

perspective. This study speciﬁcally focuses on motion control,

an important part of mechatronics [11].

Motion control generally covers topics including position

control, velocity control, current control, or force control of

robotics and machine tools [12]. Several researchers have stud-

ied using MPC for speed control and current control of [2], [3],

[13] mechatronic systems, mostly concentrated on electrical

drives as mentioned earlier. For position control of mechatronic

systems using MPC, the literature, however, is limited on the

study of trajectory tracking or obstacle avoidance of robotic sys-

tems [8]–[10], [14]. In [4], the authors discussed implementing

MPCon a dc motor and PZT-based two-stage actuator systemin

tracking various reference inputs. Because of the applied PZT

actuator, this paper investigated the MPC tracking control of

fast mechatronic systems with a 2-kHz sampling rate. More-

over, several studies have achieved precision tracking control

with the aid of internal model-based repetitive control for track-

ing periodic signals [15], [16].

Although MPCseemingly leads to an extended research topic

in the mechatronics ﬁeld, some issues still need investigating.

For example, the applied sampling rates in most available appli-

cations are comparatively slow from the real-time perspective,

mainly due to the requirement of on-line optimization for con-

straint handling. This necessary tradeoff may introduce the so

called “intersample error” in high-bandwidth sampled-data con-

trol systems [17]. In addition, few studies have applied MPC to

mechatronic systems for performance improvement, especially

with constraint handling results. Although, the recent research

done in [7] shows the success of applying MPC to active noise

and vibration suppression with input constraints at a 5-kHz sam-

pling rate, precision tracking control with constraint handling

for fast mechatronic systems is still rarely discussed in the ex-

isting literature.

1083-4435/$26.00 © 2011 IEEE

594 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 17, NO. 4, AUGUST 2012

This paper investigates MPC control performance for track-

ing control and constraint handling of mechatronic systems. To

generalize using the MPC controller on high-bandwidth mecha-

tronic systems, this study designed servo algorithms at a 10-kHz

sampling rate and implemented themon a fast PZT actuator sys-

tem as an exemplary hardware platform for discussion. Faster

sampling implementation typically implies increased spindle

speed of rotating devices or repeated production efﬁciency, ob-

taining increased economic beneﬁts. The selected sampling rate

in this paper should be fast and illustrative enough for a vast

number of position control applications. In particular, this study

shows improved control performance by considering the con-

straints for periodic motion tracking and demonstrates the prac-

ticability and the potential of applying the MPC controller for

fast mechatronic systems.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section II

reviews the basics of MPC and the problem formulation.

Section III presents the integral MPC for step tracking and con-

straint handling. Section IVdemonstrates the repetitive MPCfor

periodic signal tracking and constraint handling with quadratic

programming problem formulation. Section V presents a de-

tailed discussion on MPC parameters selection and controller

performance with constraints for precision tracking through ex-

perimental results. Finally, this paper provides several conclud-

ing remarks and future impacts of using MPC for mechatronic

systems servo design.

II. MPC AND PROBLEM FORMULATION

A. Review of MPC

A review of the main concept of MPC is available in Ma-

ciejowski’s book [18]. Here, we assume that the plant model is

linear, discrete, and time invariant. Building a prediction model

based on the control system of interest is the ﬁrst step. The er-

ror E(k) between the predicted control output Y

p

(k) and the

reference trajectory R

ref

(k) and changes of the input vector

Δˆ u(k) are then penalized by a quadratic cost function J(k)

with weighting matrices Q, R as shown in (1). Appropriate al-

gorithms minimize J(k) to obtain the optimal change of input

sequence Δˆ u(k). From (2), Δˆ u(k) includes the information

changes of current and future control inputs. Third, this paper

calculates the current control u(k) by summing the previous

control input u(k −1) and Δˆ u(k). The dimensionality of the

cost function J(k) depends on the lengths of prediction horizon

H

p

and control horizon H

c

. Moreover, the weighting parame-

ters Q and R inﬂuence the system output and control input and

have to satisfy the conditions Q ≥ 0, R > 0

J(k) =

1

2

_

H

p

i=1

E(k +i)

2

Q(i)

+

H

c

−1

i=0

Δˆ u(k +i)

2

R(i)

_

(1)

where

E(k +i) = Y

p

(k +i) −R

ref

(k +i)

Δˆ u(k) = [Δu(k)Δu(k + 1) · · · Δu(k +H

c

−1)]

T

u(k) = u(k −1) + [I 0 0 · · ·]Δˆ u(k). (2)

B. Problem Formulation

Let us consider the discrete state-space model and assume

that all states (x(k) ∈ R

n

) are measurable without disturbances

or measurement noises so far

x(k + 1) = Ax(k) +Bu(k)

y(k) = Cx(k). (3)

For simplicity, assume that the plant model is a single-input,

single-output and causal system. Note that no feedthrough term

appears in (3) since most mechatronic systems satisfy the causal-

ity assumption. Using this state-space model and following sim-

ilar derivation procedure in [18], we can build a prediction model

as shown in the following equation:

¯

X(k + 1) = Φx(k) + Ψu(k −1) + ΥΔˆ u(k)

Y

p

(k) = Π

¯

X(k) (4)

where

¯

X(k) =

⎡

⎢

⎣

x(k)

.

