On the Design of a Long-Stroke Beam-Based Compliant Mechanism Providing Quasi-Constant Force. Bilancia, P., Geraci, A., & Berselli, G. In ASME 2018 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS 2018, pages 1–9, 2019.
On the Design of a Long-Stroke Beam-Based Compliant Mechanism Providing Quasi-Constant Force [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
In this paper the design of a linear long-stroke quasi- constant force compliant mechanism (CM) is presented and dis- cussed. Starting from a flexure-based slider-crank mechanism, providing the required constant force within a rather limited deflection range, the paper reports about the shape optimiza- tion carried out with the specific aim of extending the available CM operative range. The proposed device is suitable in sev- eral precision manipulation systems, which require to maintain a constant-force at their contact interface with the manipulated object. Force regulation is generally achieved by means ofcom- plex control algorithms and related sensory apparatus, resulting in a flexible behavior but also in high costs. A valid alternative may be the use ofa purposely designed CM, namely a purely me- chanical system whose shape and dimensions are optimized so as to provide a force-deflection behavior characterized by zero stiffness. In the first design step, the Pseudo-Rigid Body (PRB) method is exploited to synthesize the sub-optimal compliant con- figuration, i.e. the one characterized by lumped compliance. Sec- ondly, an improved design alternative is evaluated resorting to an integrated software framework, comprising Matlab and AN- SYS APDL, and capable ofperforming non-linear structural op- timizations. The new embodiment makes use ofa variable thick- ness beam, whose shape and dimensions have been optimized so as to provide a constant reaction force in an extended range. Finally, a physical prototype ofthe beam-based configuration is produced and tested, experimentally validating the proposed de- sign method.

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