The performance of a single link, very flexible manipulator using two different position control systems was studied. A standard PD feedback control was considered along with PD plus position times velocity feedback. An analytical model of the plant was identified and computer simulations using the two controllers were performed. The results clearly showed a decrease in control effort for the system using nonlinear control when compared to a similar response for the system using PD control. Experimental results on a slewing beam system verified this result. The system using the proposed nonlinear feedback control required significantly less energy to complete the same maneuver as the system using the standard PD feedback control. Other measures of performance (e.g. rise time, settling time, overshoot) were slightly improved when the nonlinear feedback was added to the controller.

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