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2008 第六屆全國精密製造研討會論文集 崑山科技大學 台南、永康

中華民國九十七年十一月八日 論文編號:A09-37

A Dual Linear Motor Servo System for Injection Molding

1 2 1
M. F. Hsieh , W. S. Yao and S. H. Wang
Department of Systems and Naval Mechatronic Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering
National Cheng Kung University

Abstract required to ensure the synchronization. Moreover,

This paper presents a system identification modeling of such a coupled system is critical for good
technique and control scheme for dual parallel linear control performance.
motors applied to the injector of injection molding With the mechanical coupling (Fig. 1), common
machines. The dual motors are mechanically coupled to control schemes for multiple feed drive axes may be
provide a joint thrust that is approximately twice of that inappropriate since they are achieved by decoupling the
of a single motor for injection in order to reduce the commands to each of the feed drives. This relies on an
demand for large thrust linear motors. The proposed assumption that each feed drive will accurately track the
synchronous control scheme is designed to satisfy an command inputs [2]. Also, the effect of the mechanical
injection cycle involving a number of mode switchings coupling is not considered. Master-slave control is a
(e.g., velocity-to-force control for filling-to-packing). In potential solution [3]. Lorenz and Schmidt [4] classify
the control scheme, a synchronous controller is the synchronous control techniques into three categories.
designed to reduce the synchronization error between However, the configurations with mechanical coupling
the dual motors. A disturbance observer is also have not been discussed despite the compensation is
developed to estimate the mold cavity pressure, based considered for errors occurring between the master and
on which, the filling-to-packing switchover control can slave motors to achieve synchronization. FANUC Ltd.
be performed. Experimental studies conducted on an propose the “tandem control” [5] technique for jointly
injection load simulator validate the effectiveness and driving a single axis of motion with two motors.
feasibility of the proposed system. SIEMENS [6] develop a master-slave control technique
based on speed/torque coupling. Hsieh et al. [2] present
Keywords: Linear motor, Synchronous control,
a position/thrust hybrid synchronous control that has
Injection molding, Filling-to-packing, Observer
been successfully applied to electric discharge machine
1. Introduction (EDM) tools with a pair of parallel linear motors.
In recent years, due to the surging environment For modeling of such a coupled system, the effect of
protection sense and development of high-tech industry, the mechanical coupling should be taken into account
low-pollution and high-precision electric injection when performing system identification. Hsieh et al [2]
molding machines have become the main stream of the present a modeling technique for synchronous control
industry. However, most of these machines employ of two mechanically coupled linear motors. Differing
rotary servo motors with ball screws as the injectors. from the method in [2], a new modeling technique is
Their features of low velocity and acceleration are the developed to determine the system model in this paper.
major drawbacks for manufacture of high-precision, For control of electric injection molding, some
micro or thin plastic products, which require high-speed literatures [1,7-8] can be found, where linear motors are
operation to ensure quality. Linear motors, with their applied for injectors. However, only a single motor is
high-speed and high-precision nature, are recognized as used to drive the injectors for low duty operation.
a suitable option for such an application [1]. The synchronous control developed is based on
This paper applies linear motors to the injector of master-slave control for injection, which involves
injection molding machines. Despite the advantages of switching of different control modes (i.e., velocity,
high speed, high accuracy and direct drive, thrust thrust and position). To reduce the synchronization
insufficiency would be the major concern to operation error between the motors, a synchronous controller is
of injection for linear motors. Hence, two linear motors added to the synchronous control system. Moreover, for
are constructed in parallel to provide a joint thrust for filling-to-packing switchover, the mold cavity pressure
injection and to reduce the demand for single large is estimated with a disturbance observer. Since this
thrust linear motors. As shown in Fig. 1, this paper focuses on feasibility evaluation for the proposed
configuration requires a strong mechanical coupling system and control applied to injection molding, a load
that bridges the two motors, via which a joint thrust can simulator is used to act as the load condition in the
be produced. However, this implies that the control of injection cycle so that the system performance can be
synchronization between the two motors becomes the experimentally evaluated. The experiments are
key technique under condition of high speed and high conducted with a digital signal processor.
acceleration. A synchronous control scheme is thus
2008 第六屆全國精密製造研討會論文集 崑山科技大學 台南、永康
中華民國九十七年十一月八日 論文編號:A09-37

It is noted that nonlinear property is not considered From (9)-(12) and Fig. 4, the following relationships
here. For clarification, the term “synchronization error” can be obtained:
is herein defined as the position or velocity differences 1 + G2* G1*
between the dual parallel linear motors. v1 = u1G1 + u G (13)
1 + G1* + G2* 1 + G1* + G2*
2 2

