Abstract

Conventional mechanisms (cams, gears, and linkage-based that are typically single degree of freedom) are being increasingly replaced by multi-degree of freedom multi-actuators integrated with logic controllers. This new trend in sophistication although provides greatly enhanced flexibility, there are many instances where the flexibility needs are exaggerated and the associated complexity is unnecessary. On the other hand, the conventional mechanisms cannot fulfill multi-task requirements due to lack methods to design-in flexibility. Adjustable mechanisms or “programmable” mechanisms provide a cost-effective middle ground between hard automation and overly flexible expensive robots; especially for tasks that demand only limited flexibility. This paper presents a generalized synthesis procedure for designing adjustable robotic mechanisms for path generation. The goal is to develop a methodology to synthesize a single mechanism that can trace a given set of three-dimensional trajectories by simply adjusting one of the mechanism parameters; say the length of a particular link. The synthesis procedure presented in this paper entails coupler curve classification and pattern recognition techniques, eleven precision-point (Burmester theory) synthesis of geared five-bar mechanisms, multi-objective optimization and statistical analysis.

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