Mechatronic integration facilitates control system design

A new approach for control system design uses mechatronic integration. Prior to modifying the feed-drive module of a 5-axis machining center, a full simulation model was automatically generated from the construction assembly model. Preparation, modification, and testing were all in the Matlab/Simulink environment, streamlining the process.


Figure 1: An AVIA 5-axis machining center is shown (left) with its rigid multi-body model in SolidWorks software (right). Courtesy: Avia FOP, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Poznan University of TechnologyIn metalworking machine tools, a new era is beginning for the design of control algorithms to ensure high-quality work. Full integration of software tools (from project design to final implementation of control system) for machine tool controls development is inevitable.

Project X-5

The project involved advanced simulation research into the design and development of the family of high-performance, versatile 5-axis machining centers with X-type 5, providing unique characteristics and technological opportunities. The project was carried out by a consortium composed of machine tool Polish vendor FOP AVIA, Poznań University of Technology, and West Pomeranian University of Technology. Integration of CAD/CAM tools with the Matlab/Simulink environment provided advantages for prototyping new algorithms for control of feed drive modules.

Figure 2: A variant of the feed drive is shown with pairs of linear motors (two pairs in X axis, one pair in Y axis). Courtesy: Avia FOP, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Poznan University of Technology

Construction of feed drive variants

Construction assembly of a new machining center was prepared with SolidWorks software integrated development environment (IDE).

The so-called virtual modifications have been done to the feed drives of machine tools by providing synchronous linear motors within the project. Siemens 1FN series linear motors models that can be driven with Heidenhain's iTN530 CNC system were used during the new feed drives variant design for the X-5 machining center.

Figure 3 shows the visualization of the controlled plant (a), model of drive control system (b), and rigid multi-body model of the machining center construction (c). Courtesy: Avia FOP, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Poznan University of Techno

Matlab/Simulink modeling

Design calculations and modifications were introduced into dynamic simulation models, taking into account the modification of the structure and characteristics of the cascaded servo control system (position-velocity-current) typical for the application of digital control of drives in CNC machines.

Figure 4 shows a computer simulation example. The set position in Z axis was changed as shown.

Figure 4 provides simulation test results, spindle displacement in the Z axis. Courtesy: Avia FOP, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Poznan University of Technology

Project flow: Feed-drive module variant

Figure 5 shows the complete workflow schema on a new variant of the feed-drive unit for machine tool type X-5.

Figure 5 shows the design scheme for virtual development of a new feed drive module variant. Courtesy: Avia FOP, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Poznan University of Technology

Using a mechatronic approach [considering mechanical and electrical components together in an integrated design] and automatic code generation of the Simulink/SimMechanics model from the prepared SolidWorks assembly allowed the project team to effectively compare and analyze the feed drive variants.

Software for mechatronic design

The software tools enabled the mechatronic design of new variants for the feed drive module actuators in the 5-axis machining center. Matlab/Simulink functionality helped create a set of optimization scenarios and criteria as the basis for future research.

The X-5 machining center was honored with the Gold Medal Award of the Mach-Tool International Fair in Poznań, Poland, in 2013, as one of the most innovative machining centers. While the linear motor feed drive variant is only a numerical prototype, calculations conducted within the project reliably reflect modern technological capabilities. The sky is the limit in the world of mechatronic design.

- Paweł Paśnicki is R&D director at AVIA FOP Warsaw, Poland; Krzysztof Pietrusewicz and Mirosław Pajor are with West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin; and Roman Staniek is with Poznan University of Technology. They also contribute to Control Engineering Poland. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering,


At the bottom of this file see other linked advanced controls articles from these researchers. 

At, see other global contributions from Control Engineering.

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