2. System modeling G2* 1 + G1*

2.1 Modeling v2 = u1G1 + u 2 G2 (14)
As shown in Fig. 1, the mechanical coupling 1 + G1 + G2
* *
1 + G1* + G2*
strongly links the dual motors. For this configuration, To determine the parameters of the model, a unique
the master-slave control can be applied, where the slave identification process is proposed. By in-turn applying
motor is compliant to the master, and the position errors u1=0 and u2=0, a series of equations can be obtained and
between them can be reduced by proper compensation. solved to acquire the transfer functions, as those given
This compliance can also prevent the system from in the following:
potential hazards compared to the case where position 2787.79
G1 = (15)
control is applied to both motors. s + 5.96
It is assumed that the condition of pulling and 3098.04
dragging due to the mechanical coupling is shown in G2 = (16)
Fig. 2. The net thrust for individual motors (motor 1 and s + 4.90
motor 2) can be respectively expressed as: 210.54s + 601852.31
G1∗ = (17)
Fˆ1 = F1 + Fcoupling1 (1) s 2 + 5.96s
211.88s + 681724.68
Fˆ2 = F2 + Fcoupling 2 (2) G2∗ = (18)
s 2 + 4.90s
where F1/F2 are the thrust produced by individual
motors, and Fcoupling1/Fcoupling2 are the force acting on the 2.2 System model verification
motors due to the mechanical coupling. The For verification of the constructed mathematic
synchronization errors of position and velocity can be model, as shown in Fig. 5, a swept-sine force command
respectively defined as: is sequentially fed to motor 1 and motor 2. The same
∆x = x2 − x1 (3) command is then simultaneously given to both motors.
∆v = v2 − v1 (4) The responses for the above tests are all compared with
the simulations with MATLAB program, as the results
where x1/x2 are the positions of individual motors, and presented in Figs. 6 to 8. It can be seen that the
v1/v2 are the velocities. From (3), (4) and Fig. 2, experiments and simulations agree well. This verifies
Fcoupling1/Fcoupling2 can be defined as: the accuracy of the obtained mathematic model and the
Fcoupling1 = k1∆x + c1∆v (5) feasibility of the system identification method.
Fcoupling 2 = −(k 2 ∆x + c2 ∆v) (6) 3. Synchronous control design
where k1/k2 are the equivalent spring constants on the The control scheme for the investigated system is
two sides of the coupling, and c1/c2 are the equivalent shown in Fig. 9, including velocity control for filling,
damping coefficients. Therefore, the net thrust on each filling-to-packing switchover, force control for
motor becomes packing/holding/cooling, and position control for
Fˆ1 = F1 + (k1∆x + c1∆v) (7) returning to the origin. Thus, the master motor (motor 1)
is required to satisfy the above control functions while
Fˆ = F − (k ∆x +c ∆v)
2 2 2 2 (8) the slave motor (motor 2) is to provide equivalent
From the above analysis, the complete model for the accessory thrust. In order to achieve better
coupled dual motor system can be constructed as the synchronization, the output response of the slave motor
block diagram shown in Fig. 3, where u1 and u2 are the can be regulated by tuning the force command regulator
force commands to the individual motors, Kt1 and Kt2 Kc. In addition, a disturbance observer is designed to
are the force constants of the linear motors. The model estimate the reaction force on the injector from the
in Fig. 3 can be further simplified as that shown in Fig. cavity for the injection cycle. This is used as the basis
4 by defining the following parameters: K1=Kt1/m1, for filling-to-packing switchover control from velocity
K2=Kt2/m2, p1=B1/m1, p2=B2/m2, a=c1/m1, b=k1/m1, to force control mode.
c=c2/m2 and d=k2/m2. Thus, the transfer functions for the 3.1 Control loop design
model in Fig. 4 can be given as: For the above-mentioned control loop design, as
K1 shown in Fig. 9, the PDFF control [9] is adopted in the
G1 = (9)
s + p1 velocity loop, where the proportional controller Kpv, the
integration controller Kiv, and the feedforward controller
G2 = (10) Kfv are properly designed to meet the performance
s + p2 requirement. The position proportional controller Kpp
as + b and the velocity feed forward controller Kfp are
G1* = (11) designed for the external position loop. It is noted that
s 2 + p1 s
the detail for the control loop design is not provided
cs + d here due to the paper space limit. The designed results
G2* = (12)
s 2 + p2 s are: Kpv=0.15, Kiv=211.6, Kfv=0.8, Kpp=36 and Kfp=0.93.
2008 第六屆全國精密製造研討會論文集 崑山科技大學 台南、永康
中華民國九十七年十一月八日 論文編號:A09-37

