Alpha Omega Engineering, Inc.

An engineering consultancy on the Central Coast of California

Control Systems Engineering

Feedback control systems are often not well understood in industry. The mathematics involved in controls is complex, and those who specialize in this field often have no practical knowledge of how it is used in industry.

At Alpha Omega we have bridged this disconnect between theory and practice. Our experience lied in control systems for power plants, automotive control systems, motion control systems (electro-mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic), and process control systems.

We have produced many models of physical systems under closed-loop (feedback) control and verified these models against their real, physical systems.

We have worked with robotic control systems to make it easy to control a multi-axis robot by simply expressing a wish for a desired motion. The control system figured out how to actuate each joint to achieve the desired path of the robot end-effector.

We have worked with various tuning methods for PID controllers.

We have used LabVIEW software to control machines and systems with programmed controllers. Lately we have begun using Matlab/Simulink for this purpose. So we are expert at connecting machines and systems to computers using state-of-the-art software for improved control.

Thus our expertise is in bringing the theory of controls down into the real world. This improves control, reduces machine wear, and saves energy.

Professor Owen was involved in the late 1990s in Austin, Texas, in the development of Fisher Rosemount's DeltaV distributed control system. At Cal Poly he pioneered the development of the Mechanical Controls Lab, bringing computer control into the lab and designing hydraulic and pneumatic motion control systems. He also was involved, with others, in redesigning a two-tank level-control system for control using Simulink. He has also held controls lectures and taught in laboratories in Germany at the Munich University of Applied Sciences and at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and in Belgium at the University of Antwerp. He is currently engaged with an Italian colleague at the University of Bergamo in an applied research project involving machine monitoring in factories and industrial settings using smart phones and tablet computers to access machine condition status.

Controls Textbook

In 2010 Professor Owen reacted to the high price of Controls textbooks (around $200) and wrote his own, Control Systems Engineering: A Practical Approach. Click here to see an excerpt from this textbook. It can be ordered from Dr. Owen for a price of $25.

Controls for Industry

Dr. Owen and his colleague Hemanth Porumamilla are now offering a week-long, hands-on controls course for industry in the Mechanical Controls Lab at Cal Poly. Click here for more information.