This paper discusses the application of second order mode controls to hydraulic valve-cylinder drives with a special focus on the limitations resulting from nonlinear dynamic effects in flow control valves. Second order sliding mode algorithms appear highly attractive in the successive implementation of sliding mode control, achieving continuous control inputs, while maintaining the main properties of sliding modes. Under certain model assumptions, some of these controllers may even be applied as output feedback controllers. However, intrinsic nonlinear dynamic effects of hydraulic valves such as slew rates and time delays arising in the amplification stages, limits the applicability of such methods, and may lead to partial losses of robustness and limit cycles. These properties are analyzed and experimentally verified, and compensation methods are proposed. The application of the second order sliding algorithm known as the super twisting controller is considered for output feedback control and compared with conventional first order sliding mode control. The controllers under consideration are applied for position tracking control of a hydraulic valve-cylinder drive exhibiting strong variations in inertia- and gravitational loads. Results demonstrate that the super twisting algorithm may be successfully applied for output feedback control of hydraulic valve-cylinder drives, with modifications guaranteeing robust control performance in a small vicinity of the control target.

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