.

.

x(k +H

p

−1)

⎤

⎥

⎦ Φ =

⎡

⎣

A

.

.

.

A

H

p

⎤

⎦

Ψ =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

B

AB +B

.

.

.

H

p

−1

i=0

A

i

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

Π =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

C 0 · · · 0

0 C · · ·

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

0 · · · · · · C

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

Υ =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

B · · · 0

AB +B · · · 0

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

H

p

−1

i=0

A

i

B · · ·

H

p

−H

c

i=0

A

i

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

.

As can be seen, the predicted output Y

p

(k) coming from (4)

can be used to construct the cost function J(k) of MPC in (1).

Several approaches can solve this minimization problem. One

is directly taking the derivative with respect to J(k) to ﬁnd

the optimal change of input Δˆ u(k). However, this method may

cause inverse matrix calculation and have ill-conditioned issues,

which will bring incorrect results. Furthermore, this method is

not applicable to the case when adding constraints. This study

therefore applies quadratic programming (QP) to solve MPC

since QP is an algorithm, which solves optimization problems

with constraints applied on the cost function variables. A stan-

dard QP problem formulation can be expressed as (5), where

κ∈R

n

, H is an n ×n positive deﬁnite symmetric matrix, and

f is an n ×1 arbitrary vector, respectively. α and β are the

corresponding matrices of the constrained condition in QP

F(κ) =

1

2

κ

T

Hκ +f

T

κ (5)

subject to ακ ≤ β

J(k) =

1

2

Δˆ u(k)

T

Γ

1

.¸¸.

H

Δˆ u(k)

+ Δˆ u(k)

T

(Γ

2

u(k −1) + Γ

3

x(k) −Γ

4

R

ref

(k + 1))

. ¸¸ .

f

LIN AND LIU: PRECISION TRACKING CONTROL AND CONSTRAINT HANDLING OF MECHATRONIC SERVO SYSTEMS 595

Fig. 1. MPC control structure with no constraints and full state measurement.

where

Γ

1

= Υ

T

Π

T

QΠΥ +R Γ

3

= Υ

T

Π

T

QΠΦ

Γ

2

= Υ

T

Π

T

QΠΨ Γ

4

= Υ

T

Π

T

Q.

Notice that this QP formulation is also applicable to the case

without constraints. Fig. 1 shows the MPCcontrol structure with

no constraints and full state measurements.

C. MPC With Constraints

One objective of this study is to improve the control perfor-

mance of high-bandwidth servo systems by taking advantage of

constraint-handling property in MPC. The constraints MPC can

handle include input constraints and output constraints. The in-

put constraints are typically applied to avoid actuator saturation

within a desired input range [u

min

, u

max

]. Similarly, the output

constraints are meant to demand the system to operate within an

output range [y

min

, y

max

] for collision avoidance or emergency

protection. The constraint condition can be represented as

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

u

min

u

min

.

.

.

u

min

y

min

y

min

.

.

.

y

min

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

≤

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

u(k)

u(k + 1)

.

.

.

u(k +H

c

−1)

y(k)

y(k + 1)

.

.

.

y(k +H

p

−1)

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

≤

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

u

max

u

max

.

.

.

u

max

y

max

y

max

.

.

.

y

max

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

. (6)

To solve the constrained MPC using QP formulation, the in-

equality (6) must be reformulated based on the optimization

variable Δˆ u(k). After appropriate manipulation, the inequal-

ity corresponding to the QP constraint condition in (5) can be

represented as

C

f 1

C

f 2

Δˆ u(k) ≤ R

uy

−C

f 1

C

f 3

x(k) −C

f 1

C

f 4

u(k −1)

(7)

where the details of C

f 1

, C

f 2

, C

f 3

, C

f 4

, and R

uy

are attached

as Appendix A. As expected, this constraint condition would

introduce the so called “computational burden” in most MPC

since the designers have to deﬁne a numerical precision check

value (e.g., 10

−6

or less) to satisfy the condition and to terminate

the QP solver process after iterative parameter adjustment. It

is obvious that minimal check values would retard the whole

optimization process. For QP optimization, there exist several

algorithms to solve QP problems. This study applied Hildreth’s

Fig. 2. MPC control structure with state estimator and integrator.

QP procedure and solved the QP problem on-line by the code

provided by Wang [19].

In most cases, the input constraints are hard ones, meaning

the input must strictly follow the limit range. On the other hand,

the feasibility of the QP solver is highly related to the state

accuracy when transforming output constrained MPC into QP

formulation. As a result, certain output perturbation is tolerable

with released constraints (soft constraints) since in real systems,

prefect state information is hardly available.

