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Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

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Mechatronics
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/mechatronics

Transmission control for power-shift agricultural tractors: Design


and end-of-line automatic tuning
Mara Tanelli a,, Giulio Panzani a, Sergio M. Savaresi a, Carlo Pirola b
a
Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
b
SAME Deutz-Fahr Group, Viale F. Cassani, 15, 24047 Treviglio (Bergamo), Italy

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This paper addresses the analysis and design of the transmission control system for a high-power
Received 24 May 2010 power-shift agricultural tractor. Specically, all the criticalities involved with the correct management
Accepted 14 November 2010 of both single clutch and double clutch gear shifts are investigated, and a control system capable of
Available online 8 December 2010
providing good shifting performance in all operating conditions is proposed. Further, to comply with
components tolerances and spreads in the production line, an automatic procedure for the end-of-line
Keywords: tuning of the transmission control system is proposed to objectively classify the quality of the gear shift
Power-shift transmission
and automatically optimize it. The suitability of the proposed approach is thoroughly tested on an instru-
Agricultural tractors
Automotive systems
mented vehicle.
End-of-line tuning 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction and motivation clutch transmissions control for ground vehicles are available,
see e.g., [38,15], but very little has been done on specic solutions
Agricultural vehicles have to cope with working conditions for agricultural tractors. This is mainly due to the fact that agricul-
which are more complex and demanding than those experienced tural vehicles have very specic performance specications due to
by other ground vehicles, [10]. In fact, agricultural vehicles are the very broad range of working conditions and variability of the
essentially designed to work at low speed while providing large vehicle load, which make the gear shift optimal performance de-
traction forces. Moreover, their ease of moving on uneven soil nition different from that of ground vehicles. As a matter of fact,
makes them suitable also for heavy trailers transportation. To en- the main constraints are the repeatability of the manoeuvre and
sure the maximum exibility of use at each speed and to exploit the comfort of the driver on all working grounds, which vary from
the maximum engine power available in all working conditions, asphalt roads to rough off-road terrains. Also the load distribution
nowadays agricultural vehicles are often equipped with a so-called in tractors is much different than for other vehicles, due to the fact
power-shift transmission. This kind of transmission has a large that it might be due to either front or rear additional loads due to
number of gears available (typically from 9 to 30) and it allows the various working instruments that need to be employed for
to perform a gearshift with no (or at least with a minimum) loss differen tasks. Finally, note also that the variation of the operating
of power from the engine to the driving wheels. conditions is most often non measurable via on-board sensors, and
Usually, a power-shift transmission is characterized by the thus asks for robust and easily tunable gear shift controllers. These
presence of two or more (depending from the number of gears facts make the problem of ensuring an optimal and repeatable gear
and the overall mechanical architecture of the gearbox) wet shift on an agricultural tractor a very challenging task.
clutches connected to an hydraulic circuit, whose pressure can be To design an effective transmission control system, rst of all
regulated by a proportional solenoid valve. Considering the large the most signicant variables which inuence the gear shift quality
number of gears available and the fact that to achieve an optimal must be identied, see e.g., [2,16]. Further, the gear shift control
gear shift it is necessary to correctly manage several control vari- system has to optimally manage the trade-off among the following
ables, this kind of transmission needs to be properly controlled. conicting requirements:
The design of such a control system is not a trivial task. In the
scientic literature, some works dealing with power-shift or dual (i) yield comfortable gear shifts;
(ii) guarantee that no loss of power to the driving wheels occurs
during gear shifts;
Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 02 2399 3621; fax: +39 02 2399 3412. (iii) cause a minimum wear and tear of mechanical components
E-mail address: tanelli@elet.polimi.it (M. Tanelli). over the life of the vehicle transmission.

0957-4158/$ - see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.mechatronics.2010.11.006
286 M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

