Gravity compensation design of planar articulated robotic arms using the gear-spring modules
Copyright © 2020 by ASME. This paper presents a design concept for gravity compensation of planar articulated robotic arms using a series of gear-slider mechanisms with springs. The spring-attached gearslider mechanism has one degree-of-freedom (DOF) of motion, which can serve as a gear-spring module (GSM) to be installed onto the robot joints for leveraging the gravitational energy of the robot arm. The proposing GSM-based design is featured by its structure compactness, less assemblage effort, ease of modularization, and high performance for gravity compensation of articulated robotic manipulators. As a key part of the design, the stiffness of the spring in the GSM can be determined through either a design optimization or an analytical approximation to perfect balancing. The analyses on several 1-, 2-, and 3-DOF GSM-based robot arms illustrate that the analytical approximation to perfect balancing can reach nearly the same performance as provided through the design optimization. The power loss due to the gear contact is considered when evaluating the gravity compensation performance. A formula for spring stiffness correction is suggested for taking the power loss into account. An experimental study on a one-DOF GSM-based robot arm was performed, which shows that a power reduction rate of 86.5% is attained by the actuation motor when the GSM is installed on the robot arm.