In the fall of 2001 we implemented a new controller design project in our Junior/Senior level controls class in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. The old project, which involved the identification and control of a “black box”, failed to challenge and motivate students. Our new project is the design of a controller for the point-to-point motion of a gantry crane system. Student teams modeled the gantry crane and developed a controller to meet several performance specifications. The designs were implemented in Simulink with MATLAB’s Real-Time Workshop. A competition served to further motivate the students. In the end we were very impressed with the great effort the students gave and the quality of their designs. Each group presented their design and most students stayed and asked questions for several hours.

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