Moreover, in the industrial context, once the control design


phase is accomplished and the control system is implemented into
nal products, an end-of-line tuning phase is usually scheduled to
deal with constructive tolerances and production spreads which
cause the nal system to be different from the prototype one used
for control validation and testing. Hence, this phase is tailored to
optimize the controller parameters so as to guarantee that the
expected gear shifting performance is achieved on all vehicles.
Usually, this phase is carried out by human testers, who tune the
controller parameters based on personal driving preferences and
experience. Thus, is it clear that end-of-line tuning is a crucial
and difcult phase to deal with. As a matter of fact, since no objec-
tive indexes to evaluate the gear shift performance and comfort ex-
ist, a gear shift can be qualied as comfortable by one operator, but Fig. 1. The tractor employed in this work.
not by another one: this means that the nal tuning can lead to
very different gear shift behaviors on different vehicles of the same
type. Note that, as the vehicle handling qualities, of which the gear on a power-shift transmission designed for high-power (200 HP)
shift characteristics are a signicant component, is often consid- agricultural tractors (see Fig. 1).
ered as a trademark of the single manufacturer, the ability of deliv- The rst effort has been devoted to dene appropriate cost
ering vehicles with identical manoeuvre features can be a key to functions which allow an objective evaluation of gear shift comfort
achieve customers satisfaction and to promote customers loyalty and quality. Then, an accurate analysis of all relevant gear shift
to the brand. Moreover, another signicant advantage of the pro- dynamics has led to design a simple but effective transmission
posed approach is that of reducing the industrial costs associated control strategy. Further, to obtain the best possible gear shift per-
with end-of-line tuning by reducing the number of gear shifts formance on every production vehicle, an automatic tuning phase
needed to tune each vehicle and by making the process automatic, is proposed which guarantees satisfactory and repeatable gear shift
thus not requiring highly experienced operators to perform it. performance.
It is worth noting that the approach presented in this work, The structure of the paper is as follows. Section 2 provides a
even though tailored to a specic application, has a validity which description of the power-shift transmission system, both from an
goes beyond the considered problem, as the aforementioned hydraulic and a mechanical viewpoint. Section 3 is focused on pre-
design steps constitute a working paradigm which can be applied senting the performance indexes which have been selected to
in many different production contexts. As a matter of fact, this pa- judge the gear shift quality. In Section 4, the proposed control
per is one of the rst contributions which aims at formalizing the strategy for power-shift gear shifts is described, both for the case
end-of-line tuning of industrial applications endowed with control of single clutch and double clutch gearshifts, together with the re-
systems, proposing a systematic approach to the considered prob- sults of an experimental sensitivity analysis of the performance in-
lem. In this respect, the results in [13,16] offer other applications of dexes with respect to the controller parameters. Finally, Section 5
the proposed methodology and address the problem of quantifying is devoted to describe the end-of-line self-tuning procedure and to
of the driving style and safety via measured data, and of designing present related experimental results.
and objectively tuning the motion inversion control of an agricul-
tural tractor, respectively.
Although being different problems with respect to that consid- 2. System description
ered herein, both these works share (all or part of) the systematic
approach presented in this work, which is constituted by the fol- The overall mechanical layout of the considered power-shift
lowing steps: transmission is depicted in Fig. 2. As can be seen, the power ows
from the engine (on the left of Fig. 2) towards the driving wheels
 an evaluation of the characteristic features which dene the through two different gearboxes: the High-Mean-Low (HML)
quality of the considered system; group, composed of three different gears and the 123 group, which
 an experimental sensitivity analysis to single out the relation also comprises three different gear ratios. The transmission is com-
between the features to be optimized and the measurable pleted with two other components, namely the motion inverter
variables; and the mode selector. The motion inverter (see [11,16]) is an elec-
 the denition of the cost functions; tro-hydraulic system, constituted by two clutches, which allows to
 the design of the control algorithm and of the procedures for its perform an automatic motion inversion, i.e., it takes the vehicle
end-of-line tuning grounded on the cost functions optimization. from a, say, forward speed to a reverse speed with the driver sim-
ply acting on a lever. The mode selector allows to choose among
This methodology makes the results in the present paper of three different working modes: creep, work and transport, which
general interest for all those applications in which a control system can be varied only when the tractor is at standstill. In what follows,
must be designed and tuned while dealing with the dispersion we concentrate on the control of the gear shift, and consider the
coming from production spreads and tolerances which make the two gearboxes only, assuming that no motion inversion is occur-
underlying plant (i.e., the nal vehicle) different from that used ring (note, in passing, that during a motion inversion the driver
for design purposes. The resulting research area requires tools both cannot command a gear shift), and that a xed mode has been
of control theory and optimization, combined with the specic engaged.
application-domain knowledge. As the two gearboxes are in series, nine transmission ratios be-
The presented results are based on a joint research work tween the engine and the driving wheels are available (disregard-
between the Politecnico di Milano and the R&D Department of ing the nal differential, whose ratio is xed). Conceptually,
the SAME Deutz-Fahr Group (SAME, Lamborghini, Deutz-Fahr, although mechanically different, the two gearboxes can be treated
Hrlimann, Adim Diesel and Deutz AG). The work has been focused equally for control design purposes. Each gear is associated with a
M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297 287

HML Motion 123 Mode


gearbox Inverter gearbox selector

Fig. 2. Schematic view of the power-shift transmission.

wet clutch: to select a particular gear the corresponding clutch


must be completely engaged, so that the torque coming from the
H M L 1 2 3
engine can be completely transferred via the clutch itself. The
wet clutches handled in this work are multi-plate wet: in order
to be engaged (and hence to select the associated gear) the surfaces
of the plates must be in close contact and the normal force they ex-
change must be large enough to develop a friction force which
guarantees that no relative slip occurs between them.
Fig. 3 shows a schematic view of the physical relationship be-
tween normal force and clutch oil pressure. For gear shift analysis, Fig. 4. Simplied hydraulic scheme of the considered transmission.
three different zones must be considered. Starting from zero (i.e.,
from atmospheric pressure), an increase in the pressure brings (1) the master hydraulic pressure. Note that, as no pressure sen-
no changes in the normal force between the plates, which remains sors are available, the real control variable is the current
negligible. driving the proportional valve. Such a variable can be linked
When the so-called kiss-point pressure is reached (see Fig. 3), to the output pressure via a static map. In what follows, we
this distance that separates the plates has been covered and the will regard the pressure as control variable, keeping in mind
surfaces come into contact. From here over, the normal force in- that the aforementioned conversion from current to pres-
creases proportionally to the pressure. During this phase, the sure has to be performed;
friction force between the surfaces allows to transfer a certain (2) the onoff status of each directional valve.
amount of incoming torque through the clutch but, as there is a
non-zero relative slip between the plates, the gear ratio is To execute a gear shift with a power-shift transmission, the
indenite. outgoing clutch must be brought to zero pressure, whereas the
Once the engage pressure is reached (refer again to Fig. 3), the incoming clutch must be brought to maximum pressure. Note that
normal force is large enough to annihilate any relative slip be- a non-power-shift gear shift would disengage the outgoing clutch
tween the plates of the clutch and a precise gear ratio can be and then engage the incoming one. In so doing, there is a time
dened. interval in which the vehicle is in a neutral state, and no engine
Fig. 4 shows a schematic view of the hydraulic scheme, which torque can reach the driving wheels. In agricultural vehicles the
allows to understand how the pressure in a clutch can be con- neutral state must be avoided, as the large load forces would cause
trolled. There are six ONOFF directional valves which connect the vehicle to stop. Thus, it is of utmost importance to ensure a
each clutch to the master hydraulic pressure, regulated by a pro- continuous torque transfer to the driving wheels during the gear
portional solenoid valve. Such hydraulic architecture yields the fol- shift, which is the main characteristic of a power-shift gear shift.
lowing clutch pressure behavior: when a directional valve is To conclude the system description, Table 1 shows the nine
switched ON the pressure in the clutch is equal to the master pres- available gears together with the associated engaged clutches. As
sure. Being this a one-way valve, note that the pressure can only can be seen, usually a gear shift requires to change only one clutch
increase, even if the master pressure decreases. Conversely, when (i.e., the one belonging to the HML gearbox). We refer to such gear
the directional valve is switched OFF the pressure in the clutch is shifts as single clutch gear shifts. However, when the 34 and 67
zero. As such, the available control variables are the following: gear shifts are considered, two clutches must be changed (one

Table 1
Normal force [N ] Available gears and respective engaged clutches.

