Alternatives to serial manipulator design incorporating parallel structure have been suggested in the literature. However, generic dynamic analysis techniques for these novel designs are not available. This paper presents a general method for the dynamic and kinematic analysis of hybrid systems which combine serial links with parallel structured modular devices. All necessary influence coefficients are derived for the general hybrid system. These influence coefficients allow the controlling and kinematic equations to be written such that the geometric parameters and the input dynamics are explicitly separated. A number of parallel modules are presented here. The use of parallel actuation in present industrial manipulators is reviewed.

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