III. MPC FOR STEP TRACKING

As various interdisciplinary physical principles may be in-

volved, it is difﬁcult or costly to have full state measurement

for the mechatronic systems of interest. To estimate the states

from system’s output for feedback control, duplicating the orig-

inal system dynamics with an observer gain simply constructs

state observers [20]. However, the obtained system dynamics

is mostly from system identiﬁcation techniques and correctness

of the estimated states is dependent on modeling errors. In real

implementation, this inevitable fact could cause nonzero steady-

state error and adding an integrator typically compensates this

error and obtains robust tracking [20]. Fig. 2 depicts the MPC

control structure with state estimation and integral control. This

control structure is a decentralized design, which simply adds

control inputs from MPC and integral control. Although inte-

gral gain tuning eliminates the steady-state error, this control

structure is incapable of constraint handling since the integra-

tor dynamics is not included in QP formulation. Therefore, this

research derives and presents an integrated control structure

combining MPC with integral control and constraint handling

(IMPC) for step tracking.

A. State Observer Design

Several approaches can design the observer for state esti-

mation, including common pole placement or the well-known

Kalman ﬁlter method, especially when measurements are noisy.

This study applies the generalized Luenberger observer (pole

placement) for convenience. Let the state estimation error be

e(k) = ˆ x(k) −x(k) with the estimated state vector ˆ x(k). By

constructing and subtracting the observer dynamics from the

original system dynamics, the estimation error dynamics be-

comes e(k + 1) = (A−LC)e(k). To assure stability, the gain

L has to be designed such that all the eigenvalues of (A−LC)

locate inside the unit circle in the z-plane. The following

596 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 17, NO. 4, AUGUST 2012

summarizes the observer dynamic equation as follows:

ˆ x(k + 1) = (A−LC)ˆ x(k) +Bu(k) +Ly(k)

ˆ y(k) = Cˆ x(k).

B. MPC With Integral Control and Constraint Handling

To formulate the MPC with integral control and constraint

handling, a forward difference method for numerical integration

with an integrator state w(k) is chosen as follows:

w(k + 1) = w(k) +T

s

(R

ref

(k) −Y (k)) (8)

where T

s

represents the sampling time. After combining the in-

tegrator and system dynamics, the augmented system dynamics

can be represented as

¯ x(k + 1) =

¯

A¯ x(k) +

¯

Bu(k) +

ˆ

KR

ref

(k)

Y (k) =

¯

C¯ x(k) (9)

where

¯ x(k) =

_

x(k)

w(k)

_

¯

A =

_

A 0

−T

s

C 1

_

¯

B =

_

B

0

_

ˆ

K =

_

0

T

s

_

¯

C = [ C 0 ] .

With the state-space representation including the integral con-

trol dynamics, we write the IMPC control law u

int

(k) with

integral gain K

i

u

int

(k) = u(k −1) + [I 0 0 · · ·]Δˆ u(k) +K

i

w(k). (10)

If we take into account the horizon lengths H

p

and H

c

and use

(10), we build a prediction model as

X(k + 1) = A¯ x(k) +Bu(k −1) +DΔˆ u(k)

+Ew(k) +FR(k) +GY(k)

Y(k + 1) = CX(k + 1). (11)

Note that the notations of (10) can be referred to Appendix B.

The cost function J

I

(k) combining integral and MPC control

becomes

J

I

(k) =

1

2

{Y(k + 1) −R

ref

(k + 1)

2

Q

+Δˆ u(k)

2

R

}.

(12)

To solve this MPC control problem using QP solver, (12) is

transformed to

J

I

(k) =

1

2

Δˆ u(k)

T

HΔˆ u(k) + Δˆ u(k)

T

(f

int

) (13)

subject to αΔˆ u(k) ≤ β

where

H = D

T

QD +R

f

int

= σ

1

¯ x(k) +σ

2

u(k −1) −σ

3

w(k) +σ

4

R(k) +σ

5

Y(k)

−σ

6

R

ref

(k)

σ

1

= D

T

QA σ

4

= D

T

QF

Fig. 3. Prototype repetitive control block diagram.

σ

2

= D

T

QB σ

5

= D

T

QG

σ

3

= D

T

QE σ

6

= D

T

Q.

The constrained condition in (13) applies the same notations in

(7).

IV. MPC FOR PERIODIC SIGNAL TRACKING

In practice, the IMPC controller derived in the previous sec-

tion should be able to satisfy the needs in slow mechatronic

systems, such as set-point regulation. However, in motion con-

trol applications, the reference signal mostly contains periodic

signal components such as sinusoidal or trapezoidal tracking

proﬁles. Examples include precision scanning [21], noncircular

machining [22], or circular contouring [23], [24]. The integrated

control structure combining MPC is incapable of periodic pro-

ﬁle tracking since the integral control is only applicable to static

motion control. To enlarge the scope and applicability of MPC

design for precision motion control, this study also presents an

MPC method with repetitive control for periodic signal tracking

and constraint handling simultaneously.

