Skip to Main Content
In this paper, a new type of six-degrees of freedom (DOF) flexible parallel mechanism (FPM) is presented. This type of parallel mechanism possesses several favorable properties: 1) its number of DOFs is independent of the number of serial chains which make up the mechanism; 2) it has no kinematical singularities; 3) it is designed to move on rails, and therefore its workspace is much larger than that of a conventional parallel manipulator; and 4) without changing the number of DOFs and the kinematics of the mechanisms, the number of the serial chains can be reconfigured according to the needs of the tasks. These properties make the mechanism very preferable in practice, especially for such tasks as joining huge ship blocks, in which the manipulated objects vary dramatically both in weights and dimensions. Furthermore, the mechanism can be used as either a fully actuated system or an underactuated system. In the fully actuated case, the mechanism has six DOF motion capabilities and manipulation capabilities. However, in the underactuated case, the mechanism still has six DOF motion capabilities, but it has only five DOF manipulation capabilities. In this paper, both the inverse and forward kinematics are studied and expressed in a closed form. The workspace and singularity analysis of the mechanism are also presented. An example is presented to illustrate how to calculate the kinematics of the mechanism in both fully-actuated and underactuated cases. Finally, an application of such a mechanism to manufacturing industry is introduced.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:36 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: April 2006