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ASME District F - Early Career Technical Conference Proceedings

ASME District F - Early Career Technical Conference, ASME District F ECTC 2013
November 2 3, 2013 - Birmingham, Alabama USA

DESIGN AND CONTROL OF A LEG PRESS TRAINING MACHINE FOR WHOLE


BODY VIBRATION
Adetayo C. Faminu and Yong Zhu
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30458

ABSTRACT
Whole body vibration is the use of vibrating mediums to
heal, strengthen, and/or increase the flexibility in various parts
of the body. A passive leg press device was designed to key
these features to parts specifically found in the leg. This study
was conducted by controlling a pneumatic bellows cylinder, in
fluctuating in its height fast and far enough to be at the required
frequency to be considered a useful whole body vibration table.
An xPC target based control system was implemented so that
the control logic can be easily programmed, parameters can be
easily adjusted and good real-time performance can be
achieved. Both simulation and experimental results
demonstrated that the bellows cylinder position control was
feasible. However, the motion frequency was far below what a
vibration table would normally require since the thrust force
provided by the bellows cylinder far exceeds the intended load.
In the future, this might be partially mitigated if the subject
were able to bend and press down, which would create a
downward force of 2-3 times of body weight.
INTRODUCTION
Whole body vibration is the use of vibrating mediums to
heal, strengthen, and/or increase the flexibility in various parts
of the body. Whole body vibration has been widely used in
training [1][2][3][4][5][7] and rehabilitation [6] research. There
are required frequencies and changes in height of the vibrating
table for it to be an efficient and effective tool. Various studies
have proven that this form of exercise and training can be very
beneficial as opposed to traditional ways of exercise such as
resistive training for example. The only downside is that there
is no cardio involved with passive leg press training in the form
of whole body vibration, so a subroutine to include cardio
would be needed in the exercise routine of the individual.
Below is a look into the various studies that have been done
with whole body vibration and passive leg press training.
Previous research indicates that vibration exercise may
generally help improve flexibility, jump height, muscle power
and range of motion. A passive leg press training machine was
designed by Liu et al. [1] using an electrical motor, which
provided periodic motions between 0.5 and 2.5 Hz. The study

ASME District F - ECTC 2013 Proceedings - Vol. 12

tried to show that passive high contraction velocity can increase


muscle power and speed. Peer et al. [2] studied that
biomechanical muscle vibration using a commercial whole
body vibration device appeared to have significant acute
benefits for improving flexibility in healthy adults with ankle or
hamstring injuries. Trans et al. [3] used whole body vibration
exercise to improve muscle strength for women with
osteoarthritis in the knee. Melnyk et al. [4] showed that whole
body vibration appeared to have a positive effect on knee joint
stability. Annino et al. [5] further demonstrated that whole body
vibration training may be an effective and safe training strategy
to improve the muscle power in high-level ballet students.
Vargas [6] showed that whole body vibration can be used as a
rehabilitation tool for patients recovering from Anterior
Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries. Van den Tillaars research
[7] also indicated that whole body vibration may help improve
range of motion of hamstrings.
Commercial whole body vibration devices usually operate
up to very high frequencies, e.g. 30 Hz with 10 mm amplitude.
This study will be conducted by trying to control an actuator,
more specifically a bellows cylinder, in fluctuating in its height
fast and far enough to be at the required frequency to be
considered a useful vibration table. The bellows actuator we
will be using is a Festo single-bellows cylinder, which
traditionally is used in passive or active suspensions for highfrequency vibration isolation [8]. To the best of our knowledge,
there is almost no research that has been done in terms of using
a pneumatic bellows cylinder as an active actuator for whole
body vibration. This study would try to bridge this gap and
explore the possibility and advantages of using a pneumatic
bellows cylinder to drive a whole body vibration device for
training or rehabilitation purposes.
The paper is organized as follows. First, the mechanical
design of the whole body vibration table will be presented.
Then, the real time control system will be presented. After that,
simulation and experimental results will be given to
demonstrate the feasibility and limitation of controlling the
pneumatic bellows cylinder. Conclusions are drawn at the end.

