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Robust control applied to metal spraying for rapid tooling
conference contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Pubudu PathiranaPubudu Pathirana, S Duncan, P Jones
The spray forming process is a novel method of rapidly manufacturing tools and dies for stamping and injection operations. The process sprays molten tool steel from a set of arc spray guns onto a ceramic former to build up a thick steel shell. The volumetric contraction that occurs as the steel cools is offset by a volumetric expansion taking place within the sprayed steel, which allows the dimensional accurate tools to be produced. To ensure that the required phase transformation takes place, the temperature of the steel is regulated during spraying. The sprayed metal acts both as a source of mass and a source of heat and by adjusting the rate at which metal is sprayed; the surface temperature profile over the surface of the steel can be controlled. The temperature profile is measured using a thermal imaging camera and regulated by adjusting the rate at which the guns spray the steel. Because the temperature is regulated by adjusting the feed rate to an actuator that is moving over the surface, this is an example of mobile control, which is a class of distributed parameter control. The dynamic system has been controlled using a PI controller before. The paper describes the application of H∞ tracking type controller as the desire was for the average temperature to follow a desired profile. A study on the controllability of the underlying system was aimed at.