Gear L M H 1 2 3
1  
2  
3  
4  
5  
6  
7  
Kiss-point Engage Pressure [bar] 8  
9  
Fig. 3. Oil pressure in the clutch as a function of the normal force.
288 M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

belonging to the HML and one to the 123 gearbox), making the de-
(a) 10
sign of the gear shift controller more complex, as will be shown
subsequently. We refer to such gear shifts as double clutch gear 9.5

Speed [km/h]
shifts. 9

8.5
3. Gear shift quality assessment
8
As discussed in Section 1, dening an objective gear shift quality 7.5
assessment yields the following advantages: 0 2 4 6 8 10
Time [s]
 it provides a unique and objective indication of gear shift per-
formance, helpful to compare different vehicles and/or different (b) 8.5
control algorithms. 8

Speed [km/h]
 it makes the end-of-line tuning phase easier and cheaper by 7.5
relying on the automatic optimization of appropriate perfor-
7
mance indexes.
6.5
The crucial issue to deal with in dening the most suitable cost 6
functions is that of determining meaningful relationships between
5.5
measured signals and gear shift comfort and quality. Several stud- 0 2 4 6 8 10
ies have been carried out in the Automotive context, showing good Time [s]
results in evaluating comfort via acceleration measurements, see
e.g., [9,14]. For the type of vehicle considered in this work, it is easy (c) 11
to understand that this kind of signal is not suitable, as soil irreg- Speed [km/h]
10.5
ularities cause measurement noise which shadows the actual gear
shift contributions to vehicle accelerations. Moreover, accelerome- 10
ters are not standard sensors to have on-board of agricultural trac- 9.5
tors. Thus, we concentrated on investigating the relationships
9
between gear shift quality and vehicle speed, whose measurement
is commonly available via wheel encoders. As discussed in [16], 8.5
0 2 4 6 8 10
this signal can be exploited to provide satisfactory comfort
evaluation. Time [s]
To understand the rationale behind the quality index design, Fig. 5. Different gear shifts and respective quality evaluation: (a) good; (b)
Fig. 5 shows the time histories of the vehicle speed in three differ- medium; (c) bad.
ent gear shifts, whose performance was judged by an expert driver:
the rst one (Fig. 5a) has been classied as good, whereas the last
two (Fig. 5b and c) as medium and bad, respectively. The speed v ref 1
v m treq ; 3
behavior in the three considered gear shifts is as follows: the speed
where treq is the time instant at which the gear shift is requested by
always starts from a constant value and increases (up-shifts have
the driver. The reference speed in the last part of the manoeuvre is
been performed in all cases) until it reaches a higher nal value,
also constant and computed as
which depends only on the nal gear ratio as the engine speed is
kept xed and constant during the gear shift. What really makes v ref xeng treq r sInc: ; 4
end
the gear shifts different is the smoothness with which the speed in-
creases. Note, in fact, that while in the good gear shift in Fig. 5a the where xeng(treq) is the engine speed at the beginning of the gear
speed increases with a smooth ramp, in the medium quality gear shift (recall that the engine speed is xed and constant during the
shift the speed increase is only piecewise linear (see dotted oval gear shift), r is the average wheel radius and sinc is the transmission
box in Fig. 5b) and shows a signicant initial undershoot. Finally, ratio of the incoming gear (also known when the gear shift is issued
the bad gear shift is characterized by a quite irregular speed behav- by the driver).
ior and large oscillations (see dotted oval box in Fig. 5c). The reference speed evolution in time between these limiting
Based on these considerations, the performance index has been speed levels, which denes v ref2 , is chosen as linear, yielding
dened as
v ref  v ref1
  v ref t v ref1 end
t  t1 ; 5
J Var v m t  v ref t ; t2  t1
2
1

where vm(t) is the measured wheel speed and vref(t) is a reference where the time instant t1 is dened as
signal to be designed, which describes the speed behavior in an  
t1 : jv m t 1  v ref1 j P 0 ^ fjv m t  v ref1 j < 0 8t > t 1 g: 6
optimal gear shift. The measured vehicle speed vm(t) is computed as
Namely, t1 is the last time instant at which the measured speed is
1X 4
lower than the initial reference speed v ref1 , while the time instant
v m t xi tri ; 2
4 i1 t2 is dened as
 
where xi(t), i = 1, . . . , 4 are the wheel rotational speeds measured t2 : jv m t 1  v refend j < 0; 8t < t2 ^ fjv m t2  v refend j
via the wheel encoders and ri, i = 1, . . . , 4 are the wheel radii. P 0 8t P t 2 g 7
The reference signal vref(t) has been designed as composed of
three different parts (see Fig. 6). The rst is dened by the constant thus representing the rst time instant at which the measured
speed value at the beginning of the manoeuvre, i.e., speed reaches the nal reference speed value v refend .
M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297 289

8.5

Gearshift request Gearshift end


8
vref 2 (t )
7.5

Speed [km/h]
v refend
Measured
7 Reference
v ref1

6.5

J1 J2 J3
5.5
0 t req 1 2 t1 t2 3 4 t3 5 6

Time [s]

Fig. 6. Reference signal (red) and measured speed (blue) for gearshift quality assessment.

