Research Papers

Self-Forcing Mechanism of the Braided Tube as a Robotic Gripper

[+] Author and Article Information
Zufeng Shang

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
Tianjin University,
Tianjin 300354, China
e-mail: szf_rai@tju.edu.cn

Jiayao Ma

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
Tianjin University,
Tianjin 300354, China
e-mail: jiayao.ma@tju.edu.cn

Jinhua Li

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
Tianjin University,
Tianjin 300354, China
e-mail: lijinhua@tju.edu.cn

Zemin Zhang

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
Tianjin University,
Tianjin 300354, China
e-mail: zmzhang0526@tju.edu.cn

Guokai Zhang

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
Tianjin University,
Tianjin 300354, China
e-mail: zhang_gk@tju.edu.cn

Shuxin Wang

Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education,
Tianjin University,
Tianjin 300354, China
e-mail: shuxinw@tju.edu.cn

1Corresponding authors.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. Manuscript received October 1, 2018; final manuscript received April 17, 2019; published online July 8, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Robert J. Wood.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 11(5), 051002 (Jul 08, 2019) (9 pages) Paper No: JMR-18-1330; doi: 10.1115/1.4043686 History: Received October 01, 2018; Accepted April 25, 2019

Robotic grippers, which act as the end effector and contact the objects directly, play a crucial role in the performance of the robots. In this paper, we design and analyze a new robotic gripper based on the braided tube. Apart from deployability, a self-forcing mechanism, i.e., the holding force increases with load/object weight, facilitates the braided tube as a robotic gripper to grasp objects with different shapes, weights, and rigidities. First, taking a cylindrical object as an example, the self-forcing mechanism is theoretically analyzed, and explicit formulas are derived to estimate the holding force. Second, experimental and numerical analyses are also conducted for a more detailed understanding of the mechanism. The results show that a holding force increment by 120% is achieved due to self-forcing, and the effects of design parameters on the holding force are obtained. Finally, a braided gripper is fabricated and operated on a KUKA robot arm, which successfully grasps a family of objects with varying shapes, weights, and rigidities. To summarize, the new device shows great potentials for a wide range of engineering applications where properties of the objects are varied and unpredictable.

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Fig. 1

Geometry of the braided gripper

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Fig. 2

Grasping procedure of the braided gripper: (a) the normal state, (b) deployment of the gripper, (c) containing the object, and (d) lifting the object

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Fig. 3

Spreading of a helical fiber in plane

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Fig. 4

Elongation of a braided gripper at (a) tension force and (b) radial pressure

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Fig. 5

(a) Schematic and (b) force diagram of the gripper's grasping

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Fig. 6

Experimental setup of holding force tests

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Fig. 7

(a) The braided gripper mounted on a KUKA robot arm and (b) actuation system

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Fig. 8

Finite element model: (a) assembly of the model, (b) deploying of the gripper with opening plates, and (c) moving the object in longitudinal direction

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Fig. 9

Experimental and numerical displacement versus force curves of the gripper grasping objects with (a) Dobj = 19.8 mm, Lobj = 20 mm; (b) Dobj = 21.8 mm, Lobj = 20 mm; (c) Dobj= 21.8 mm, Lobj = 30 mm; and (d) their error bars representing extrema

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Fig. 10

Effects of the properties of the gripper: (a) fiber diameter, (b) fiber number, and (c) braiding angle

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Fig. 11

Effects of the properties of the object: (a) object diameter, (b) object length, and (c) friction coefficient

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Fig. 12

The braided gripper (a) in the normal state, (b) in the deployed state, (c) containing the object, (d) lifting the object, (e) grasping the grape, and (f) grasping the jelly



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