Flexible high speed machinery

  • Lee Fenney

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The thesis describes an investigation into methods for the design of flexible high-speed product processing machinery, consisting of independent electromechanically actuated machine functions which operate under software coordination and control. An analysis is made of the elements of traditionally designed cam-actuated, mechanically coupled machinery, so that the operational functions and principal performance limitations of the separate machine elements may be identified. These are then used to define the requirements for independent actuators machinery, with a discussion of how this type of design approach is more suited to modern manufacturing trends.

A distributed machine controller topology is developed which is a hybrid of hierarchical and pipeline control. An analysis is made, with the aid of dynamic simulation modelling, which confirms the suitability of the controller for flexible machinery control. The simulations include complex models of multiple independent actuators systems, which enable product flow and failure analyses to be performed.

An analysis is made of high performance brushless d.c. servomotors and their suitability for actuating machine motions is assessed. Procedures are developed for the selection of brushless servomotors for intermittent machine motions.

An experimental rig is described which has enabled the actuation and control methods developed to be implemented. With reference to this, an evaluation is made of the suitability of the machine design method and a discussion is given of the developments which are necessary for operational independent actuators machinery to be attained.
Date of AwardApr 1989
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorK. Foster (Supervisor), D.J. Holding (Supervisor) & John E.T. Penny (Supervisor)


  • Flexible machine
  • modular machine
  • independent drives
  • brushless d.c. motor

Cite this