James W. Kamman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Emeritus
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Western Michigan University
Home Up Control Demonstrator Motion Control Sled Inverted Pendulum Hand Cycle Hydraulic Bike Model

Parker Hannifin Motion and Control Laboratory

Statically-Loaded Motion Control Sled System1,2

A weighted sled system was designed (but not built) by Aaron Alberts, Doug Blower, and John Karas for their senior design project2. The current system is based on their design. The statically-loaded sled consists of the following components: trainer stand (with bed), two parallel steel tracks, a sled with pillow blocks, and a position/velocity sensor. A short description of each of the components follows.

The trainer stand (structure) is similar to an ordinary table. However, the system was designed for loads that will range between 40lbs-200lbs; therefore heavy-duty, extruded aluminum frame (40 series profile) from Parker Hannifin was used. The table has four angled supports and gussets at each joint for added rigidity. The 3 x 6 foot bed is made of two sandwiched (glued and screwed) sheets of  ¾  inch plywood.

The sled is a 10 x 16 inch rectangular steel plate with four (SSUPBO-16-XS) pillow blocks, a clevis bracket for connecting to a hydraulic cylinder, and two long bolts to constrain the load (10-20 lb rectangular plates). The pillow blocks ride on SRA-16-XS rails from NB Corporation. Each rail is 42 inches long and is capable of withstanding a maximum load of about 1000 lbs. The position and velocity of the sled are measured by an analog R-series Magnetostrictive sensor manufactured by MTS. It has a length of 40 inches with an operating voltage range of -10V to +10V and a resolution of 0.0006 inches.

      The rod eye of the cylinder fits into the clevis bracket attached to the sled. Care was taken to mount the cylinder as parallel to the rails as possible. Moreover, there is a small amount of swivel in the rod eye to compensate for misalignment.


1. Manik Kapoor, “Statically Loaded Motion Control System,” Master’s Thesis, Western Michigan University, August 2007.

2. Aaron Alberts, Doug Blower, and John Karas, “Design of a Variable Sliding Mass Motion Control Test Machine,” Senior Design Project Report, Western Michigan University, April 2003.

Statically Loaded Sled System

Manik Kapoor with Motion Control System