3.2 Design of synchronous controller typical pressure curve in the mold cavity shown in Fig.
To prevent the damage caused by the asynchronous 12. Therefore, this load simulator can be used for
motion of the two motors, a synchronous controller injection control experiments. The spring constants for
containing a velocity controller Kv_syn and a the spring and damper are KSpring=0.8468 N/mm and
synchronous position controller Kx_syn is employed. The KDamper=3.45 N/mm, respectively. The damping
output of the synchronous controller is expressed as: constant of the damper is CDamper=4.46 N/m/s.
usyn = K x _ syn ∆ x + K v _ syn ∆v (19) The specification of the linear motors is given in
The controller enables the force command to be Table 1, and the experimental setup is shown in Fig. 1.
dynamically tuned according to the synchronization The origin is defined as the initial position to each
errors of both velocity and position to reduce the risk on injection process so that the injector operates on the
damage of the system. The designed controller negative side to the origin. During the entire injection
Kx_syn=99.73 and Kv_syn=0.06. process, there are a number of control switchovers
based on position of the injector. Three velocity control
3.3 Force command regulator phases are arranged in the filling stage, and force
As shown in Fig. 9, ideally, the following equation control is employed in the packing/holding/cooling
should be satisfied to achieve an identical output stage. The filling-to-packing switchover is based on the
response of the two motors (in order to improve the estimation of the designed observer. On completion of
synchronization ability): cooling, the motor will be switched to position control
u2G2 = u1G1 (20) for returning to initial position for next injection cycle.
Thus, It is noted that control for melting material and feeding
K2 K1 into the barrel through a hopper is not the target of this
K c u1 = u1 (21) study, and the position control here is only for the
s + p2 s + p1
injector returning to the initial position.
K1 s + p2
Kc = (22) The entire stroke is 120 mm (0 mm to -120 mm).
K 2 s + p1 The velocity is arranged to be -300mm/s for the position
From (22), the controller can be tuned based on the of 0 mm to -20mm, -900mm/s for -20 mm to -80mm,
characteristics of the two motors. and -600mm/s for beyond -80 mm. As shown in Fig. 14,
the red dotted line is the command and the blue solid
3.4 Design of Observer
line is the output response of motor 1. The velocities
The disturbance observer combines the low
required for filling are successfully achieved (before
acceleration estimator (LAE) and the Luenberger
0.23 s). The motor is then switched to force control
observer [10], as shown in Fig. 10. The closed-loop
based on the observed load force that represents the
transfer function for the LAE part is compared to a
prescribed cavity pressure. In this condition, the
standard second order system, thus:
observed load force dramatically rises due to the contact
K o1
= (23) with the damper and the spring, as shown in Fig. 15.
s 2 + K o 2 s + K1o s 2 + 2ζω n s + ω n
The durations for packing/holding and cooling are set to
Thus, be 1 s and 0.5 s, respectively. The injectors are then
moved back to the initial position by position control, as
 K o1 = ω n

 (24) the position response shown in Fig. 14. This will

 K o 2 = 2ζω n complete an injection cycle. The estimated load curve in
The parameters of the LAE can be obtained after Fig. 15 is similar to the typical mold cavity pressure
determining the damping ratio and the close-loop curve (Fig. 12), which again verifies the effectiveness
bandwidth (Ko1=8882.6, Ko2=133.3). A test is conducted of the load simulator and the observer.
to verify the designed observer. As shown in Fig. 11, The synchronization error of position between the
the comparison between the observer and the two linear motors is shown in Fig. 16, where the results
measurement verifies the performance of the observer. with and without the synchronous controller are
Finally, a decision maker is designed for control compared. As can be seen, the maximum
mode switching during the injection process. synchronization error is reduced by 86%, from -10~70
μm to -7.5~10μm with the synchronous controller,
4. Experimental Studies
whose effectiveness is thus verified.
The typical pressure curve in a mold cavity is shown
in Fig. 12. To generate such a load behavior, a load 5. Conclusion
simulator containing a two-phase spring and a damper The application of dual linear motors and their
is adopted, as shown in Fig. 1. The load condition for synchronous control to electric injection molding
filling can be realized when the dual motor unit makes a machine has been successfully implemented in this
contact with the spring solely (i.e., spring constant 1) paper. A system identification method was proposed for
while that for packing through holding/cooling is modeling the two mechanically coupled parallel motors
performed after contacting the damper (i.e., spring and verified to be accurate by experiment. A load
constant 2, combining the spring constants of the spring simulator consisting of a set of springs and a damper
and damper). The damper also provides a resistant force was used to realize the load condition of the injection
with respect to the speed of the injector. By the process. A disturbance observer was designed to
measured spring constants and damping, the load curve estimate the thrust of the injector through an injection
can be presented in Fig.13, which is similar to the
2008 第六屆全國精密製造研討會論文集 崑山科技大學 台南、永康
中華民國九十七年十一月八日 論文編號:A09-37

