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Research Papers

Kinematic Analysis and Dimensional Synthesis of a Meso-Gripper

[+] Author and Article Information
Guochao Bai

Institute of Mechanical, Process and
Energy Engineering,
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences,
Heriot-Watt University,
Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
e-mail: gb9@hw.ac.uk

Xianwen Kong

Mem. ASME
Institute of Mechanical, Process and
Energy Engineering,
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences,
Heriot-Watt University,
Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
e-mail: X.Kong@hw.ac.uk

James Millar Ritchie

Institute of Mechanical, Process and
Energy Engineering,
School of Engineering and
Physical Sciences,
Heriot-Watt University,
Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
e-mail: J.M.Ritchie@hw.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 14, 2016; final manuscript received December 25, 2016; published online March 24, 2017. Assoc. Editor: K. H. Low.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 9(3), 031017 (Mar 24, 2017) (13 pages) Paper No: JMR-16-1308; doi: 10.1115/1.4035800 History: Received October 14, 2016; Revised December 25, 2016

In recent years, applications in industrial assemblies within a size range from 0.5 mm to 100 mm are increasing due to the large demands for new products, especially those associated with digital multimedia. Research on grippers or robotic hands within the mesoscopic scale of this range has not been explored in any great detail. This paper outlines the development of a gripper to bridge the gap between microgrippers and macrogrippers by extending the gripping range to the mesoscopic scale, particularly without the need to switch grippers during industrial assembly. The mesoscopic scale gripper (meso-gripper) researched in this work has two modes of operation: passive adjusting mode and angled gripping mode, adapting its configuration to the shape of object automatically. This form of gripping and the associated mechanism are both novel in their implementation and operation. First, the concept of mesoscopic scale in robotic gripping is presented and contextualized around the background of inefficient hand switching processes and applications for assembly. The passive adjusting and angled gripping modes are then analyzed and a dual functional mechanism design proposed. A geometric constraint method is then demonstrated which facilitates task-based dimensional synthesis after which the kinematics of synthesized mechanism is investigated. The modified synthesized mechanism gripper is then investigated according to stiffness and layout. Finally, a 3D printed prototype is successfully tested, and the two integrated gripping modes for universal gripping verified.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Prototype of a meso-gripper with two gripping modes: (a) passive adjusting mode and (b) angled gripping mode

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Fig. 2

Schematic comparison of the length scales in material science, gripping technology, and molecular biology

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Fig. 3

Gripping processes for hex socket and plastic cuboid: (a) searching, (b) reaching, (c) gripping, and (d) moving

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Fig. 4

CFB mechanism as passive adjusting fingertip: (a) CFB mechanism and (b) CFB-damper-spring components

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Fig. 5

Dual RCM mechanism

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Fig. 6

Sequential gripping process of the integrated mechanism

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Fig. 7

Metamorphic gripping and equivalent mechanism

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Fig. 8

Objective gripping range and key points

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Fig. 9

CFB linkage with integer dimensions

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Fig. 10

Position determination of CFB linkage

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Fig. 11

Initial position of CFB linkage

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Fig. 12

Synthesis of initial position of mechanism

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Fig. 13

Verification of designed mechanism

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Fig. 14

Final design after verification

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Fig. 15

Gripping a 55 mm object during passive adjusting mode: (a) equivalent schematic and (b) range of RA of drive link AC and sliding distance of point I

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Fig. 16

Gripping an object of less than 6 mm at angled mode: (a) equivalent schematic and (b) range of RA of drive link AC and sliding distance of point I

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Fig. 17

Layout of the assembly of meso-gripper

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Fig. 18

Modified schematic considering layers and contact surfaces

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Fig. 19

Kinematic analysis of the meso-gripper at passive adjusting mode

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Fig. 20

Kinematic analysis of the meso-gripper at angled mode

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Fig. 21

Simplification of RCM mechanism

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Fig. 22

Pulley-driven mechanism and the equivalent mechanism

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Fig. 23

Modified schematic and 3D drawing of RCM

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Fig. 24

Relative angles of connecting and crank links for passive adjusting and angled gripping modes

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Fig. 25

Initial and final positions of modified CFB mechanism

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Fig. 26

Movable pulley for underactuated drive

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Fig. 27

Meso-gripper with two modes

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Fig. 28

Gripping tests for different objects. (a) weight, 1 kg, dimensions: Φ105 mm × 120 mm; (b) café cup, 450 g, dimensions: Φ105 mm × 120 mm; (c) wafer, 9.5 g, dimensions: Φ50 mm × 55 mm; (d) screw driver, 12 g, dimensions: Φ7–Φ10 mm; (e) hex wrench, 0.5 g, dimension: Φ1.5 mm; (f) stick pin, 0.5 g, dimensions: Φ0.55–Φ1 mm; and (g) pinecone, 10 g, irregular shape.

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