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Volume 21 Issue 02 - Publication Date: 1 February 2002
 
Singularity-Free Fully-Isotropic Translational Parallel Mechanisms
 
Marco Carricato and Vincenzo Parenti-Castelli Department of Mechanical Engineering - DIEM, University of Bologna, Italy
 
Parallel mechanisms show desirable characteristics such as a large payload to robot weight ratio, considerable stiffness, low inertia and high dynamic performances. In particular, parallel manipulators with fewer than six degrees of freedom have recently attracted researchers' attention, as their employ may prove valuable in those applications in which a higher mobility is uncalled-for.
The attention of this paper is focused on translational parallel mechanisms (TPMs), that is on parallel mechanisms whose output link (platform) is provided with a pure translational motion with respect to the frame.
It deals with the general problem of the topological synthesis and classification of TPMs and it investigates both their constraint and direct singularities. In particular, it identifies for the first time special families of fully-isotropic mechanisms. Such manipulators exhibit outstanding properties, as they are free from singularities and show a constant orthogonal Jacobian matrix throughout their workspace. As a consequence, both the direct and the inverse position problems are linear and the kinematic analysis proves straightforward.
 
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