A. Repetitive Control

This study applies the prototype repetitive control theory

from [25] due to its simplicity and suitability for discrete-time

control law derivation. The idea is to include an internal model

of the input signal to the feedback control loop for controller de-

sign. Applying the internal model principle [26] and considering

the closed-loop stability carefully, we can achieve asymptotic

error for periodic signal tracking. Fig. 3 represents the control

block diagram, in which the repetitive controller (RC) contains

a stabilizing controller C

ZPETC

and a periodic signal genera-

tor with a known period. The RC C

rep

can be represented as

follows:

C

rep

=

Q

ﬁlter

z

−P

1

1 −Q

ﬁlter

z

−(P

1

+P

2

)

C

ZPETC

(14)

where

P

1

= N −d −nu −nq; P

2

= d +nu

C

ZPETC

= K

ref

A(z

−1

)B

u

(z

−1

)

B

a

(z

−1

)B

u

(1)

2

. (15)

A(z

−1

) includes all poles of the plant, B

u

(z

−1

) includes all

unstable zeros of the plant, B

a

(z

−1

) includes all stable zeros

of the plant, and B

u

(1) scales the steady-state gain of the con-

troller. Moreover, K

ref

is the repetitive learning gain. N is the

number of the signal period. d stands for the number of plant

delays, and nu represents the number of unstable zeros of the

LIN AND LIU: PRECISION TRACKING CONTROL AND CONSTRAINT HANDLING OF MECHATRONIC SERVO SYSTEMS 597

Fig. 4. RMPC structure with state estimator.

plant. nq is the order of the low pass Q

ﬁlter

which will be men-

tioned later. C

ZPETC

, a stable inversion of the plant dynamics,

is the zero phase error tracking controller and can be designed

by the method reviewed in [27].

As the RC design always includes high-gain feedback at high

frequencies, which may excite the unmodeled dynamics and

induce the instability during implementation, a zero-phase low-

pass ﬁlter Q

ﬁlter

can be added to suppress this undesired effect.

The Q

ﬁlter

is selected as

Q

ﬁlter

= (az +b +az

−1

)

n

(16)

where a and b satisﬁes 2a +b = 1 for unity dc gain and n

is a positive integer. Although Q

ﬁlter

is a noncausal ﬁlter, the

controller’s causality is still assured because of the cascaded

long-delay terms z

−P

1

and z

−P

2

.

B. Repetitive Model Predictive Control (RMPC)

Problem Formulation

After introducing the basic control structure of the RC, the

next step is to integrate the RCwith MPCproperly to simultane-

ously preserve the desired properties in periodic signal tracking

and constraint handling. The proposed RMPC structure to ac-

complish this goal is shown in Fig. 4. Notice that in the follow-

ing, a state observer is adopted using pole placement for state

estimation mentioned in Section III-A.

From Fig. 4, the new control law U

RMPC

is represented as

U

RMPC

(k) = u(k −1) + [I 0 0 · · ·]Δˆ u(k) +U

RC

(k)

(17)

Following the concept and procedure introduced in Section II

and Section III-B, we can establish a predicted model for RMPC

Y

r

(k + 1) = A

r

x(k) +B

r

u(k −1)

+D

r

Δˆ u(k) +D

r

˜

U

RC

(k). (18)

The detailed notations of (18) can be referred to Appendix C.

If we compare (4) with (18), the predicted output in RMPC

has an extra vector

˜

U

RC

(k) which contains the predicted repet-

itive control signals up to the control horizon. To obtain the

repetitive control law at the current sampling time, we derive

the z-domain transfer function from the tracking error e to the

repetitive control U

RC

as follows:

U

RC

(z

−1

)

e(z

−1

)

= K

ref

RC

n

1 −RC

d

(19)

where

RC

n

=

⎡

⎣

z

−P

1

2nq

i=0

Q

i+1

z

−i

P

z

j=0

w

N

j+1

z

P

z

−j

⎤

⎦

RC

d

=

⎡

⎣

z

−(P

1

+P

2

)

2nq

i=0

Q

i+1

z

−i

P

z

j=0

w

D

j+1

z

P

z

−j

⎤

⎦

Q

**represents the coefﬁcient of the Q
**

ﬁlter

. w

D

and w

N

stand

for the denominator and numerator coefﬁcients of C

ZPETC

,

respectively. P

z

represents the sum of the number of poles and

unstable zeros of C

ZPETC

. Since the RC includes a long-term

time delay, in vector

˜

U

RC

(k), the repetitive control law U

RC

at

each predicted sampling period is still casual.

