JRM Vol.35 No.3 pp. 622-632
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2023.p0622


Application of Noncircular Pulleys to Straight-Fiber-Type Pneumatic Artificial Muscle Manipulator

Riku Tanaka, Teppei Abe, and Hiroki Tomori ORCID Icon

Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University
4-3-16 Jonan, Yonezawa, Yamagata 992-8510, Japan

November 18, 2022
March 23, 2023
June 20, 2023
soft actuator, artificial muscle, noncircular pulley, manipulator, pneumatic artificial muscles

This study proposes a method for improving the performance of a manipulator driven by pneumatic artificial muscles. Although the straight-fiber-type pneumatic artificial muscle (SF-PAM), a kind of pneumatic artificial muscle, is lightweight and exhibits high contractile force and contraction percentage, its contractile force decreases as contraction increases. To compensate for the decrease in the SF-PAM contractile force, we developed a noncircular pulley and integrated it into the manipulator driven by a wire pulley mechanism. Because this noncircular pulley is designed in accordance with the output characteristics of SF-PAM, the contraction force of SF-PAM can be converted into manipulator torque efficiently. In addition, the radius of the noncircular pulley is expressed as a function, which can be incorporated into a numerical model for the manipulator’s controller. Subsequently, simulation and experimentation to verify the proposed method showed that, when using the same actuator, the manipulator with a noncircular pulley can optimize both output torque and range of motion better than that with a conventional circular pulley. However, a few differences between simulation results and experimental results were observed. These differences were caused by SF-PAM stretching which was not considered in the model. This drawback can be overcome by improving the SF-PAM and the numerical model in future studies. We believe that this study will provide designers of robots that coexist with humans with a high degree of freedom.

Manipulator with noncircular pulleys

Manipulator with noncircular pulleys

Cite this article as:
R. Tanaka, T. Abe, and H. Tomori, “Application of Noncircular Pulleys to Straight-Fiber-Type Pneumatic Artificial Muscle Manipulator,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.35 No.3, pp. 622-632, 2023.
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Last updated on Sep. 29, 2023