Note that each of the three phases of the gear shift highlighted cost functions correctly capture the manoeuvre quality and have
in the reference signal captures a different issue related with the been shown to match the expert drivers rating.
manoeuvre quality and comfort. Specically, there are three main
problems to be managed by the control system (see also Fig. 6):
4. Gear shift controller design
(1) the speed undershoot at the beginning of the gear shift;
(2) the oscillations in the acceleration phase; This section presents the gear shift control system design. To
(3) the overshoot and the settling phase at the end of the gear motivate the proposed approach, it is worth highlighting that the
shift. transmission architecture presented in Section 2 poses some
intrinsic limitations which must be taken into account, see also
Each of these issues is taken care of by means of an appropriate [1,11,12]. Specically:
tuning of different control parameters. To do this, it is crucial to be
able of capturing the three phenomena via objective performance (1) it is not possible to modulate the pressure of the outgoing
indexes which can be computed based on the measured signals. clutches, as when the ONOFF valve is in the OFF position
To this end, three different cost functions J1, J2 and J3 are consid- it directly connects the clutch to zero pressure. Moreover,
ered, one for each part of the manoeuvre, dened as the exact time instant at which pressure loss starts (that is
the clutch opening time) is not known, even though the
J 1 Varv m t  v ref1  8t 2 treq ; t1  8 pressure dynamics can be considered very fast;
(2) being the ONOFF valve one-way, the pressure in the clutch
J 2 Varv m t  v ref2 t 8t 2 t1 ; t 2 ; 9 can only increase;
(3) no measurements of the oil pressure in the clutches are
J 3 Varv m t  v refend  8t 2 t2 ; t 3 ; 10 available. Thus, the pressure value is estimated via a static
where the time interval of xed duration over which J3 is computed relationship relating the proportional valve input current
has been dened via a dedicated sensitivity analysis. Specically, to the clutch pressure. Considering that this map is unique
the time instant t3 to be used in (10) has been selected as for all vehicles and that each clutch behavior is indeed inu-
enced by several yet not measurable factors (i.e., temper-
t 3 arg maxjJ 3good t 3  J 3bad t 3 j 11 ature, wear of the surfaces, plates rotational speed) no
t3
reliable estimate of the actual driving torque can be derived,
namely by maximizing the distance between the J3 index values ob- see also [11,12]. This fact does not allow to design a genuine
tained for a good and a bad gear shift, whose classication was also closed-loop pressure controller to manage gear shifts.
conrmed by the expert drivers rating. Actually, the drivers were
asked to judge the manoeuvre as a whole. Then, among those rated Considering the aforementioned limitations, an open loop con-
as bad, those gear shifts with a value of J3 exceeding a pre-dened troller will be designed. Thus, the core of the control problem is in
threshold were selected to be employed for the tuning of t3 via (11). dening and optimizing an appropriate reference pressure prole
Based on the obtained results a time window of 1.75 s has been to command the proportional valve which allows to obtain the de-
selected to evaluate J3. To conclude the discussion on gear shift sired gear shift performance.
quality evaluation, Table 2 reports the Ji, i = 1, 2, 3 index values
for the three gear shifts shown in Fig. 2. As can be seen, the chosen
4.1. Single clutch gear shift control

Recalling the gears and clutches pairings shown in Table 1, only


Table 2
Quality indexes values for the gear shifts shown in Fig. 2. two clutches are involved in a single clutch gear shift: the one of
the outgoing and the one of the incoming gear. Hence, in this type
Gear shift J1 J2 J3
of gear shift, the control algorithm consists in dening the master
Fig. 5a 1.02 22.36 73.7 prole pressure and in appropriately selecting the time instant at
Fig. 5b 12.86 37.53 85.1
which the outgoing clutch has to be disengaged. In Fig. 7, the pres-
Fig. 5c 35.38 102.98 74.4
sure prole for a typical single clutch gear shift is shown.
290 M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