With the repetitive control law and given H

p

and H

c

, the

RMPC-predicted output Y

r

(k) can be represented in terms of

the combination of x(k), u(k −1), Δˆ u(k), and

˜

U

RC

(k). Ac-

cordingly, this research reformulates and transforms the cost

function for RMPC to a QP formulation similar to (13)

J

R

(k) =

1

2

Δˆ u(k)

T

H

RC

Δˆ u(k) + Δˆ u(k)

T

(f

RC

) (20)

subject to αΔˆ u(k) ≤ β

where

H

RC

= D

r

T

QD

r

+R

f

RC

= ε

1

x(k) +ε

2

u(k −1) −ε

3

˜

U

RC

(k) −ε

4

R

ref

(k)

ε

1

= D

r

T

QA

r

ε

3

= D

r

T

QD

r

ε

2

= D

r

T

QB

r

ε

4

= D

r

T

Q.

Still, the constrained condition in (20) applies the same no-

tations in (7). This procedure ﬁnishes the derivation of RMPC

for periodic signal tracking and constraint handling. The next

section designs and implements the proposed IMPC and RMPC

on a piezoactuated system to demonstrate its effectiveness.

V. APPLICATION TO A PIEZOACTUATED SYSTEM

This study chooses the piezoactuated system as the experi-

mental platform for MPC control performance evaluation for

two reasons. First, as tracking control plays an important role in

motion control applications, actuator saturation is still a tough

issue, which greatly affects practical tracking performance and

limits the actual used travel length of the actuators [28], es-

pecially for vast popular piezoactuated systems such as AFMs

or nanostages. To this end, MPC may become a feasible solu-

tion for handling constraints and achieving high-performance

precision motion control of nanopositioning devices. Second,

high-bandwidth or fast dynamic systems such as piezoactuated

systems require a fast enough sampling rate to avoid aliasing

errors during digital implementation [17]. Therefore, success-

ful precision tracking results of applying MPC on a piezoac-

tuated system can automatically extend to a more broad range

of mechatronic systems. The frequently discussed issue of hys-

teresis compensation using various mathematical modeling is

598 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 17, NO. 4, AUGUST 2012

Fig. 5. Schematic diagram of employed instruments.

beyond the scope of this paper, but is referred to in the vast

piezotracking literature [29]–[32].

A. Hardware Description and System Identiﬁcation

Fig. 5 illustrates the schematic diagram of the experimen-

tal apparatus. The apparatus consists of a piezoelectric actuator

(Piezomechanik Pst 150/5/20 VS10) and a strain gauge driven

by power ampliﬁers. The maximum stroke of the piezoelec-

tric actuator is 20 μm. The control scheme was implemented

using MATLAB Simulink, and the data were acquired by a

16-bit data acquisition card (NI PCI-6052E) at a 10-kHz sam-

pling rate. The CPU in the used target computer is an AMD

Athlon X2 Dual-Core processor with a 2.9-GHz clock rate. For

a more detailed discussion about MPC implementation using

MATLAB, see Wang’s work in [19]. To obtain the systemmodel

for MPC design, this research performed a time-domain system

identiﬁcation method using autoregressive exongeneous by in-

jecting a chirp input signal. As system output drifting occurs in

piezoactuated systems due to nonlinearities, closed-loop system

identiﬁcation [33] with a PI feedback controller was applied to

eliminate this error. Fig. 6 shows the open-loop model frequency

response and validation results. As can be seen, the identiﬁed

second-order model is good enough for controller design and

simulation.

B. Simulation and Experimental Results

After obtaining the identiﬁed system model, this study de-

signed and implemented the IMPC and RMPC controller on the

piezoactuated system for controller performance evaluation. To

verify IMPC controller effectiveness in real-time implementa-

tion, this research conducted several experiments for tracking a

1-Hz square-wave reference signal, and presented the necessity

of adding integral control for reducing steady-state errors by

comparing with the result using MPC alone. This paper also

discusses the inﬂuences of adjusting parameters H

p

, H

c

, Q, R

in the MPC problem. Moreover, this investigation adopted the

following two periodic proﬁles for high-frequency proﬁle track-

Fig. 6. Piezoelectric actuator frequency response and model validation.

Fig. 7. Reference signals applied in this study. (a) 10-Hz sinusoidal signal.

(b) 20-Hz special signal.

ing experiments. Fig. 7(a) shows a 10-Hz sinusoidal reference

signal, and Fig. 7(b) is a special case of Fig. 7(a) with an abso-

lute function applied. Obviously, the frequency components of

the reference signal in Fig. 7(b) are more complicated than the

signal in Fig. 7(a) because of the nonsmooth transition. Finally,

this paper compared the experimental results of IMPC and the

RMPC controller with constraint handling to the result using

standard saturation techniques.

1) Integral Gain K

i

: Fig. 8 shows the experimental results

of using MPCwith different integral gains, where K

i

= 0 means

no integral control is included. As can be seen, using standard

MPC without the integrator exhibits nonzero steady-state errors

due to inaccurate estimated states from modeling error. Acti-

vating the integrator achieved convergent steady-state error. Al-

though, increasing the value of K

i

improves convergent speed,

LIN AND LIU: PRECISION TRACKING CONTROL AND CONSTRAINT HANDLING OF MECHATRONIC SERVO SYSTEMS 599

Fig. 8. Different integral gain K

i

: experimental results.

