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Unknown and time-varying time delays in the modelling and control of hydraulic actuators: literature review

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Uncertain time-delays can reduce the performance of hydraulic manipulator control systems. Variations in the time delay between, for example, an applied voltage and the associated manipulator movement, may be caused by the internal dynamics of the system and other nonlinear characteristics, such as fluid compressibility, dead-band of the pump, valve flow properties and friction characteristics. Robot control that addresses system time-delays, nonlinearities and uncertainty is the subject of much research but, whilst the specific concept of varying time delays in hydraulic systems is sometimes acknowledged, it appears to be less widely investigated than other types of uncertainty. The present article discuses some of the issues involved, exemplified by a dual manipulator device used in the laboratory for research into nuclear decommissioning, and presents a review of the relevant control literature in this area.