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MECHANICAL DESIGN
A prototype design showing the basic setup for the passive
leg press trainer was created using SolidWorks. It consists of a
bellows cylinder with a bottom and top plate attached to it.
Both the bottom and top plates consist of four holes each that
allow the attachment of a mechanical connector. The top plate
has an extra fifth whole to allow for the pneumatic connection
to the bellows cylinder. Each hole in the plates consists of a
diameter that is greater than the connection to allow for
clearance space. From the bottom plate extend two poles that
have a bar in between each other connecting them together. The
bar acts a support for test subjects to hold on to in order to
assist in generating the downward force needed from their legs
to make the passive leg press training machine useful. Figure 1
shows the front and isometric views of the basic leg press
layout. The first design was created under the thought that the
bellows cylinder would need springs to help support any
downward force put on it; this can be seen in the four open
cylinders connected to the top of the bottom plate and the four
open cylinders connected to the bottom of the top plate. To
quickly test this proof-of-concept design, the bars were not
implemented in this study.

drilled and cut through. The pre-final prototype design with


plexiglass bottom and top plates is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Pre-final prototype design with plexiglass


bottom and top plates
CONTROL DESIGN
Control technologies are applied in almost every field of
industry around the world. These control designs are made up
of models, simulations, implementations, and evaluations.
Systems can be large and complicated, but the use of real-time
control allows for control experiments to become simple. In our
control system design, Simulink is used as the graphical user
interface while the xPC Target supports I/O hardware via its
block diagrams that can be integrated to the Simulink models.
Real-time environments do an excellent job of bridging the gap
between simulation modeling and hardware controlling while
maintaining a good performance level.

Figure 1: Front view and isometric view of the prototype


design

Figure 3: Overall system design schematic diagram

In order to have a functional prototype, a bottom and top


plate were needed. The bottom plate assists in preventing the
bellows cylinder from tilt, while the top plate would act as a
platform for the placement of feet so test subjects can stand on
it. The plates are made out of plexiglass, a material that is
durable enough for testing the passive leg press training
machine. Plexiglass is easy to manufacture, as it can be easily

Simulink model real-time testing environments were


created by connecting a host computer, target computer and any
hardware that is undergoing the experimental tests together. The
advantage of PC usage is in its computing power, flexibility,
and expandability. The host computer runs the Simulink
models, xPC Target, and a C compiler. The host computer is
then linked to the target computer via an Ethernet cable. The
target computer is then connected to the hardware via a NI

ASME District F - ECTC 2013 Proceedings - Vol. 12

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SCB-68A I/O board. The host computer is the medium used to


design and model in Simulink, the target computer runs the
Simulink model in real-time with the xPC Target, and then the
hardware, i.e. actuators, sensors and valves, are controlled by
the system. By creating a real-time control system, the
hardware is controlled using the model created in Simulink.
The overall real time control system schematic is shown in
Figure 3.
xPC Target implements the Simulink model on a target
computer for hardware simulation, real-time testing solutions,
rapid control prototyping, and any other real-time testing
applications. It allows for the hardware in testing to be
monitored and for the data to be logged along with parameter
tuning.
SIMULATION
Soon after we started to look at the force-stroke curves
(Figure 4) of the Festo pneumatic bellows cylinder EB-385115, we realized that the force provided by the pneumatic
bellows cylinder far exceeds our intended load.

( Ps , P) for Av 0
( Pu , Pd ) =
( P, Patm ) for Av < 0

(3)

A common mass flow rate model used for compressible gas


flowing through a valve [9] is the following:
C1C f Pu

T
( Pu , Pd ) =
C 2 C f Pu Pd (1 / k )
P

( )
1 ( d ) ( k 1) / k

Pu
Pu
T

if

Pd
C r (choked)
Pu

otherwise (unchoked)

(4)
where C f is the discharge coefficient of the valve, k is the ratio
of specific heats, Cr is the pressure ratio that divides the flow
regimes into choked and unchoked flow and C1 and C2 are
constants defined as:

C1 =

k 2 ( k +1) /( k 1)
and C 2 =
(
)
R k +1

2k
R(k 1)

(5)

According to the force-stroke curves shown in Figure 4, the


stroke is a function of the pressure P (gage pressure between
0 and 8 bar) and thrust force F :

H = f1 ( P, F )

(6)

Referring to the volume-stroke curve shown also in Figure 4,


we can represent bellows volume V as a function of stroke H
:
Figure 4: Force-stroke curves of the bellows cylinder [10].
A simulation study was first carried out to verify this. If
the pressures and volume of the bellows is P and V , the mass
, the rate of change of pressure within the
flow rate is m
bellows can be expressed as:

RT
PV
P =
m
V
V
The nonlinear relationship between the valve orifice area

(1)

Av

m can be represented as a function of


the upstream pressure Pu and downstream pressure Pd ,
and the mass flow rate

m = Av ( Pu , Pd )

(2)

where is the area normalized mass flow rate, which can be


written as:

ASME District F - ECTC 2013 Proceedings - Vol. 12

V = f2 (H )

(7)

