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Open AccessArticle

Study on Stiffness-Oriented Cable Tension Distribution for a Symmetrical Cable-Driven Mechanism

1
Zhejiang Key Lab of Robotics and Intelligent Manufacturing Equipment Technology, Ningbo Institute of Material Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Ningbo 315201, China
2
College of Materials Science and Opto-Electronic Technology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Beijing 100049, China
3
Zhejiang Marine Development Research Institute, Zhoushan 316021, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Symmetry 2019, 11(9), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11091158
Received: 17 August 2019 / Revised: 6 September 2019 / Accepted: 8 September 2019 / Published: 11 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Engineering Sciences II)
In this paper, we focus on the issues pertaining to stiffness-oriented cable tension distribution
for a symmetrical 6-cable-driven spherical joint module (6-CSJM), which can be employed to construct
modular cable-driven manipulators. Due to the redundant actuation of the 6-CSJM, three cables are
employed for position regulation by adjusting the cable lengths, and the remaining three cables are
utilized for stiffness regulation by adjusting the cable tensions, i.e., the position and stiffness can be
regulated simultaneously. To increase the range of stiffness regulation, a variable stiffness device
(VSD) is designed, which is serially connected to the driving cable. Since the stiffness model of the
6-CSJM with VSDs is very complicated, it is difficult to directly solve the cable tensions from the
desired stiffness. The stiffness-oriented cable tension distribution issue is formulated as a nonlinear
constrained optimization problem, and the Complex method is employed to obtain optimal tension
distributions. Furthermore, to significantly improve the computation efficiency, a decision variable
elimination technique is proposed to deal with the equality constraints, which reduces decision variables
from 6 to 3. A comprehensive simulation study is conducted to verify the effectiveness of the proposed
method, showing that the 6-CSJM can accurately achieve the desired stiffness through cable tension
optimization.
Keywords: cable-driven manipulator; redundant actuation; variable stiffness; tension distribution; optimization cable-driven manipulator; redundant actuation; variable stiffness; tension distribution; optimization
MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, K.; Yang, G.; Chen, S.-L.; Wang, Y.; Zhang, C.; Fang, Z.; Zheng, T.; Wang, C. Study on Stiffness-Oriented Cable Tension Distribution for a Symmetrical Cable-Driven Mechanism. Symmetry 2019, 11, 1158.

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