Pressure of the gear shift, which results in undershoots in the forward vehi-
cle speed (i.e., the feature captured by the index J1, see Eq. (8)).
The optimal tuning has been carried out based on experimental
sensitivity analysis. Fig. 8 shows the obtained results, i.e., the val-
ues of the J1 index as a function of the deviation DP of the lling
KP pressure from the KP value (top plot) and of the Overlap time inter-
pressure val duration (bottom plot) for 12 and 23 gear shifts. The
Overlap
Gearshift
trade-off in moving the lling pressure away from the KP pressure
request value (i.e., of having an increased DP) is apparent: as such, an opti-
t DO Time mal gear shift can be obtained only if an accurate estimate of the
kiss-point pressure is identied.
Fig. 7. Single clutch gearshift control: master pressure prole (solid line) and For the Overlap time interval duration (bottom plot) the
outgoing clutch disengagement (dotted line).
trade-off is less evident: this is due to the fact that the experiments
have been carried out in low load conditions. In this case, then, the
optimal Overlap time interval duration is close to zero.
After the drivers gear shift request, the master pressure and In heavy load gear shifts, instead, selecting a correct value of
thus the pressure in the incoming clutch, whose ONOFF valve is this parameter is crucial: for this reason a scheduled controller
ON is increased stepwise up to the kiss-point (KP) value (how to could in principle be considered, which selects the most suitable
automatically identify such a value will be discussed in Section 5). value for the Overlap time interval duration according to the cur-
This preliminary phase is needed to ensure that the incoming rent engine power (whose estimated value is available from the
clutch is ready to transfer torque (recall from Fig. 3 that for pres- engine controller).
sure values below the kiss-point one no driving torque can be To assess the controller effectiveness, Fig. 9 shows the time his-
transferred to the wheels). This lling phase lasts for a xed tories of the measured vehicle speed in a single clutch shift with
amount of time, experimentally tuned to 500 ms. Such value has non-optimized and optimized controller parameters. The corre-
proved sufcient to reach the desired KP pressure for all the sponding values of the J1 index are J1 = 12.86 for the non-optimized
clutches of the transmission. Then, the core of the power-shift gear manoeuvre and J1 = 1.48 for the optimized one. The optimized val-
shift takes place: during the Overlap time interval the incoming ues for the gear shift shown in Fig. 9 are KP = 4.8 bar and
clutch pressure, as well as the torque that it can transmit, in- Overlap = 100 ms.
creases. Further, at time t = tDO the outgoing clutch is disengaged
(see the dotted line in Fig. 7). Finally, the master pressure is 4.2. Double clutch gear shift control
increased to its maximum value in order to allow the full engage-
ment of the incoming clutch. In double clutch gear shifts, two clutches for each gear are in-
Specically, the pressure increases along a ramp up to the max- volved: ideally, the gear shift control logic could be the same seen
imum value to which it can be modulated, and then it is taken to its for the single clutch shifts. Actually, however, the hydraulic circuit
maximum nal value stepwise. The nal step in the pressure is such that the HML gearbox has a different dynamic behavior
shown in Fig. 7 is due to the characteristics of the hydraulic circuit from the 123 one. Specically, the time needed to disengage the
of the transmission. Specically, the pressure interval over which it clutches of the two gearboxes is signicantly different, even if
is possible to actually modulate the pressure ends at the pressure the command is issued for both gearboxes at the same time
value corresponding to the end of the ramp in Fig. 7, while the last instant.
step is in fact actuated by a safety control of the hydraulic circuit The difference in the two gearboxes is due to the fact that the
(a valve that mechanically closes when the pressure reaches a pressure values in the two is different because of the differences
pre-dened value) that takes the pressure to its maximum value, in the size of the clutches of the two gearboxes. Clutches of differ-
designed so as to ensure that the clutch cannot disengage under ent size are necessary due to the need of managing different torque
any (possibly abnormal) operating condition. As for the pressure levels. Furthermore, the location of the two gearboxes with respect
values in the different parts of the gearshift control, consider that to the main hydraulic accumulator makes the length of the pres-
the whole pressure interval goes from 0 to 20 bar; the rst step sure circuit different, and this also affects the pressure dynamics
to the KP pressure is of approximately 4 bar (consider this value in the two gearboxes. The gearbox with higher pressure is the
as an average over the different gears), the modulation interval 123 one. As such, to correctly perform a double clutch gear shift
(i.e., the ramp) goes up to approximately 18 bar. Thus, the last step we need to rst disengage the 123 gearbox (the one with higher
in which the pressure is increased but without allowing for being pressure levels) and then the HML, so as to take into account the
modulated is of approximately 2 bar, which corresponds to the differences between the two. Specically, the 123 needs a longer
10% of the overall pressure variation. time to compensate for the higher pressure gradient it needs to
Note that during the Overlap time interval the outgoing clutch is cover before the outgoing clutch is disengaged. The DelayHML time
still engaged, thereby loading the engine with an additional torque. interval has been tuned so that the two gearboxes nd themselves
Thus, while a short Overlap time interval could cause an insuf- at approximately the same pressure level once the HML group is
cient amount of torque to be transmitted by the incoming clutch, disengaged.
which may cause an undesirable and abrupt vehicle halt, a too long Therefore an additional control parameter needs to be intro-
Overlap time interval would cause the tractor to decelerate due to duced. The new control parameter is called DelayHML, and it repre-
the additional load torque, and this would bring discomfort to the sents (see Fig. 10) the time interval between the disengagement of
driver. Moreover, an excessive wear of the clutch surfaces could the 123 gearbox (tDO,123) and that of the HML one (tDO,HML).
arise. Similar considerations can be made for the KP pressure level. As Fig. 10 shows, in order to take into account the delay intro-
In other words, the tuning of the two parameter values is crucial to duced by the hydraulic plant, the disengagement of the outgoing
obtain optimal gear shifts. To select the best parameter values for HML group is commanded with a slight delay, equal to DelayHML.
controlling the single clutch gear shift, the J1 index in Eq. (8) is em- Since a new control parameter has been introduced, a dedicated
ployed. In fact, deviations of the controller parameters from the sensitivity analysis has been carried out to optimally tune it. In this
optimal values reect in signicant decelerations at the beginning case, both the J1 and the J2 indexes are considered, see Eqs. (8) and
M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297 291

14

12 1-2
2-3
10

J index
8

1
4

0
-1000 -500 0 500 1000 1500
P kiss-point pressure [mbar]

3
1-2
2.5
2-3

2
J index

1.5
1

0.5

0
0 100 200 300 400
Overlap [ms]

Fig. 8. Sensitivity analysis on single shifts controller parameters.

8.5

8
Speed [km/h]

7.5

6.5

6 Not optimized
Optimized
5.5
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Time [s]

Fig. 9. Time histories of the measured vehicle speed in a single clutch shift: results with non-optimized (dashed line) and with optimized (solid line) controller parameters.

Finally, it is worth noticing that the engagement phase of the


incoming clutches occurs while the pressure increases along the
nal ramp phase for t > tDO,HML but the two incoming clutches
may not engage simultaneously. With the proposed control
approach, the fact that the engagement phase occurs in a correct
way is evaluated by means of the cost functions, therefore without
a direct tuning of the engagement instant.
The obtained results are reported in Fig. 11, which shows the
values of J1 and J2, respectively, as functions of Overlap and Delay-
t t HML. For the sake of conciseness, the analysis for the KP pressure
value is not shown, as the obtained results are similar to those dis-
Fig. 10. Double clutch gearshift control: master pressure prole (solid line) and
outgoing clutches disengagement (dashed lines). cussed for the single clutch gear shift.
By inspecting Fig. 11, some remarks can be made.

