Most industrial robots cannot be off-line programmed to carry out a task accurately, unless their kinematic model is suitably corrected through a calibration procedure. However, proper calibration is an expensive and time-consuming procedure due to the highly accurate measurement equipment required and due to the significant amount of data that must be collected. To improve the efficiency of robot calibration, an optimization procedure is proposed in this paper.

The objective of minimizing the cost of the calibration is combined with the objective of minimizing the residual error after calibration in one multiple-objective optimization. Prediction of the residual error for a given calibration process presents the main difficulty for implementing the optimization. It is proposed that the residual error is expressed as a polynomial function. This function is obtained as a result of fitting a response surface to either experimental or simulated sample estimates of the residual error. The optimization problem is then solved by identifying a reduced set of possible solutions, thus greatly simplifying the decision maker’s choice of an effective calibration procedure. An application example of this method is also included.

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