Fig. 9. Different prediction horizon H

p

length: experimental results.

overshoot behavior also occurs. The following results account

for state estimation and integral control unless otherwise stated.

2) Horizon Length H

p

and H

c

: Figs. 9 and 10 demonstrate

the impacts of different predictions and control horizon lengths

on systemperformance. Fig. 9 shows that increasing H

p

obtains

faster convergent speed for step tracking. However, one should

note that increasing H

p

values will not necessarily improve

transience performance when applying unmodeled disturbance

(e.g., a load torque) to the control system. Without enough infor-

mation such as the type of disturbance and future input move-

ments, it is difﬁcult to have an accurate disturbance estimate

and prediction outputs. On the other hand, the increase in

H

c

slows the system output performance. This is because larger

H

c

means further focus on control energy and thus reduces the

transient speed. Fig. 10 also shows that obvious overshoot oc-

curs when using less control horizon. Moreover, according to

author’s experiences, H

c

is the most important factor determin-

Fig. 10. Different control horizon H

c

length: experimental results.

Fig. 11. Different weighting gain of cost function: experimental results.

ing the computation time for MPC controller implementation.

This ﬁnding may be attributed to the fact that larger H

c

also

increases the number of solving variables and complicates the

optimization process. Besides the horizon length, undoubtedly

the success of real-time MPC implementation is greatly depen-

dent on the specs of system microprocessor.

3) Weighting Parameters Q and R: The parameters Q and

R represent the weighting for prediction and control horizon,

respectively. Adjusting the ratio of these two weighting param-

eters, adjusts the system output performance. As Q increases, a

ﬁxed R decreases the inﬂuence of R and vice versa. As shown

in Fig. 11, the increase in Q means that output performance

is more concerned and thus the settling time is faster. On the

contrary, the control input becomes relatively important as Qde-

creases, meaning that the control move is very aggressive with

large change in one sampling instant. In this case, the result in

Fig. 12 shows control saturation and obvious output transient

600 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 17, NO. 4, AUGUST 2012

Fig. 12. Different weighting gain of cost function: experimental results.

oscillation, but less control effort at steady state. Although set-

ting Q = R gives intermediate results, it still requires some

experimental tuning to achieve a tradeoff between output per-

formance and control effort.

4) Input Constraints: As mentioned in the previous discus-

sion, the MPC controller is especially useful for constraint han-

dling. Coming from actuator saturation or physical operation

range limits, the input constraints signiﬁcantly affect the con-

trol performance. The piezoactuated systemapplied in this study

can accept 0–7.5 V control input before a twenty times voltage

ampliﬁer. As the increase in integral gain raises the transient

speed, the extra-required control effort may also cause input

saturation and reduce the control performance. To highlight this

phenomena and the controller performance, this study adopted

an artiﬁcial input constraint with range 1.65–5.85 V for the

MPC design. The diagram from Figs. 13 and 14 compares be-

tween MPC with stricter control input saturation limit and MPC

with input constraint handling results. The previous two con-

trols can be referred to as “serendipitous design” and “tactical

design” [34], respectively. The serendipitous design, a strat-

egy that just adds input constraints after ﬁnishing the controller

design, shows a retarded output response and large control un-

dershoot. However, the design that considers input constraints

in the control calculation (tactical design) shows about eight

times less response time and smaller control effort at steady

state. From Figs. 13 and 14, it is evident that MPC with input

constraint handling provides better control performance even in

high-bandwidth servo systems.

5) Output Constraints: Given the earlier results, this paper

now discusses the output constraint results. Most successful

output constraint handling results using MPC belong to pro-

cess control applications. However, few studies have investi-

gated implementing MPC in mechatronic systems, owing to

the computational burden, as output becomes part of the con-

straint condition. A few output constraints in mechatronic sys-

tems include safety protection or mechanism constraint (dead

points). For demonstration purposes, this study puts a satura-

tion block (in Simulink) at the system output to represent the

actual output constraint. Fig. 15 shows the experimental results

of MPC with output constraint handling, compared to the re-

sults of MPC without constraint handling and MPC with an

artiﬁcial output constraint, all within ±5.6 μm. Unfortunately,

the output response is far from the expected reference, even

with the integral control. The results may be attributed to the

plant uncertainties and imperfect state estimation in real im-

plementation. Since the QP problem formulation requires the

information of system states x(k) from state observers, the ac-

curacy of ˆ x(k) may affect the MPC solver and thus the success

of output constraint handling. The simulation result shown in

Fig. 16 veriﬁes the aforesaid conjecture. As shown, the MPC

with output constraint handling performs well under the applied

output constraint, without considering plant uncertainty. How-

ever, the result with plant uncertainty that assumes adding some

unmodeled dynamics demonstrates a similar trend compared

with the experimental result. This interesting observation em-

phasizes the importance of accurate modeling for successfully

implementing MPC output constraint handling.

