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Dynamic payload estimation in four wheel drive loaders



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Knowledge of the mass of the manipulated load (i.e. payload) in off-highway machines is useful information for a variety of reasons ranging from knowledge of machine stability to ensuring compliance with transportion regulations. This knowledge is difficult to ascertain however. This dissertation concerns itself with delineating the motivations for, and difficulties in development of a dynamic payload weighing algorithm. The dissertation will describe how the new type of dynamic payload weighing algorithm was developed and progressively overcame some of these difficulties. The payload mass estimate is dependent upon many different variables within the off-highway vehicle. These variables include static variability such as machining tolerances of the revolute joints in the linkage, mass of the linkage members, etc as well as dynamic variability such as whole-machine accelerations, hydraulic cylinder friction, pin joint friction, etc. Some initial effort was undertaken to understand the static variables in this problem first by studying the effects of machining tolerances on the working linkage kinematics in a four-wheel-drive loader. This effort showed that if the linkage members were machined within the tolerances prescribed by the design of the linkage components, the tolerance stack-up of the machining variability had very little impact on overall linkage kinematics. Once some of the static dependent variables were understood in greater detail significant effort was undertaken to understand and compensate for the dynamic dependent variables of the estimation problem. The first algorithm took a simple approach of using the kinematic linkage model coupled with hydraulic cylinder pressure information to calculate a payload estimate directly. This algorithm did not account for many of the aforementioned dynamic variables (joint friction, machine acceleration, etc) but was computationally expedient. This work however produced payload estimates with error far greater than the 1% full scale value being targeted. Since this initial simplistic effort met with failure, a second algorithm was needed. The second algorithm was developed upon the information known about the limitations of the first algorithm. A suitable method of compensating for the non-linear dependent dynamic variables was needed. To address this dilemma, an artificial neural network approach was taken for the second algorithm. The second algorithm’s construction was to utilise an artificial neural network to capture the kinematic linkage characteristics and all other dynamic dependent variable behaviour and estimate the payload information based upon the linkage position and hydraulic cylinder pressures. This algorithm was trained using emperically collected data and then subjected to actual use in the field. This experiment showed that that the dynamic complexity of the estimation problem was too large for a small (and computationally feasible) artificial neural network to characterize such that the error estimate was less than the 1% full scale requirement. A third algorithm was required due to the failures of the first two. The third algorithm was constructed to ii take advantage of the kinematic model developed and utilise the artificial neural network’s ability to perform nonlinear mapping. As such, the third algorithm developed uses the kinematic model output as an input to the artificial neural network. This change from the second algorithm keeps the network from having to characterize the linkage kinematics and only forces the network to compensate for the dependent dynamic variables excluded by the kinematic linkage model. This algorithm showed significant improvement over the previous two but still did not meet the required 1% full scale requirement. The promise shown by this algorithm however was convincing enough that further effort was spent in trying to refine it to improve the accuracy. The fourth algorithm developed proceeded with improving the third algorithm. This was accomplished by adding additional inputs to the artificial neural network that allowed the network to better compensate for the variables present in the problem. This effort produced an algorithm that, when subjected to actual field use, produced results very near the 1% full scale accuracy requirement. This algorithm could be improved upon slightly with better input data filtering and possibly adding additional network inputs. The final algorithm produced results very near the desired accuracy. This algorithm was also novel in that for this estimation, the artificial neural network was not used soley as the means to characterize the problem for estimation purposes. Instead, much of the responsibility for the mathematical characterization of the problem was placed upon a kinematic linkage model that then fed it’s own payload estimate into the neural network where the estimate was further refined during network training with calibration data and additional inputs. This method of nonlinear state estimation (i.e. utilising a neural network to compensate for nonlinear effects in conjunction with a first principles model) has not been seen previously in the literature.



Estimation, Neural Network, Dynamic



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering



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