Simulating Equations 1-7 while assuming quasi-static


condition: F = Mg , where Mg is the gravitational force of
the test subject. Since Mg is so small when compared to the
thrust forces from 1 to 8 bar in Figure 4, that it became very
challenging to control the stroke with the desired frequency and
amplitude.
A simple proportional controller was used to make the
bellows actuator track sine wave inputs. Two cases are shown
in Figures 5 and 6 with period T = 20 and 10 seconds. Note that
5 Volt input for the valve corresponds to its neutral position,
meaning the mass flow rate ideally should be zero at 5V control
voltage. Since the valve mass flow rate is limited, to keep up
with the command, the amplitude was set to be only 1 mm. It
appears in Figure 5 that the stroke position tracking is generally
acceptable. When the sine wave period is reduced to T =10 sec,
the valve becomes saturated for most of the time and the actual
output cannot keep up with the input command as shown in

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Figure 6. For both tests shown in Figures 5 and 6, the supply


pressure was kept at 40 psi.

Position (mm)

171

Simulation of below sinusoidal position tracking (T = 20 sec)


command
actual

170
169
168
167
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

20

30

40

50

60

70

20

30

40
Time (sec)

50

60

70

Pressure (kPa)

250

200

150
10

Voltage (V)

10

(Festo SPTW-P25R-G14-VD-M12) is attached to the air


chamber in order to measure the pressure in the bellows
cylinder. The bellows cylinder has a maximum tolerance of 8
bars pressure. An OTE HY3003-3 Triple output DC power
supply producing a voltage of 24 volts was used to power the
system. A linear potentiometer (Midori LP-100F) with 100 mm
maximum travel is used to measure the displacement of the
pneumatic bellows cylinder. A proportional valve (Festo
MPYE-5-M5-010-B) controls the fluid flow. An xPC Target
based real time control system shown in Figure 7 is used to
compile the Simulink model into C language. The target
application is then downloaded from the host computer via a
LAN connection (Ethernet), and the application is then
programmatically controlled by running through the target
computer. The data produced from the hardware is then
transferred back to the host computer to be evaluated as logged
signal data.

0
10

Figure 5: Simulation results of bellows actuator sinusoidal


position tracking (T=20 sec)

Position (mm)

170

Simulation of bellow sinusoidal position tracking (T =10 sec)

169.5
169
168.5
168
10

15

20

25

30

35

40

Figure 7: Testing set up with the controls and basic


components

Pressure (kPa)

250

200

150
10

15

20

25

30

35

40

15

20

25
Time (sec)

30

35

40

Voltage (V)

10

0
10

Figure 6: Simulation results of bellows actuator sinusoidal


position tracking (T=10 sec)
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
A Festo single-bellows cylinder (Festo EB-385-115) with a
piston diameter of 385 mm and stroke 115 mm was used as the
actuator for the whole body vibration device. A pressure sensor

ASME District F - ECTC 2013 Proceedings - Vol. 12

A closer look at the final prototype design with


displacement sensor attached is shown in Figure 8. An open
loop simple test was first carried out to analyze how fast the
valve was able to charge or discharge the bellows cylinder. The
valve was charged and discharged according to a pulse
generator input command that was set at an amplitude of 4.5V
(centered around 5V neutral position) with a pulse width of 50
percent of the pulse time (T = 20 seconds). This pulse setting
allowed for air to be discharged from the bellows cylinder for
10 seconds and then air to be charged back into the bellows
cylinder for another 10 seconds. The pulse width acts as a
percentage of the pulse time, and because the time was set to 20
seconds with a width of 50 percent the time for charge and
discharge was half of the time making them equal to 10
seconds. With this setting the top plate was able to rise
approximately two millimeters and decrease in height by 1.5
millimeters. This amplitude is close to being ideal for a

253

Bellow sinusoidal position tracking (T =10 sec)

52
Position (mm)

vibration table, but the frequency of the table was not high
enough. This verified our concern that the bellows cylinder
would not be able to move fast enough to serve as an effective
leg press machine and whole body vibration table.

command
actual

51
50
49
10

15

20

25

30

35

40

15

20

25

30

35

40

Pressure (kPa)

220
200
180
160
10
10
Voltage (V)

data1
5

0
10

Figure 8: Final prototype design with displacement sensor


attached.
A closed loop PID controller was created in the model to
track sine wave position command similar to the simulation
results shown in Figures 5 and 6. The experimental results
shown in Figures 9 and 10 are very similar to the simulation
results shown in Figures 5 and 6; this proves that our
understanding of the bellows cylinder was correct and verifies
that its thrust force is indeed too large for our intended load.
Bellow sinusoidal position tracking (T =20 sec)

