Possible vibration of cable-driven parallel manipulators (called cable manipulators for short) is a concern for some special applications such as hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) contact-dynamics simulation of spacecraft or space robotic systems. A cable manipulator used in HIL simulation is required to be rigid enough to have a high bandwidth to respond its input. This paper provides a vibration analysis of a general 6-DOF cable manipulator. Under an excitation, a cable may deflect in both axial and lateral directions due to its inevitable flexibility. The vibrations of cable manipulators caused by cable flexibility in both axial and lateral directions are analyzed. The study demonstrated that the cable manipulator can provide sufficient rigidity for applications like HIL contact-dynamics simulation of a spacecraft or space robotic system. It is also shown that the vibration of a cable manipulator due to the lateral flexibility of cables can be ignored comparing to that due to the axial flexibility of cables.

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