6) Periodic Signal Tracking: The previous sections have fo-

cused on IMPC controller performance for tracking a square

wave. We now consider using the RMPC controller for tracking

a periodic signal, which is a common proﬁle benchmark for

evaluating precision motion control performance. This study

ﬁrst compares the RMPC with the RC, MPC, and IMPC for

tracking the reference signal depicted in Fig. 7(a). This com-

parison does not consider constraint handling in MPC, IMPC,

and RMPC designs. Fig. 17 shows the transient and steady-state

experimental results.

Clearly, applying RC alone provides almost sensor noise

level steady-state error. However, before 0.4 s, the transient

error is relatively larger than using the other three control ap-

proaches. Since the main purpose of traditional MPC design

is to deal with constraints for multiple-input–multiple-output

process control systems, it is natural to see nonconverging

steady-state errors. Although the IMPC design reduces the er-

ror signiﬁcantly, including integral control limits the tracking

performance.

The importance of applying RMPC for periodic signal track-

ing becomes obvious after introducing the previous results. As

indicated in Fig. 17, the RMPC still preserves the benign prop-

erties of RC in tracking periodic signals for converged errors

and provides a faster converging rate than applying RC alone.

Most importantly, the proposed RMPC is able to track periodic

signals when considering constraints as part of controller design

parameters. The next section illustrates the experimental results

with input constraints.

7) Periodic Signal Tracking With Input Constraints: Since

most motion control systems contain an actuator saturation or

input limitation, investigating the controller performance of

RMPC with input constraints is worthwhile. To highlight the

control performance, this study conducted experiments to track

the reference signal depicted in Fig. 7(b). This special signal

is very common and particularly similar to the proﬁles used

in industry applications such as triangular scanning wave [21]

LIN AND LIU: PRECISION TRACKING CONTROL AND CONSTRAINT HANDLING OF MECHATRONIC SERVO SYSTEMS 601

Fig. 13. IMPC with input constraints: experimental results in 1–1.02 s.

Fig. 14. IMPC with input constraints: experimental results in 1.5–1.52 s.

Fig. 15. Output constraints experimental results.

or the repetitive piston motion proﬁle [22]. The results are

compared with the case with an artiﬁcial input saturation block

and the case without any constraint.

Fig. 16. Output constraints simulation results.

In this study, the input command is limited within 3.55–

5.95 V. Figs. 18–20 depict the experimental results of track-

ing a periodic signal with input constraints. Fig. 18 shows an

602 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 17, NO. 4, AUGUST 2012

Fig. 17. Periodic signal tracking: experimental results.

Fig. 18. Periodic signal tracking with input constraints: experimental results in 0–2 s.

Fig. 19. Periodic signal tracking with input constraints: experimental results in 0.45–0.65 s.

obvious overshoot, both in system output and control input for

the case without any constraint handling (blue dashed line). Al-

though adding the input saturation block (red dashed line) sim-

ply solves the constraint issue, the control performance of the

case applying careful input constraint handling (green solid line)

still shows better improvement, such as faster transient speed

and less saturation time. Readers interested in output constraint

handling results might want to refer to [35].

LIN AND LIU: PRECISION TRACKING CONTROL AND CONSTRAINT HANDLING OF MECHATRONIC SERVO SYSTEMS 603

Fig. 20. Periodic signal tracking with input constraints: experimental results in 9.8–10 s.

VI. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK

As microprocessor technology matures and rapidly develops,

there is an emerging opportunity for using classic advanced

controls as servo control design alternatives for the mechatronics

community. Therefore, this study presents precision tracking

control and constraint handling of mechatronic servo systems

using MPC.

The current research focuses on integral MPC from a motion

control perspective, by discussing design parameter selection

as well as control performance of constraint handling and step

tracking. RMPC is a technique that deals with constraints and

eliminates the steady-state error coming from the determinis-

tic components of periodic tracking signals. The experimental

results demonstrate the effectiveness of MPC controllers on a

piezoactuated system with a fast sampling rate.

However, the controllers discussed in this paper are limited

in output constraint handling because of inevitable modeling

errors. This issue may remain as an extended research topic for

future work. Suggestions such as softening the constraints [36],

[37] or applying linear matrix inequalities based on robust MPC

[38], [39] are some simulation examples for possible directions

for further successful constrained control implementation.

On the other hand, the sampling rate used in this study

proves that recent microprocessor technology is already pow-

erful enough to implement MPC controllers in common real-

time motion control applications, even with considering con-

straint handling. Therefore, implementing MPC controllers on

specialized hardware has recently attracted much interest from

academia, and particularly control engineers. Examples include

digital signal processor [7], ﬁeld programmable gate array [40],

[41], or more general purpose microprocessors [42]. Advanced

MPC approaches that apply on-line tuning algorithms in pre-

vious process control literatures [43]–[45] should be revisited

and applied on fast dynamic systems for future research and

applications are expected.

