In robotics the risk of collisions is present both in industrial applications and in remote handling. If a collision occurs, the impact may damage both the robot and external equipment, which may result in successive imprecise robot tasks or line stops, reducing robot efficiency. As a result, appropriate collision avoidance algorithms should be used or, if it is not possible, the robot must be able to react to impacts reducing the contact forces. For this purpose, this paper focuses on the development of a special end-effector that can withstand impacts and is able to protect the robot from impulsive forces. The novel end-effector is based on a bi-stable mechanism that decouples the dynamics of the end-effector from the dynamics of the robot. The intrinsically non-linear behavior of the end-effector is investigated with the aid of numerical simulations. The effect of design parameters and the operating conditions are analyzed and the interaction between the functioning of the bi-stable mechanism and the control system is studied. In particular, the effect of the mechanism in different scenarios characterized by different robot velocities is shown. Results of numerical simulations assess the validity of the proposed end-effector, which can lead to large reductions in impact forces.

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