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How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

Joe Profeta

Dr. Profeta has more than 30 years of experience in technology-driven companies. He is the Director of the Control Systems Group at Aerotech Inc., with P&L responsibility for the controls, drives and motors. In this role, he works with companies to design and select control system architectures that result in increased machine performance while minimizing component cost. He has earned a BS, MS and Ph.D., and Executive MBA. He has been awarded five patents and published 43 papers. Dr. Profeta is also an Adjunct Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Pittsburgh where he teaches software engineering and mechatronics. You can contact Joseph at

About the Webinar

Among the most troubling tasks in machine building can be tuning the servo system to meet or exceed the performance specification. Invariably, we have all sat at the machine and asked ourselves, “What three numbers should I put in this proportional-integrated-derivative (PID) controller?” However, when tuning, it is not always about the PID gains. Many other factors affect the tuning and can be changed to improve machine performance. This webinar series will discuss aspects of controller design, including control loop structures and using frequency-based tools for gain selection, filter selection and machine characterization. This series will be presented in two parts.

Presenter Joseph Profeta, who has nearly three decades of experience working on challenging automation solutions for a variety of industries, will explain the steps he takes to optimize the performance of motion systems.

Part One (March 11) – How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

Part One will focus on the fundamental concept of using the frequency domain to tune a servo system. It will cover basic definitions, gain and phase margins, etc., and provide some simple examples of using notch and low-pass filters.

Learning Objectives

  • Define the considerations of what is to be controlled (such as the plant, line or machine)
  • Understand how to apply frequency-based tools for tuning
  • Understand how to use notch and low-pass filters
  • Understand the effects of sample time, resolution and bandwidth on system performance

He will teach attendees how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications. These methods will alleviate common issues of where to start and what to do when a system is “unstable” or “oscillates.”

Arbeiten Sie mit dem Weltmarktführer für hochpräzise Positionier- und Bewegungsaufgaben zusammen und wandeln Sie Ihre Herausforderungen in erfolgreiche Prozesse um.