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Shock and Vibration
Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 101-126

A Novel Low-Torque Ball Re-Positioning Scheme Based on a Sliding-Mode Ball Observer for an Automatic Balancer System

Paul C.-P. Chao, Chi-Wei Chiu, and Kai-Teng Shih

Department of Electrical and Control Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan

Received 7 February 2006

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A novel low-torque ball re-positioning scheme based on a sliding-mode ball observer is developed in this study with the aim to precisely reside the rolling ball inside an automatic balancer system (ABS) to its desired position – 180 degree opposite to the inherent imbalance of the rotating system which the ABS is attached to. In this way, the ABS is capable of substantially reducing radial vibrations of the rotating system for a decent balancing. For preliminary feasibility, the case of a single ball is considered in this study. The first step is to establish the dynamic model of the system, which is followed by the analysis to ensure stability of the desired ball position. The second step is to forge a sliding-mode observer for estimating on-line position and velocity of the ball. With ball estimation capability, a low-torque speed regulator that essentially generates a series of speed drops to the neighborhood of suspension resonance is proposed to overcome practical ball rolling friction for residing the ball at the desired position. The design characteristic of low-torque required for the regulator is particularly suited to most of commercial spindle motors which can only output limited torques at high speeds. Finally, simulations and experiments are conducted for a benchmark problem of optical disc drives in order to verify the effectiveness of the proposed scheme of the sliding-mode observer and the low-torque speed regulator.