(9). In fact, J1 correctly captures the speed undershoots at the  First of all note that each controller parameter, i.e., Overlap and
beginning of the manoeuvre , which are mainly functions of the DelayHML, has a predominant effect over one single index.
KP pressure and the Overlap time interval duration, whereas J2 ac- Namely, Overlap mostly affects the J1 index, whereas DelayHML
counts for the oscillations in the acceleration phase, which heavily the J2 one. This fact allows to decouple the optimization phase,
depend on the value of DelayHML. and to consider two successive single variable optimization
292 M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

Fig. 11. J1 and J2 index values as functions of the controller parameters.

problems, which can more easily managed in view of the auto- ently. Therefore, while on the one hand allowing a non-zero
matic end-of-line tuning phase. Specically, as will be described Overlap time interval has indeed the detrimental effect of yield-
in more detail in Section 5, the optimal value for Overlap will be ing a longer (hence worse) gear shift, on the other hand it offers
found by minimizing J1, while DelayHML will be tuned accord- the advantage of taking the pressure level up to a value which is
ing to J2. Specically, to assess the correctness of the sequential appropriate for the correct disengagement of the two gearboxes
minimization of the performance indexes, one has to observe that work at different pressure levels. Finally, note that, as men-
that the function J2(, DelayHML) has the same shape for all val- tioned in Section 4.1, if a single clutch gear shift performance
ues of Overlap. Therefore, once a value of Overlap has been xed must be handled in the face of additional large loads, then a
by optimizing J1, then the optimization of J2 done by varying the non-zero Overlap might be of help to optimally deal with the
value of DelayHML will lead to a nal value for J2 which is increased inertia of the vehicle, thereby leading to an adapta-
approximately always the same (note also that the cost function tion of the Overlap time duration as a function of the load con-
always decreases as the value of DelayHML increases indepen- dition. Up to now, however, the tuning of this parameter has
dently of the value of Overlap). Of course, the nal value of J2 been optimized for the end-of-line test conditions, which
will not be rigorously the same irrespectively of the value of involve gear shifts carried out at nominal load on asphalt road,
Overlap with which it is evaluated and which is determined and thus led to set it to zero for the single clutch case.
by the minimization of J1, but the small differences in the nal
value for J2 are not practically relevant as they yield no signi- To assess the controller effectiveness, Fig. 12 shows the time
cant changes in the nal gear shift performance. histories of the measured vehicle speed in a double clutch shift
 Note further that the results in Fig. 11b seem to suggest that a with non-optimized and optimized controller parameters.
large value of DelayHML would bring good quality gear shifts. The corresponding values of the J1 and J2 indexes are J1 = 24 and
Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that, as DelayHML J2 = 102.98 for the non-optimized manoeuvre and J1 = 1.31 and
increases, the clutches are left slipping for an increasing amount J2 = 35.38 for the optimized one, respectively. The optimized values
of time. Thus, this parameter should be kept at the lowest pos- for the gear shift shown in Fig. 12 are KP = 5.2 bar, Overlap = 390 ms
sible value so as to prevent an excessive wear of the clutches. and DelayHML = 210 ms.
Section 5 will better discuss how to effectively deal with this
issue. 4.3. Analysis of the acceleration phase
 Finally, it is worth comparing the results obtained in the single
and double clutch gear shift controllers as far as the value of The last issue to be considered for gear shift control, which is
Overlap is concerned. Specically, at the end of the previous sec- shared both by single and double clutch gear shifts, is the possible
tion we pointed out that in the single clutch gear shift at least overshoot and oscillatory behavior present at the end of the
in low load conditions a non-zero Overlap would induce only manoeuvre, when the clutch of the incoming gear needs to be fully
the detrimental effect of yielding a longer manoeuvre, without engaged and the vehicle must be brought to reach the nal, steady-
introducing any potential increment in the performance. In state, speed value.
the double clutch gear shifts, instead, a trade-off arises, due to Before discussing this issue and presenting the proposed solu-
the fact that one needs to manage the two gearboxes differ- tion to limit the overshoot, it is worth pointing out that in the

11
Speed [km/h]

10
Non optimized
Optimized
9

8
2 3 4 5 6 7
Time [s]

Fig. 12. Time histories of the measured vehicle speed in a double clutch shift: results with non-optimized (dashed line) and with optimized (solid line) controller parameters.
M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297 293

considered tractor the engine speed is regulated via a dedicated the fact that the torque at the clutch in this phase is generated
engine control unit, the internal controller of which is not directly along the direction of motion of the transmission output shaft, so
accessible. The only interaction with the engine controller can be that it accelerates the vehicle while it opposes to the rotation
realized via the specication of the engine speed reference signal of the incoming shaft, thus decelerating the engine. During the
which should be tracked during the gear shift. The nominal choice traction phase which follows the clutches engagement, the engine
is to have a constant reference engine speed equal to the one controller, in view of the engine speed error, tries to compensate
measured immediately before the gear shift request. for it by increasing the engine torque. Due to large vehicle inertia,
Within this setting, if we consider an up-shift, and we let xeng, this acceleration phase has a long settling time, and the engine
xoeng , xw and s be the engine speed, the engine reference speed, the controller dynamics (most probably endowed with an integral
wheel speed and the transmission ratio of the incoming gear, action) is such that the transient is characterized by an overshoot
respectively, the evolution in time of these variables during the and subsequent oscillations, which cause discomfort to the driver.
gear shift can be schematically represented as in Fig. 13. To counteract this phenomenon, which is more critical in the
Specically, immediately before the gear shift the tractor pro- double clutch up-shifts, the idea is to appropriately modify the en-
ceeds at substantially constant engine (dotted line in Fig. 13) and gine reference speed (of course, an alternative may be to directly
vehicle speed (the solid line in Fig. 13 is the scaled wheel speed act on the engine controller; in our case, this is not possible as
xw/s, which can be directly compared with the engine speed). the engine control algorithm cannot be accessed or modied).
Once the gear shift is requested (in correspondence of the leftmost To this end, consider the modied engine speed reference
solid vertical line in Fig. 13), the disengagement of all the clutches shown in Fig. 14: as can be seen in the slipping phase the engine
associated with the incoming gear occurs, and there is a slipping reference speed is decreased along a ramp up to the point at which
phase during which the system is characterized by two degrees the incoming clutches are fully engaged, while, during the traction
of freedom, as the engine and the tractor can proceed at different phase, the reference is increased along a second ramp which takes
speeds and they interact via the torque transmitted by the incom- the engine speed back to the nal value which coincides with that
ing clutches, which are slipping. at the beginning of the gear shift.
Once the clutches are fully engaged (in correspondence of the The motivation for this choice is as follows: in the slipping
second solid vertical line in Fig. 13), the engine and the wheels phase the engine is forced to decelerate in view of the torque gen-
have the same speed (denoted by xE in Fig. 13), and the system eration mechanics. Hence, in order to limit the magnitude of the
has only one degree of freedom. As can be seen from Fig. 13, during tracking error and the resulting detrimental effect of the related
the slipping phase the engine speed decreases even though the ref- integral action of the controller, it is convenient to let the reference
erence engine speed xoeng (horizontal solid line in Fig. 13) is kept speed decrease accordingly. This has also the additional benecial
constant at the value at which the gear shift began. This is due to effect of shortening the slipping phase, as the engine does not try

