SC4070 – Control Systems Lab


General information for academic year 2011/2012


ECTS credits: 4
Course type: MSc. (graduate level)
Period: Q3 (third quarter), S2 (second semester)


Lecturer: Alessandro Abate, DCSC, Mekelweg 2, block 8c, 4th floor, room 25, tel: 015 27 85606

Lab Assistants: Mernout Burger, DCSC, Mekelweg 2, block 8c, 3th floor, room 17, tel: 015 27 83371

ir. Hans Yoo, DCSC, Mekelweg 2, block 8c, 4th floor, room 9, tel: 015 27 84106




Lectures: 4 lectures (8 hours) in the first weeks of class. Dates and times:

Monday 06-02 2012, 3mE-CZ F (S. Stevin), 13:45-15:30
Wednesday 08-02 2012, 3mE-CZ F (S. Stevin), 15:45-17:30
Monday 13-02 2012, 3mE-CZ F (S. Stevin), 13:45-15:30
Monday 20-02 2012, 3mE-CZ F (S. Stevin), 13:45-15:30

Lab Demo:

Wednesday 15-02 2012, 3mE-5B-0-30, 15:45-17:30


Laboratory Sessions: 

Labs take place in weeks 8,10, and 11 of Q3, in 3mE-5A-0-30.

Exact dates and times will be scheduled during the first two weeks of classes.


Course Material


Course information sheet: PDF




Practical lab sessions:

·       The bearctrl.mdl Simulink model of the magnetic bearing example can also serve as a template for your own designs for the laboratory setups.


Teams for lab sessions:


Reference textbooks (not compulsory):

- G.F. Franklin, J.D. Powell & A. Emami-Naeini: Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems, (5th ed) Prentice Hall, 2002.

- K. Astrom and B. Wittenmark: Computer Controlled Systems, (3rd ed) Prentice Hall, 1997.


Course Content and Objectives


Design, practical implementation and evaluation of a digital control system:

- mechatronic laboratory systems (inverted pendulum, 'helicopter' model, inverted wedge, 'acrobot' system)

- both standard and advanced control methods (state-feedback, output-feedback, system identification, adaptive control)

- use of MATLAB/Simulink and the Real-Time toolbox


The goal is to gain hands-on experience with the design and implementation of a computer-controlled system. We will use the discrete-time approach, in which the system to be controlled is modeled both by discretizing an available continuous-time physical model and by using system identification. A systematic, MATLAB-supported design methodology is followed, using a state estimator (observer) and a state-feedback controller.


In the first two weeks, four lectures and a lab demo are given in order to refresh the theoretical and methodological background. Then, the students work in groups of three in the lab, with a setup of their choice. The assignment is stated in terms of the control objective and the mathematical model of the process to be controlled is provided. The results will be summarized in a report and a final presentation will be given. The grade is determined on the basis of the report and the presentation (i.e., there is no written exam).


The course objective is to understand computer-controlled systems in terms of design, analysis and implementation. In particular:

-        to understand discrete-time systems,

-        to be able to design sampled-data controllers,

-        to understand issues connected with implementation,

-        to be able to design and implement a controller for a simple physical process.


Course Outline



Lecture 1: Introduction. Course overview and goals. Description and mathematical models of the laboratory setups. System identification methods. Experiment design, model validation.

Lecture 2: Modeling and identification.  Mathematical modeling of physical systems, parameter estimation and tuning, model validation, simulation.

Lecture 3: Design of digital controllers. Pole placement. Observers and output feedback. More control architectures.

Lecture 4: Design of digital controllers. Recapitulation of computer-control design methodology. Design example and implementation in MATLAB / Simulink.


Lab sessions

Laboratory sessions in times according to the students’ preference (within lab availability constraints). The scheduled lecture times can be used for consulting the approach and results with the lecturers.

The lab-setups will be reserved for you according to the schedule below. If you wish to work in the lab outside these time slots, please contact the lab assistants to reserve the computer and the setup in advance. From Monday 18-03 on, you can no longer make reservations for the setups. You are welcome to work on the setup, but you just have to walk by to see if it is available.

  Crane Helicopter Inv. Pend. Inv. Pend. Rot. Pend. 1 Rot. Pend. 2
      /Wedge 1 /Wedge 2    
Mo 20-02                        
Tu 21-02   P   B F H N L Q G J S
We 22-02 O D R Y T       E      
Th 23-02       C A V   I   M   W
Fr 24-02   D                    
Mo 05-03         A              
Tu 06-03 Z   R B F H N L Q G J S
We 07-03 O P C Y T T U U E     X
Th 08-03   Z   C A V   I Q M X W
Fr 09-03   D       V       G    
Mo 12-03 D       T V U U       X
Tu 13-03 P   Y B F H N L Q G J S
We 14-03 O D R Y T   L U E   J X
Th 15-03   Z Y C A V N I   M   W
Fr 16-03 O P/D     F V L   Q G   E

AM, morning = 9:00 - 13:00 PM, afternoon = 13:00 - 17:00



Presentations and discussion of the results. A joint presentation, one per group, however each member of the group has to present a part of the results. A computer and a beamer are available. In the final week the report has to be turned in.