With the advent of microprocessor technology, an explicit

MPC technique considering position control, velocity control,

and acceleration control with as many constraints as needed,

similar to process control applications, may become feasible for

real-time motion control. This feature and more, if appropriately

embedded on a low-cost chip [46], can bring substantial eco-

nomic beneﬁts to industries. We believe that further advanced

MPC control approaches and applications for mechatronic sys-

tems will appear soon.

APPENDIX A

C

f 1

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

1 0 · · · 0

−1 0

.

.

.

0

0 1

.

.

.

.

.

.

0 −1

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

0

.

.

.

.

.

.

1

0 · · · · · · −1

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

, C

f 2

=

_

C

f 21

C

f 22

_

,

C

f 3

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

0

.

.

.

0

C

CA

.

.

.

CA

Hc

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

, C

f 4

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

1

.

.

.

1

0

CB

.

.

.

Hc−n

j=0

CA

j

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

C

f 21

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

1 0 · · · · · · 0

1 1 0 · · ·

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

1 · · · · · · · · · 1

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

,

C

f 22

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

0 0 0 · · · 0

CB 0 0 · · · 0

CAB +CB CB 0 · · · 0

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Hc−n

j=0

CA

j

B · · · · · · CB 0

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

R

uy

= [u

max

u

min

· · · u

max

u

min

y

max

y

min

· · ·

y

max

y

min

]

T

.

604 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 17, NO. 4, AUGUST 2012

X(k + 1) =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

¯ x(k + 1)

¯ x(k + 2)

.

.

.

¯ x(k +H

p

)

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

, Y(k + 1) =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

Y (k + 1)

Y (k + 2)

.

.

.

Y (k +H

p

)

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

, R(k) =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

R

ref

(k)

R

ref

(k + 1)

.

.

.

R

ref

(k +H

p

−1)

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

, A =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

¯

A

¯

A

2

.

.

.

¯

A

H

p

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

B =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

¯

B

¯

A

¯

B +

¯

B

.

.

.

H

p

−1

j=0

¯

A

j

¯

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

, C =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

¯

C 0 · · · 0

0

¯

C · · ·

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

0 · · · · · ·

¯

C

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

, D =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

¯

B · · · 0

¯

A

¯

B +

¯

B · · · 0

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

H

p

−1

j=0

¯

A

j

¯

B · · ·

H

p

−H

c

j=0

¯

A

j

¯

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

E =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

¯

BK

i

¯

A

¯

BK

i

+ 2

¯

BK

i

.

.

.

(

H

p

l=1

l

¯

A

H

p

−l

¯

B)K

i

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

, F =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

ˆ

K · · · · · · 0

¯

A

ˆ

K −

¯

BK

i

T

s

ˆ

K · · · 0

.

.

. · · ·

.

.

.

0

¯

A

H

p

−1

ˆ

K −

H

p

−1

m=0

m

¯

A

H

p

−m−1

¯

BK

i

T

s

· · ·

¯

A

ˆ

K −

¯

BK

i

T

s

ˆ

K

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

G =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎢

⎣

0 0 · · · · · · 0

¯

BK

i

T

s

0 0 · · · 0

¯

A

¯

BK

i

T

s

+ 2

¯

BK

i

T

s

¯

BK

i

T

s

0 · · ·

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

H

p

−1

w=0

w

¯

A

H

p

−w−1

¯

BK

i

T

s

· · · · · ·

¯

BK

i

T

s

0

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎥

⎦

APPENDIX B

X(k + 1), B, E, G, R(k), and D are deﬁned as shown at the

top of the page.

APPENDIX C

Y

r

(k + 1) =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

Y (k + 1)

Y (k + 2)

.

.

.

Y (k +H

p

)

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

, A

r

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

CA

CA

2

.

.

.

CA

H

p

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

B

r

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

CB

CAB +CB

.

.

.

H

p

−1

j=0

CA

j

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

D

r

=

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

CB · · · 0

CAB +CB · · · 0

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

H

p

−1

j=0

CA

j

B · · ·

H

p

−H

c

j=0

CA

j

B

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

˜

U

RC

(k) =

⎡

⎢

⎢

⎣

U

RC

(k)

U

RC

(k + 1)

.

.

.

U

RC

(k +H

c

−1)

⎤

⎥

⎥

⎦

.

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Chi-Ying Lin received the B.S. and M.S. degrees

from National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, in

1999 and 2001, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree

from the University of California, Los Angeles, in

2008, all in mechanical engineering.

He is currently an Assistant Professor in the De-

partment of Mechanical Engineering, National Tai-

wan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan.

His current research interests include design and con-

trol of precision positioning systems, active vibration

control, and mechatronics.

Yen-Chung Liu received the B.S. degree from

National Yunlin University of Science and Tech-

nology, Yunlin, Taiwan, in 2008, and the M.S. de-

gree from National Taiwan University of Science and

Technology, Taipei, Taiwan, in 2010, both in mechan-

ical engineering.

He is currently an R&D Engineer with

International Games System Co., Ltd., Taipei,

Taiwan. His research interests include mechanismde-

sign for game products and model predictive control

for mechatronic systems.

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