Modeling and control of two manipulators handling a flexible object

Amer S. Al-Yahmadi*, Jamil Abdo, T. C. Hsia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Manipulating flexible objects stirs a great deal of interest due to the potential applications in industry. Most previous research work with multiple manipulators, however, focused on developing control strategies for the manipulation of rigid bodies. This paper seeks to develop simple yet practical and efficient control scheme that enables cooperating arms to handle a flexible beam. Specifically the problem studied herein is that of two arms rigidly grasping a flexible beam and capable of generating forces/moments in such a way as to move a flexible beam along a predefined trajectory. The paper develops a sliding mode control law that provides robustness against model imperfection and uncertainty. It also provides an implicit stability proof. Given the bounds of uncertainty in the model of the flexible beam and choosing a switching surface that enforces trajectory tracking, a control algorithm is designed to push the states to remain on the switching surface. Simulation results for two three joint arms moving a flexible beam are presented to validate the theoretical results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-361
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Franklin Institute
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • Cooperative manipulators
  • Sliding mode control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Applied Mathematics


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