This paper is considering the analysis and control of a self-contained hydraulic winch drive. Winch drives are used in various industries, and especially in offshore and marine applications such as fishing vessels, active heave compensation applications, cranes, oil- and gas drilling rigs, vessels for wind turbine installation and so forth. When high loads are present, such winches are typically actuated by use of hydraulics, and a main disadvantage of hydraulic actuation compared to electrical actuation is the potentially large installation space required due to the hydraulic power unit. In this paper the analysis of- and control design for a self-contained hydraulic winch drive are considered. The drive includes a single supply pump, fixed displacement motor, flow control valve, a boot-strap reservoir and integrated boost-flow functionality. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of the highly coupled dynamics, an approach to decouple the dynamics and a robust control structure able to handle various types of loads aided by model reference generation. The motion performance and robustness properties are demonstrated through simulation results, when the system is subjected to a strongly varying external load and motion reference from an offshore wind turbine blade installation system.

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