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Coordinated Motion Control for Industrial Boomlifts



Richard J. Norcross, Robert Bunch


This project coordinated the motions of the individual actuators on an industrial boomlift. The work was funded by the U.S. Navy ManTech Program to augment the Navy's development of an environmentally friendly paint stripper. The project successfully developed cost effective coordinated control, implemented that control on a commercial boomlift, and demonstrated the motion profiles required to support the Navy's new paint stripper. The project addressed intuitive motion of large manipulators using low cost servo equipment. Intuitive motion follows the dominant features necessitating the motion. In open space, the lift is dominant and up is vertical while right is a clockwise swing of the boom tip. When the tool approaches a work area, the spatial organization of the area becomes dominant and the intuitive command to the right moves the basket along a straight line to the right. Finally, when close to a surface, the surface contours are dominant and up and right produce motions along those contours. The distances between the boomlift's actuators cause wiring and signal problems when using central controllers. The retrofit, therefore, employed individual servo controllers distribued along a sensor/actuator bus. To reduce costs, boomlifts use digital proportional valves which lack the response of typical servo equipment. The project achieved satisfactory control with these valves through the merging of multiple control laws. Coordinated Motion control is a generic technology which enhances the usefulness of large manipulators. The anticipated processing rate for the Navy's paint stripper is 20% greater with coordinated control. Coordinated control causes no degradation of the boomlifts's abilities and has reasonable cost. Coordinated motion of large manipulators can be further refined to provide additional performance improvements for other Naval and commercial applications.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


Aerial Work Platforms, Aerial Work Platforms, Boomlifts, Boomlifts, Distributed Motion Control, Distributed Motion Control, Inexpensive Servoes, Inexpensive Servoes, Large Manipulators, Large Manipulators, Paint Stripping, Paint Stripping


Norcross, R. and Bunch, R. (2004), Coordinated Motion Control for Industrial Boomlifts, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created December 30, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021