The main developments of this project were made in the following PKM areas:
- Definition and evaluation of possible and already realised applications
- Development of a PKM configuration tool, to evaluate workspace, stiffness a.s.o.
- Development of a CAM tool for PKMs for post-processing, singularity handling a.s.o.
- Testing of existing and development of joints for PKM applications
- Evaluation and development of new actuators
- Development of measurement tools and calibration strategies
- Evaluation of suitable testparts and benchmark strategies.
Multi-functional, flexible but cost-effective production equipment is becoming more and more important to cover market turbulence. In order to realise a fast and flexible single-hit production process, robots have already achieved a considerable degree of acceptance. Most of them are based on multi-axis structures, where individual rotary and linear axis are connected in a serial way. Their main advantage is their dexterity, thus allowing for a large nurnber of different applications, where repeatability is more important than the absolute positioning accuracy of a given end-effector. If higher accuracy is needed, machine tools are used which are based on the perpendicular composition of three linear axis. The main reason for this arrangement is the ease of applying the simple Cartesian co-ordination system to control spatial movements. Additional linear and/or rotational axis may be integrated to extend the machine tool's geometrical capability. They are also combined in a series of discrete stages, each one providing a single degree of freedom. A different approach is followed by parallel kinematics architectures which principally combine the advantages of both robots and machine tools. This basic research project proposal forms part of a mid-term oriented strategy to reduce time-to-market, lower costs, improve production flexibility and minimise environmental impacts in order to increase European competitiveness. It is aiming at developing enabling technologies for and concepts of fast and accurate machining systems for future manufacturing applications which synthetically combine the advantages of both robots and machine tools. The targeted characteristics include: "modular design for fast and easy configuration" agility like robots "machining abilities like NC-machine tools J lead times like special purpose machines" forces like in forging machine toolsExisting prototypes have already proved general feasibility but also identified the need for concerted R&D activities in order to develop problem specific technical solutions. Therefore, the project focuses on the development of new "enabling technologies" for prototypes of agile machining systems based on parallel kinematics architectures for all areas where problem specific solutions are either not available or not affordable. These are: (i) computer aided configuration (CAC) tool for the design and application specific optimisation of different types and combinations of kinematics, (ii) appropriate CAD/CAM systems considering singularities and transformation problems to allow user-friendly operation, (iii) light weight mechanical components and accurate joints for improved dynamics and stiffness, (iv) advanced linear and rotary actuators to allow cost-effective solutions, and (v) measurement strategies for quick calibration and referencing. Results within these domains of activities will have a decisive impact on system's performance characteristics. The duration of this two year project has intentionally been kept short. One of the most important targets apart from technology development is to have a stimulating effect on industry towards new innovations in manufacturing thus enhancing the European competitiveness.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
B10 0HJ Birmingham
100 44 Stockholm