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    Home : Application Briefs : Optimal Control Design of a Voice Coil Actuator Head in a Hard Drive

Optimal Control Design of a Voice Coil Actuator Head in a Hard Drive

Application Briefs
The ability to quickly and accurately access information stored on a hard drive is a crucial feature of modern computers. As the storage capacity of hard drives increases, data is stored more densely, making the data difficult to retrieve quickly and accurately. To access the stored information, modern hard drives use a voice coil actuator to position a read-write head to different tracks of the hard drive. Accurate positioning is challenging because of the inability of current control systems to physically measure the position of the head.

The challenge: To quickly and accurately position the head of a voice coil actuator in a hard drive.

The electrical engineer uses MapleSim to:
  • Create a physical model that accurately represents the behavior of the real system
  • Conduct a sensitivity analysis on the symbolic equations to investigate the influence of variations on parameters
  • Design a Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) controller, and incorporate it into the model by creating a custom component
The result is a robust controller that can tolerate parameter variations commonly experienced in the real world, while delivering a 70% improvement in disk access speed. In addition, the use of MapleSim saves time during the development process due to its combined design and documentation tools. The engineer designs the plant and controller, analyzes the system, tests the results, and documents the process in a single, integrated environment.
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