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Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17

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Mechanism and Machine Theory
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/mechmt

Kinematic optimal design of a 2-degree-of-freedom
3-parallelogram planar parallel manipulator
Xin-Jun Liu a,b,⁎, Jie Li a, Yanhua Zhou a,c
a
b
c

State Key Laboratory of Tribology & Institute of Manufacturing Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China
Beijing Key Lab of Precision/Ultra-precision Manufacturing Equipments and Control, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China
Institute of Aircraft Engineering, Naval Aeronautical and Astronautical University, Yantai, Shandong Province, PR China

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 7 December 2013
Received in revised form 18 December 2014
Accepted 25 December 2014
Available online 10 January 2015
Keywords:
Parallel manipulator
Optimal design
Performance atlas
Workspace
Transmissibility

a b s t r a c t
A 2-degree-of-freedom (2-DOF) 3-parallelogram planar parallel manipulator (PPM) can follow an
arbitrary planar curve and keep the end-effector in a definite posture. Such features are valuable
for spray-painting robots. Considering these advantages, authors proposed a new spray-painting
robot containing a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. In order to obtain a spray-painting robot with the
best performance, the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM should possess the largest workspace and
most stable transmissibility. This study addresses the performance evaluation and kinematic optimization of this manipulator. First, the kinematics of the manipulator is analyzed, and performance indices that consider desirable workspace and transmissibility are proposed. Then, the
process to determine optimal geometry parameters by using performance atlases is presented. Finally, a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM with desirable workspace and transmissibility is identified.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Parallel mechanisms (PMs) exhibit excellent characteristics, such as higher rigidity, better positioning accuracy, and higher load
capacity, compared with serial mechanisms [1]. As an important branch of PMs, the 2-DOF PPMs possessing both outstanding characteristics and simple structure have been widely used in the industry field. PMs have been intensively studied since the 1980s and
still attract much attention up to the present [2–6]. For PMs one of the most important and challenging problems is kinematic optimization in which two issues are concerned: performance evaluation and dimensional synthesis [7,8].
The 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM, actuated by two coaxial revolute joints, is a typical 2-DOF PPM. It has a non-symmetrical structure composed of three parallelogram mechanisms. This PPM has a prominent function that does not only follow an arbitrary planar
curve precisely within the workspace but also keep the end-effector in a definite posture at all times. Given its outstanding advantages
and simple structure, this PPM has been widely applied in palletizing robots [9].
Regardless of how simple a 2-DOF PPM is, the optimal design is challenging. Many researchers have devoted themselves to this
issue for many years. Gao et al. [10] presented a physical model of the solution space of 2-DOF PPMs and systematically discussed
the comprehensive classification of this kind of manipulators. Huang et al. [11] presented a hybrid method for the kinematic optimal
design of 2-DOF PPMs with a mirror symmetrical geometry. Liu et al. [12] addressed the graphical representation of performance and
the optimum design issue of planar 5R symmetrical PPMs. However, all 2-DOF PPMs discussed in these articles have a mirror symmetrical structure. The 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is another type of 2-DOF PPM with a non-symmetrical structure. Although many

⁎ Corresponding author at: Room 1502, Building 9003, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China. Tel.: +86 10 6278 9211.
E-mail address: xinjunliu@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn (X.-J. Liu).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mechmachtheory.2014.12.014
0094-114X/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

