The research group „System Control and Monitoring” develops methods for monitoring and optimal control of aircraft subsystems. In this context, the main focus is set on electromechanical actuation systems. Electromechanical actuators yield a high potential to become to main technology for driving control surfaces of primary and secondary flight control systems, to extent and retract the landing gear and for many other aerospace applications. The research activities are subdivided into the topics “System Monitoring” and “System Control”.
Research area “System Monitoring”
Failure of actuation systems may lead to critical consequences. Even if jeopardizing of the whole aircraft may be limited by implementing redundant systems, system failure may cause high cost due to unscheduled maintenance activities. For this reason it is desirable to early predict a future system failure, to minimize maintenance cost by scheduling the necessary work to an optimal date. For this reason, the working group researches for diagnostics methods to detect faults in a system in a very early state. The main aim is to develop algorithms for system monitoring, which provide a sufficient prognostics horizon to enable for cost efficient maintenance. The algorithms are developed to exploit the signals of already existing sensors in the system, and thereby minimize or even eliminate the need for additional monitoring sensors, to not unnecessarily increase operational cost. To achieve those goals, signal theoretical and model based approaches are investigated, modified and refined and combined for the special needs arising from this demanding application.
Research area „System Control“
Within this research area modern control methods are applied for optimal control of aircraft subsystems, whereby electromechanical actuation systems are specifically addressed. Main objectives are energy efficiency and fault tolerance whilst maintaining specified system performance. Besides the investigation of control schemes for single actuators, also the joint operation of several actuators on a control surface, necessary to fulfill redundancy requirements, is covered by the current research activities. In case of joint actuator configurations, force fight minimization as well as maintaining specified system performance in case of the presence of any fault is additionally in the scope of the research activities.