slipping phase traction phase


1700
1650
1600
Engine speed [rpm]

1550
1500
1450
oeng
1400 eng
1350 E
1300
w/
1250

3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8


Time [s]

Fig. 13. Schematic view of the time histories of engine and wheel speed in a gear shift with constant engine speed reference.

slipping phase traction phase


1700
1650
1600
Engine speed [rpm]

1550
1500
1450
eng
1400
oeng
1350 E
1300
w/
1250

3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8


Time [s]

Fig. 14. Schematic view of the time histories of engine speed, wheel speed in a gear shift with modied engine speed reference.
294 M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

to accelerate opposing to the clutch engagement, thus limiting the given by a spread of 30 rpm. Thus, the clutch is considered to be
clutch wear and tear. fully engaged when the relation
Then, once the clutch engagement is detected the engine must
jxeng  xw =sj 6 30 rpm 13
be accelerated as quickly as possible while avoiding the overshoot.
To achieve this, a ramp set-point has proved appropriate, and an holds over a time window of Dt = 250 ms. This last condition is
appropriate (xed) value of the slope has been tuned for each gear needed to average out the measurement noise and avoid outliers.
shift. The same tuning has been performed to dene the ramp dur- To appreciate the effectiveness of the proposed approach Fig. 15
ing the slipping phase, with the only difference that the point at compares the time histories of the engine speed, of the engine tor-
which the clutch is engaged is not known a priori, and thus needs que and of wheel speed measured in a double clutch gear shift with
to be estimated. Specically, the clutch is dened to be engaged constant (dashed line) and modied (solid line) engine speed refer-
when the engine speed xeng equals the scaled wheel speed xw/s. ence. As can be seen, with constant engine speed reference the en-
To correctly compare the two speed values, however, one must gine controller makes the engine torque saturate to its maximum
consider that, even during constant motion, these are not perfectly value, and this causes of course a delay in the settling time and sig-
equal due to the geometry of the transmission. nicant oscillations at the end of he transient. This clearly reects
Based on a large set of gear shifts data, the residuals of the on the vehicle speed, the transient of which signicantly benets
equation: from the engine reference modication, yielding a much more
xeng  xw =s 0 12 comfortable gear shift. The positive effect can be objectively quan-
tied by means of the quality index J3 (see Eq. (10)): the gear shift
have been studied, so that it was possible to verify that they are with constant engine speed reference yielded J3 = 720.4, while that
normally distributed and that the condence interval at 99% was with the modied reference scored J3 = 73.4.

(a) 1600

1550
Engine speed [rpm]

1500

1450

1400

1350 Engine reference speed

1300 with modified engine reference speed

with constant engine reference speed


1250
0 5 10 15
Time [s]

(b)
Engine torque [% maximum torque]

100
with modified engine reference speed
90 with constant engine reference speed

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0 5 10 15
Time [s]

(c) 30

29

28
Speed [km/h]

27

26

25

24 with modified engine reference speed


with constant engine reference speed
23
0 5 10 15
Time [s]

Fig. 15. Time histories of engine speed (a), engine torque (b) and wheel speed (c) in a double clutch gear shift: results obtained with constant (dashed line) and modied
(solid line) engine speed reference.
M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297 295

15000
Vehicle 1
Vehicle 2
Vehicle 3

Pressure [mbar]
10000

5000

0
H L M 1 2 3
Clutch

Fig. 16. Kiss-point pressure identication results obtained on three different vehicles.

5. End-of-line automatic gear shift tuning is divided into four smaller bars that represent different executions
of the automatic procedure proposed). The maximum standard
We now present the automatic end-of-line tuning algorithm de- deviation of the identied KP values is of 90 mbar, which, com-
signed to optimize the gear shift controller parameter values which pared to the measured KP values, shows that the proposed algo-
is needed to ensure satisfactory and repeatable performance on rithm is strongly repeatable. It is also worth underlining that the
different production vehicles. The parameters that have to be cor- procedure can be carried out in a fully automatic way, as it does
rectly tuned are: not require the vehicle to move. In fact the tuning involves only
the HML and 123 clutches, and the procedure can be executed
(1) the KP pressure for each clutch; while opening the nal clutch between the transmission and driv-
(2) the Overlap and DelayHML time intervals duration for double ing wheels, thus without transferring torque to the ground and
clutch shifts. with the vehicle at standstill.