cycle. This estimation has been successfully applied to F̂2

filling-to-packing switchover control. For precisely
controlling the injector, a synchronous control scheme
with a force command regulator and a synchronous
controller was designed. The experimental results have
demonstrated the performance and presented the
feasibility of the proposed control system applied to
electric injection molding machines. Consequently, the
demand for large thrust linear motors can be reduced
when applying the proposed system to practical F̂1
6. References Fig. 2 Model of the mechanical coupling
1. Y. B. Bang and S. Ito, “Linear motor drive u2 F2 1 v2
ultrahigh-speed injection moulding machine”, +- m2 s + B2
Proceedings of the I MECH E Part B Journal of
Engineering Manufacture, vol. 216, no. 5, pp. 773-781, c2s+k2
2002 1 +

2. M. F. Hsieh, C. J. Tung, W. S. Yao, and M. C. s -

Wu, ”Servo design of a vertical axis drive using dual c1s+k1
linear motors for high speed electric discharge
machining”, International Journal of Machine Tools and u1 F1 + 1 v1
Manufacture, vol. 47, no. 3-4, pp. 546-554, 2007 Kt1
+ m1 s + B1

3. P. Sarachik, J. R. Ragazzini, “A 2-dimensional Fig. 3 Block diagram for the coupled dual motor system
feedback control system,” Transaction of the AIEE vol.
76(2), pp. 55-61, 1957 s + p2
4. R. D. Lorenz and P. B. Schmidt, “Synchronized G2 cs + d
motion control for process automation”, Proceedings of s 2 + p2 s
the 1989 IEEE Industry Applications Annual
5. FANUC, Parameter manual of a-series AC servo
as + b
motor, FANUC, 1994 G*
s 2 + p1 s 1
6. SIEMENS, 840D/FM-NC Description of functions,
special functions (Part 3), SIEMENS, 1999 K1
s + p1
7. Y. B. Bang and K. M. Lee, “Large thrust linear
motors for low-duty-cycle operation”, Mechatronics,
Fig. 4 Simplified diagram for the coupled system
vol. 14, pp. 891-906, 2004
8. Y. B. Bang and K. M. Lee, “Linear motor for ejector
mechanism,” International Journal of Advanced
Manufacturing Technology, vol. 24, pp. 582-589, 2004
9. G. Ellis, “PDFF: An evaluation of a velocity loop
control method”, PCIM-Europe, 1999.
10. K. S. Wu, Design and realization of differential and
power-assisted control for power chairs, Master Thesis,
National Cheng Kung University, 2005.
7. Chart arrangement Fig. 5 Process for verification of system model

Fig. 1 Investigated system with load simulator Fig. 6 Response for command fed to motor 1
2008 第六屆全國精密製造研討會論文集 崑山科技大學 台南、永康
中華民國九十七年十一月八日 論文編號:A09-37

Fig. 7 Response for command fed to motor 2 Fig. 8 Response for command fed to both motors






Fig. 9 Proposed complete control system



θ α̂ 1 ω̂ 1 θˆ
s s

Time (sec)

Fig. 10 Disturbance observer Fig. 11 Comparison of measurement and observer

2008 第六屆全國精密製造研討會論文集 崑山科技大學 台南、永康

Fig. 12 Typical mold cavity pressure

Fig. 16 Synchronous error with and without
synchronous controller

Table 1 Specification of Linear Motors

Num. Unit
Continuous Stall Force 80 N
Peak Force 240 N
Stall Current Continuous 3.6 Amp.
Peak Current 10.8 Amp
Voltage Constant 25.6 Volts/m/s
Force Constant 22.17 N/Amp Peak

Fig. 13 The load curve of load simulator
1 2 3
謝旻甫 、姚武松 、王盛篁

Fig. 14 Motor 1 output response in an injection cycle 兩者得以共同出力,做為射出所需之力。因此,可比
Load force (N)


Fig. 15 The observed load curve for an injection cycle 關鍵字 : 線型馬達,同動控制,射出成型,保壓切