Global simulation of mechanisms with time-varying topology is a tough task because the kinematic and kinetic equations of the whole system should be reformulated at each different topological stage, which increases the difficulty and decreases the efficiency. This paper proposes a new dynamics simulation approach of topology-varying mechanisms by replacing local modeling units. The interchangeability of unit models makes it possible to switch among different topologies automatically without rebuilding the system model. The topology-varying part of the system can be modeled as changeable modeling units, which leaves the other part as a settled one. Local replacement of changeable units will realize the reconfiguration of system model from one topological stage to another. This method has been used to analysis two typical kinds of mechanisms with time-varying topology: mechanism with “lock-unlock” process and with “opening-closing” loop. The simulation of the buffering motion in a forging manipulator is presented here as a case study, which proves the feasibility and efficiency of this new approach.

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