Next Article in Journal
A Miniature Pneumatic Bending Rubber Actuator Controlled by Using the PSO-SVR-Based Motion Estimation Method with the Generalized Gaussian Kernel
Previous Article in Journal
Fractional Order PID Control of Rotor Suspension by Active Magnetic Bearings
Open AccessArticle

Re-Engineering a High Performance Electrical Series Elastic Actuator for Low-Cost Industrial Applications

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
PI Electronics, 30 Qin Fu Road, Jin Tang Industrial District, Liu Yue, Heng Gang, Shenzhen 518173, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jose Luis Sanchez-Rojas
Actuators 2017, 6(1), 5;
Received: 8 October 2016 / Revised: 5 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
PDF [4018 KB, uploaded 23 January 2017]


Cost is an important consideration when transferring a technology from research to industrial and educational use. In this paper, we introduce the design of an industrial grade series elastic actuator (SEA) performed via re-engineering a research grade version of it. Cost-constrained design requires careful consideration of the key performance parameters for an optimal performance-to-cost component selection. To optimize the performance of the new design, we started by matching the capabilities of a high-performance SEA while cutting down its production cost significantly. Our posit was that performing a re-engineering design process on an existing high-end device will significantly reduce the cost without compromising the performance drastically. As a case study of design for manufacturability, we selected the University of Texas Series Elastic Actuator (UT-SEA), a high-performance SEA, for its high power density, compact design, high efficiency and high speed properties. We partnered with an industrial corporation in China to research the best pricing options and to exploit the retail and production facilities provided by the Shenzhen region. We succeeded in producing a low-cost industrial grade actuator at one-third of the cost of the original device by re-engineering the UT-SEA with commercial off-the-shelf components and reducing the number of custom-made parts. Subsequently, we conducted performance tests to demonstrate that the re-engineered product achieves the same high-performance specifications found in the original device. With this paper, we aim to raise awareness in the robotics community on the possibility of low-cost realization of low-volume, high performance, industrial grade research and education hardware. View Full-Text
Keywords: series elastic actuator; re-engineering for low-cost; industrial automation series elastic actuator; re-engineering for low-cost; industrial automation

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Isik, K.; He, S.; Ho, J.; Sentis, L. Re-Engineering a High Performance Electrical Series Elastic Actuator for Low-Cost Industrial Applications. Actuators 2017, 6, 5.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Actuators EISSN 2076-0825 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top