An Innovative Spiral Pulley that Optimizes Cable Tension Variation for Superior Balancing Performance
Tian Shen and Ken’ichi Yano
Intelligent Robotics Lab, Mie University
1577 Kurimamachiya-cho, Tsu city, Mie 514-8507, Japan
In modern manufacturing, the long-term handling of heavy objects is a main factor leading to muscle pain in the waist and lower back. Robots play an important role in reducing the burden on workers by compensating for the gravitational force. Energy-conserving passive mechanisms are commonly used in assistive robots because of their reliability and durability. One such mechanism is a spiral pulley and spring couple, which is a compact and reliable solution to provide a constant assistive force. A spiral pulley has a predesigned changing radius to balance the increasing restoring force of the spring as it extends. This allows the mechanism to exert a constant torque within the designed range. A crucial aspect of such a mechanism is the calculation of the shape of the spiral pulley. Accurate calculations enable the mechanism to provide a more optimal balancing ability. In this study, an innovative spiral pulley was designed by considering the cable tension variation along the cable attached to the pulley. The balancing performance of the proposed pulley was evaluated based on its accuracy in providing a balanced torque and an effective range. A comparative experiment using a conventional spiral pulley confirmed the effectiveness of the proposed pulley.
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