Department of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Andrew Plummer

Contact details

Room: 8E2.2

Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386140

Email: a.r.plummer@bath.ac.uk

PhD supervision

Interested in supervising students studying;

  • Motion control
  • Actuators
  • Fluid Power
  • Electrohydraulic systems
  • Control system design
  • Robotics

Professor Andrew Plummer

BEng (Hons), PhD, FIMechE

Profile

Professor Plummer is Director of the Centre for Power Tranmission and Motion Control. He has a variety of research interests in the field of motion and force control, including inverse-model based control of electrohydraulic servosystems, control of parallel kinematic mechanisms, hybrid hydraulic/piezoelectric actuation, and active vehicle control.

Andrew Plummer received his PhD degree from the University of Bath in 1991, for research in the field of adaptive control of electrohydraulic systems. He worked as a research engineer for Rediffusion Simulation (now Thales Training and Simulation) from 1990, developing motion and control loading system technology, before taking up a lecturing post in Control Systems and Mechatronics at the University of Leeds in 1994.

From 1999 until 2006 he was global control systems R&D manager for Instron, manufacturers of materials and structural testing systems. Here he developed a number of novel model-based control methods for high performance electrohydraulic test systems, including crash-testing catapults, Formula One racing car test rigs, earthquake simulation tables, and both very high speed and high frequency materials test systems. He also managed the development project for a range of innovative electrodynamic materials testing machines.

He is Chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Mechatronics Informatics and Control Group, and sits on the editorial board for the IMechE Journal of Systems and Control Engineering. He is also Chair of the UK Automatic Control Council, and is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Fluid Power. He co-edits the proceedings of the annual international ASME/Bath Fluid Power and Motion Control Symposium, and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power in the USA.

Research

Efficient fluid power control

In most hydraulic fluid power systems, valves are used to throttle the flow and reduce the hydraulic pressure. This is a simple but extremely inefficient method as the excess energy is lost as heat, and it is common for more than 50% of the input power to be wasted in this way. The potential for improvement is huge; by the elimination of control valves in some flight simulator systems, the power consumption has been reduced to one tenth of the previous value, from about 50 kW to 5 kW.

We are investigating novel methods of increasing the efficiency of hydraulic systems whilst maintaining performance, cost-effectiveness, reliability and low noise. Reducing power consumption will contribute to the UK Government's commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions. However there are significant challenges. A major part of the research will be into the development of active noise attenuation techniques applied to the hydraulic fluid itself. EPSRC grant EP/H024190/1, 2010-2014, in collaboration with Instron, Parker and JCB.

Teaching units

  • Systems and Control
  • Fluid Power 

Publications

Read publications by Andrew Plummer