Date & Venue
Friday, 08 March 2019, 02:00pm

Motion control has been used in automation applications such as numerically controlled machine tools for many years.  With the advent of low cost microelectronics, motion control has spread into new products that often require extremely high performance position control.  Examples of this are hard drives head positioning, letter sorting machines, or reduction steppers in the silicone chip industries.  This talk will present challenges and solutions in two high speed position control applications.  First, electromagnetic actuation of gas exchange valves for internal combustion engines is presented.  This technology requires accelerations close to 100g.  At the same time, extremely accurate position control is required in order to ensure low acoustic emissions when the valves are seated.  Three different solutions will be presented that highlight the trade-offs when developing either a simple mechanical design or a simple control system. The second application originally aimed to improve the accuracy and reliability of automotive piezoelectric fuel injectors.  Due to space limitations, this application does not allow for dedicated position sensors.  After a brief introduction to the physics and modelling that describes impedance changes of piezoeletric actuators, position and force sensing algorithms based on this phenomenon will be presented. Outside of automotive fuel injectors, these algorithms also have other potential applications such as microscopes, beam steering, or droplet dispensers. 

Speaker Biography
During his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Dr Seethaler studied real-time optimisation of metal cutting operations.  In 1997, Dr Seethaler joined BMW’s engine research department in Munich, where he was tasked with developing mechatronic systems to enhancing engine efficiency.  His main focus was on electromagnetic valves where he received numerous patents.  In 2006, Dr Seethaler joined the University of British Columbia where his research interests continue to focus on mechatronic applications such as electromagnetic valve drives, health monitoring and control of piezoelectric fuel injectors, and high speed control of machine tools.