Note that the prole chosen for modifying the engine reference 5.2. Automatic tuning of the double clutch gear shift controller
speed is not object of end-of-line tuning, as the fact that a closed- parameters
loop controller is present to regulate the engine speed, combined
with the chosen reference signal adaptation strategy, yielded a ro- Unlike the kiss-point pressure, the two parameters involved in a
bust solution not needing additional tuning. double clutch gear shift do not have a precise physical meaning.
As the kiss-point pressure has a clear physical meaning, a model Therefore, their optimal values will be found by experimental opti-
based procedure will be followed to identify its value. mization of the introduced cost functions. Namely, the Overlap
For the double shift parameters, instead, an optimization time interval will be tuned so as to minimize the cost function J1.
procedure is proposed, based on the quality indexes described in Notice, in fact, that for double clutch gear shifts this parameter
Section 3. cannot be easily set to a xed value for all vehicles (as for single
clutch ones) as it changes signicantly from a vehicle to another.
5.1. Kiss-point pressure identication As for DelayHML, recalling the discussion at the end of Section 4,
its tuning phase is performed by minimizing the following cost
We have previously discussed that, if a clutch is completely en- function:
gaged, the overlap of another clutch is seen by the engine as an J HML J 2 ; DelayHML c1 J 2 c2 DelayHML 14
additional load torque. As the engine is itself controlled so as to
keep its speed constant (at a set-point imposed by the driver), where c1 and c2 are constant scaling factors. The cost function JHML
when this additional load torque acts on it more power is needed takes into account both J2 and the value of DelayHML itself in order
to keep the engine speed constant. From this basic idea, the algo- to prevent excessive wear of the clutch surfaces. Specically, the
rithm to identify the kiss-point is as follows. While a clutch is en- constant parameters c1 and c2 in (14) are selected so that the two
gaged, the clutch pressure whose kiss-point value is to be terms on the right-hand size of (14) have the same size. The neces-
identied is slowly increased. The engine power (available as sity of an equal weighting of the two components is motivated by
output by the engine control unit) is monitored: when its value in- the following fact: as mentioned in Section 4.2 the optimal value
creases meaning that the overlapping clutch is actually transfer- of J2 occurs for large values of DelayHML, which are not appropriate
ring torque the corresponding pressure value is identied as the in general, as they induce wear and tear of the HML clutches that
kiss-point one. are left slipping for long times. Thus, one needs to weight DelayHML
As the sensitivity analysis showed (see Fig. 8), a precision of at so that its nal value is not too large. On the other hand, however,
least 500 mbar is needed in the KP pressure identication to guar- DelayHML must not be too low either so not to lose the advantage of
antee optimal gear shift performance. different disengagement times for the two gearboxes involved in a
Fig. 16 reports the KP pressure identication results obtained by double clutch gear shift.
applying the above identication procedure for four times on three As all indexes can be computed in real time, the tuning proce-
different vehicles (each colored1 bar refers to a single vehicle and it dure is as follows:

1
1. dene a maximum number of gear shifts NMax and a lower-
For interpretation of color in Figs. 118, the reader is referred to the web version
of this article.
bound J iMin on the performance index Ji
296 M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297

2. while N 6 NMax verify that the proposed algorithm allows to obtain repeatable gear
i. perform a gear shift and compute the performance index Ji shift performances at the end of the tuning phase.
ii. if J i 6 J iMin in the last three gear shifts go to Step 3 Fig. 17 reports the time histories of the two performance
iii. else update the value of the parameter pk to be optimized via indexes J1 and J2 and of the two parameters DelayHML and the
a gradient-based optimization algorithm, i.e., Overlap time duration obtained in a run of the automatic
procedure. As can be seen, the procedure starts with the tuning
pk1 pk  arJ i pk ;
of DelayHML, while Overlap is kept at zero. Then Overlap is
where arJi(pk) is the step size which depends on the experimen- tuned, while keeping DelayHML at its optimized value. Note that
tally computed gradient of the cost function (a is a positive real-val- while Overlap is being tuned based on the cost function J1,
ued parameter used to scale the gradient); the value of the performance index J2 remains substantially con-
3. save and store the current value of pk stant, therefore conrming the possibility of relying on a single
performance index at a time to perform the tuning of the two
Note that, to terminate the auto-tuning procedure, it is required parameters.
that the termination condition on the cost function value is met in It is worth noting that the choice of tuning tune rst DelayHML
three successive manoeuvres, so as to account for possible varia- and then Overlap is due to physical considerations. In fact, if we
tions in the working condition which can affect the single gear tuned rst Overlap with the same rationale used to tune DelayHML,
shift. Furthermore, the tuning cycle is repeated while the number i.e., with DelayHML equal to zero, we would start the optimization
of performed gear shifts is lower than the upper-bound NMax = 35. of J2 from large values of the cost function (see Fig. 11b), and this
This additional condition has been added to the tuning logic for corresponds to large bumps in the vehicle speed coming from a
safety reasons, so as to ensure that the automatic procedure termi- non correct disengagement of the clutches, yielding very demand-
nates even in case of faults or unexpected system behavior. In all ing working conditions for the transmission. On the other hand, if
the experimental campaign conducted up to now this limit has one would tune Overlap with large values of DelayHML, then the
never been hit and the procedure has always terminated in view clutches would be left slipping for long times, and this again would
of condition 2.ii. signicantly stress the clutches and the whole transmission. As
This procedure is applied for DelayHML and subsequently for such, the safest approach is to tune rst DelayHML and then
the Overlap time duration. The self-tuning procedure has been re- Overlap.
peated four times on the same vehicle (whose controller parame- Finally, Fig. 18 shows the results obtained in the four different
ters have been manually de-tuned after each run) in order to tests, reporting the values of both J1 and J2 and the number of gear

200
J2

100

0
0 50 100 150 200
300
DelayHML

200
100
0
0 50 100 150 200

50
J1

0
0 50 100 150 200
600
Overlap

400
200
0
0 50 100 150 200
Time [s]

Fig. 17. Time histories of J2, DelayHML, J1 and Overlap in an automatic tuning procedure of a double clutch gear shift.

1st tuning
40
2nd tuning
3rd tuning
30 4th tuning

20

10

0
J1 J2 Number of gearshifts

Fig. 18. Results of the double clutch automatic tuning in four different tests.
M. Tanelli et al. / Mechatronics 21 (2011) 285297 297

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