The performance of machines and mechanical systems based on an evaluation of their theoretical design is often less than is optimally expected due to manufacturing errors, clearance, play in the machanism connections, wear, thermal gradients and unstable material properties. Yet the problem of identifying the sources of the poor performance based on available measured data has been treated essentially by trial and error methods. This study applies mathematical methods drawn from recently developed computer optimization techniques to identify the sources of this poor performance based on an examination of the system response.

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