In this paper the design of a linear long-stroke quasi-constant force compliant mechanism (CM) is presented and discussed. Starting from a flexure-based slider-crank mechanism, providing the required constant force within a rather limited deflection range, the paper reports about the shape optimization carried out with the specific aim of extending the available CM operative range. The proposed device is suitable in several precision manipulation systems, which require to maintain a constant-force at their contact interface with the manipulated object. Force regulation is generally achieved by means of complex control algorithms and related sensory apparatus, resulting in a flexible behavior but also in high costs. A valid alternative may be the use of a purposely designed CM, namely a purely mechanical system whose shape and dimensions are optimized so as to provide a force-deflection behavior characterized by zero stiffness. In the first design step, the Pseudo-Rigid Body (PRB) method is exploited to synthesize the sub-optimal compliant configuration, i.e. the one characterized by lumped compliance. Secondly, an improved design alternative is evaluated resorting to an integrated software framework, comprising Matlab and ANSYS APDL, and capable of performing non-linear structural optimizations. The new embodiment makes use of a variable thickness beam, whose shape and dimensions have been optimized so as to provide a constant reaction force in an extended range. Finally, a physical prototype of the beam-based configuration is produced and tested, experimentally validating the proposed design method.

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