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Analysis of system dynamic influences in robotic actuators with variable stiffness

  • Beckerle, Philipp ;
  • Wojtusch, Janis ;
  • Rinderknecht, Stephan ;
  • von Stryk, Oskar
  • Received : 2013.04.30
  • Accepted : 2013.12.14
  • Published : 2014.04.25

Abstract

In this paper the system dynamic influences in actuators with variable stiffness as contemporary used in robotics for safety and efficiency reasons are investigated. Therefore, different configurations of serial and parallel elasticities are modeled by dynamic equations and linearized transfer functions. The latter ones are used to identify the characteristic behavior of the different systems and to study the effect of the different elasticities. As such actuation concepts are often used to reach energy-efficient operation, a power consumption analysis of the configurations is performed. From the comparison of this with the system dynamics, strategies to select and control stiffness are derived. Those are based on matching the natural frequencies or antiresonance modes of the actuation system to the frequency of the trajectory. Results show that exclusive serial and parallel elasticity can minimize power consumption when tuning the system to the natural frequencies. Antiresonance modes are an additional possibility for stiffness control in the series elastic setup. Configurations combining both types of elasticities do not provide further advantages regarding power reduction but an input parallel elasticity might enable for more versatile stiffness selection. Yet, design and control effort increase in such solutions. Topologies incorporating output parallel elasticity showed not to be beneficial in the chosen example but might do so in specific applications.

Keywords

variable stiffness;series elastic actuation;parallel elastic actuation;elastic joints;dimensioning;control;robotics;system dynamics

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