Position estimation in solenoid actuators

Muhammed Fazlur Rahman, Chow Norbert Cheung, Khiang Wee Lim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a novel method of estimating the position of a plunger inside a solenoid. The solenoid is a single-phase variable reluctance actuator, with a highly nonlinear magnetic circuit. For the proposed method, position is estimated indirectly through the solenoid's incremental inductance in the high current region. It exploits the advantage that motional electromotive force (EMF) is negligible under normal operating condition. The incremental inductance is obtained from the rate of current rise of the pulse-width modualed (PWM) waveform, which in turn, is measured by a dedicated current rise measurement circuit. Position is estimated from a two dimensional look up table of incremental inductance and current. The method is simulated and then implemented on a typical industrial solenoid valve. Factors which affect the accuracy of the estimation and methods of overcoming them arc also described in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-559
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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