Position (mm)

52

command
actual

51
50
49
48
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

Pressure (kPa)

220
200
180
160
10

20

30

40

50

60

70

20

30

40
Time (sec)

50

60

70

Voltage (V)

10

0
10

Figure 9: Experimental results of bellows actuator


sinusoidal position tracking (T=20 sec)

ASME District F - ECTC 2013 Proceedings - Vol. 12

15

20

25
Time (sec)

30

35

40

Figure 10: Experimental results of bellows actuator


sinusoidal position tracking (T=10 sec)
As a summary, the purpose of this experiment was to
design a control system that would allow a bellows cylinder to
act as vibration table. With the model used in Simulink, the
sinusoidal pattern of the bellows cylinders fluctuation was
created. It is possible to control the bellows cylinder to track
small amplitude and slow varying sine waves using the
proportional control valve, but not at a high enough frequency
to consider it a passive leg press training machine and whole
body vibration table. Based on these results, it was determined
that the load on the bellows cylinder was not large enough to
produce the proper amount of stroke change. The bellows
cylinder has a stiffness so large that when a person stands on it,
it is as if a miniscule load has been applied. In the future, this
might be partially mitigated if the subject were able to bend and
press down, which would normally create 2-3 times of body
weight. This feature was not implemented in the current design.
CONCLUSION
The greatest challenge of this study was trying to control
the bellows cylinder into fluctuating at a high enough frequency
to work as a useful leg press trainer. Though we were able to
get the actuator to change its height by charging and
discharging air into the system, we were unable to do so at a
fast enough frequency, one needed to be considered a useful
passive leg press trainer. The size of the valves may also need
to increase in order to allow enough air to flow in and out the
bellows cylinder causing a rapid increase and decrease in the
position of the top plate. Another future goal to mitigate this is
to implement the vertical bars so that the test subject could
bend and press hard downward to create a 2-3 times larger load
on the bellows cylinder.

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Overall, it appears that pneumatic bellows actuators,


especially the ones with large thrust force like we have been
using, may not be a good choice to be used as a relatively high
frequency actuator due to its intrinsic natural compliance and
requiring large load and large flow rate to achieve a fast stroke
change.
REFERENCES
[1] Liu, C., Chen C.-S., Ho W.-H., Fle R. J., Chung P.-H., and
Shiang T.-Y., 2013, The effects of Passive Leg Press
Training on Jumping Performance, Speed, and Muscle
Power, J Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(6), pp.
1479-1486.
[2] Peer, K. S., Barkley, J. E., and Knapp, D. M., 2009, The
Acute Effects of Local Vibration Therapy on Ankle Sprain
and Hamstring Strain Injuries, The Physician and Sports
Medicine, 37(4), pp. 31-38.
[3] Trans, T., Aaboe, J., Henriksen, M., Christensen, R.,
Bliddal, H., and Lund, H., 2009, Effect of Whole Body
Vibration Exercise on Muscle Strength and Proprioception
in Females with Knee Osteoarthritis, The Knee, 16(4), pp.
256-261.
[4] Melnyk, M., Kofler, B., Faist, M., Hodapp, M., Gollhofer,
A., 2008, Effect of a Whole-Body Vibration Session on

ASME District F - ECTC 2013 Proceedings - Vol. 12

Knee Stability, Int J Sports Medicine, 29(10), pp. 839844.


[5] Annino, G., et al., 2007, Effect of Whole Body Vibration
Training on Lower Limb Performance in Selected High
Level Ballet Students, J Strength and Conditioning
Research, 21(4), pp. 1072-1076.
[6] Vargas, S.R., 2011, Whole Body Vibration in Anterior
Cruciate Ligament Rehabilitation, Masters thesis in
Health and Human Movement, Utah State University.
[7] Van den Tillaar, R., 2006, Will Whole-Body Vibration
Training Help Increase the Range of Motion of the
Hamstrings? J Strength and Conditioning Research, 20(1),
pp. 192-196.
[8] Porumamilla, H., 2007, Modeling, Analysis and Nonlinear Control of a Novel Pneumatic Semi-active Vibration
Isolator: A Concept Validation Study, Ph.D. dissertation in
Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University.
[9] Richer, E., and Hurmuzlu, Y., 2000, A High Performance
Pneumatic Force Actuator System: Part I-Nonlinear
Mathematical Model, ASME J Dynamic Systems,
Measurement and Control, 122(3), pp. 416-425.
[10] Festo manual of bellows cylinders EB/EBS, available at
http://www.festo.com/cat/fi_fi/data/doc_engb/PDF/EN/EBEBS_EN.PDF

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