Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Monika Ivantysynova

Committee Chair

Monika Ivantysynova

Committee Member 1

Karthik Ramani

Committee Member 2

Andrea Vacca


Fluid power systems have been extensively used in off highway applications like skid steer loaders, wheel loaders, excavators since many years. Work has been done by both industry and academia to improve efficiency, reduce noise and leakages in these systems. With increasing competition in the market, importance is now also given to operator comfort and machine productivity in off highway applications.

Mobile, off – highway vehicles like Skid-steer loaders are widely used in labour saving applications like loading earth into a truck, dig and move material on construction sites to, clean roads, clear snow from roads etc. To carry out these jobs in limited spaces, skid steer loaders need tight turning radius. For this reason, these machines have a short wheelbase which prevents the use of suspensions in these vehicles. The absence of a suspension system exposes the vehicle to ground vibrations of high magnitude and low frequency. Vibrations reduce operator comfort, productivity and life of components. This thesis will discuss control strategies for vibration damping of skid steer loader using the hydraulic boom cylinder as the active suspension element, which is equivalent to a spring–damper. Along with vibrations, the machine productivity is also hampered by material spillage which is caused by the tilting of the bucket due to the extension of the boom. This dissertation will discuss the development of a robust path-planning control algorithm which adapts to the position of the boom to maintain a level load to achieve bucket self-leveling. Another reason for reduced productivity in skid steer loaders is slow in site travel speeds. This dissertation also concentrates on reducing the in-job cycle time by developing a control strategy to smooth speed shift the drive motors keeping the pump flow constant.

To synthesize these proposed control algorithms, high fidelity hydraulic and mechanical models of the skid steer loader are created. Ultimately, the control algorithms derived in this dissertation help in improving operator comfort and machine productivity.