Systems that can be reconfigured are valuable in situations where a single artifact must perform several different functions well, and are especially important in cases where system demands are not known a priori. Design of reconfigurable systems present unique challenges compared to fixed system design. Increasing reconfigurable capability improves system utility, but also increases system complexity and cost. In this article a new design strategy is presented for the design of reconfigurable systems for multiability. This study is limited to systems where all system functions are known a priori, and only continuous means of reconfiguration are considered. Designing such a system requires determination of (1) what system features should be reconfigurable, and (2) what should the range of reconfigurability of these features be. The new design strategy is illustrated using a reconfigurable delta robot, which is a parallel manipulator that can be adapted to perform a variety of manufacturing operations. In this case study the tradeoff between end effector stiffness and speed is considered over two separate manipulation tasks.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.