Testing and comparative analysis of control concepts are central to the development and validation of mechatronic systems. Co-simulations of the experimental system and its digital twin allow validation of properties and validation of controllers and models under realistic conditions.
The mechanical setup consists of a glass plate and a ball (steel sphere). The plate can be tilted horizontally by two servos to control the movement of the ball. The position of the ball is tracked by an Intel Real Sense camera. The goal of the ball-on-plate system is to stabilize the ball in a certain position on the plate, or along a reference trajectory, by continuously adjusting the tilt of the plate. Based on deviation of the ball from the desired position, the controller calculates the manipulated variables of the servos to tilt the plate. The ball-on-plate system is an example of an unstable track, which leads to uncontrolled movements of the ball if the control is inadequate.
The Ball-On-Plate demonstrator allows students in robotics, automation, and control engineering to practically explore simple and advanced control concepts such as model predictive control. It provides students with initial experience in control engineering during internships and to deepen this experience in later project and thesis work.