how the effectiveness of transmissibility in each pose varies around the average transmissibility remains unclear. Performance evaluation and dimensional synthesis are two important issues in kinematic optimization. This variation demonstrates the fluctuation of the LTI around the GTI. articles about the kinematic optimal design of this manipulator in spray-painting robots are seldom found. 1(b) presents the physical model of a spray-painting robot proposed by authors which contains a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. This paper is organized as follows. Thus. Architecture Fig. new indices that consider desirable workspace and transmissibility are introduced to comprehensively solve the kinematic optimization problems of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. (c) If the design conditions vary. there can be several configuration modes for the end-effector. a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM with desirable workspace and transmissibility is identified. [7] proposed two simple but useful frame-free indices. the performance atlases method exhibits several obvious advantages. optimum motion control [14] and layout analysis [15]. Wu et al. The kinematics of a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is analyzed in Section 2. The GTW of the manipulator is discussed in Section 4. However. The traditional kinematic optimization method for PMs is the objective function method that involves establishing an objective function and obtaining a result via algorithms [16–18]. including its length and angular design parameters. including structural optimization [13]. the iterative solving process is not only time consuming. and each parallelogram mechanism can be configured as a parallelogram form or an anti-parallelogram form. The local conditioning index (LCI) [21] and the global conditioning index (GCI) [2] have been widely used by numerous researchers. To conduct kinematic optimal design for a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. Conclusions are presented in Section 7. (a) The highly non-linear objective function is difficult to establish. then users have no choice but to restart their work from the beginning [19]. As shown in Fig. Then based on these performance indices. a recent study [22] found serious inconsistencies when these indices were applied to the kinematic optimal design of mixed-DOF PMs. Section 3 investigates the design space of the manipulator. The 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM: (a) kinematic structure and (b) application in a spray-painting robot. Performance atlases based on these performance indices are also illustrated in this section. Finally. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 articles have investigated its application in palletizing robots. Section 6 introduces the use of performance atlases to determine the optimum parameters and provides an optimal manipulator. According to the application requirements in the spray-painting robots. . performance indices are required. Liu et al. Compared with the traditional objective function method. 1(a) shows a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. (b) This method may provide an optimal result. but seldom applied in the spray-painting robots. the LCI cannot provide a mathematical distance between current position and singularity [7]. the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram manipulator consists of three parallelogram mechanisms. Thus. According to the application requirements in the spray-painting robots.2 X. It not only graphically and globally shows the relationship between performance indices and design parameters but also provides all possible solutions to users [20]. However. Furthermore. Kinematics of a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM 2. namely. 2. Users can obtain the optimal results by comparing all possible solutions in the same chart. Fig. The LTI can judge the effectiveness of transmissibility in a single pose. but users cannot know how optimal the result is because the relationship between design parameters and performance indices is unknown. The 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is widely used in palletizing robots.-J. 1. and some simplification are inevitably involved in objective function. the anti-parallelogram mechanisms are easy to cause (b) (a) driving motor spray gun Fig. which is particularly important for the optimal design of driving motors. which also limits the application of this index. Three unavoidable difficulties are encountered in this method.1. performance indices based on desirable workspace and transmissibility are proposed in Section 5. 1(a). which is convincing and convenient. Although the GTI can provide a PM with good average transmissibility. whereas the GTI represents the average effectiveness of a series of poses in the good transmission workspace (GTW). the kinematic optimization is achieved by using performance atlas method. but the optimal result based on objective function method is sometimes unreliable. the local transmission index (LTI) and the global transmission index (GTI).

Link OA is fixed on the serial manipulator assembly unit. Liu et al. the end-effector is a cylindrical spray gun. β is the angle between fixed link OA and axis OX in coordinate system XOY. and its length is R3. Furthermore. Link HI represents the distance between the center of the end-effector (link IP) and that of joint H. When links OC and OD are driven by actuating joints. 2. θ1 is the angle between link OD and axis OX that is driven by the actuating joint.X. Geometric parameters in this manipulator can be described as follows. joint O and link OA are fixed on the serial manipulator assembly unit and only the driven angles above axis OX are meaningful for this spray-painting robot. The end-effector of the manipulator is the link IP that is connected to the base through three parallelogram mechanisms. and CFGH. In order to concentrate the target. ODEC. γ 3 ¼ ∠FGH ¼ δ þ β−θ2 . R is a constant value that cannot change the position range of the end-effector. The other six angular parameters are passive angles expressed by γ1 ¼ ∠DEC ¼ θ1 −θ2 . Consequently. R should be as small as possible to obtain a compact structure. 1(a). shown in Fig. γ 2 ¼ ∠ABC ¼ θ1 −β.2. In general. . 1 and 2. the kinematics of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM must be investigated first. 2.-J. This distance must satisfy the spray requirements of the spray gun. as shown in Fig. Parallelogram mechanisms OABC. 2. The end-effector is a cylindrical spray gun assembled on a moving platform. namely. only the configuration mode that contains no anti-parallelograms is studied in this article. Kinematic analysis To conduct performance evaluation and dimensional synthesis. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 3 geometry interference problems which are inappropriate for both palletizing robots and the spray-painting robots. the position of the end-effector (point P) in coordinate system XOY can be expressed by the following equation:  0 X P ¼ R1 cos θ1 −R3 cos θ2 −R : 0 Y P ¼ R1 sin θ1 −R3 sin θ2 −R2 ð1Þ In practical applications. OABC. Hence. All revolute joints in this manipulator are perpendicular to plane XOY. ε3 ¼ ∠C FG ¼ π þ θ2 −δ−β: 2. Eight kinematic angular parameters are observed in this manipulator. (1) can be reasonably simplified as follows:  X P ¼ R1 cos θ1 −R3 cos θ2 : Y p ¼ R1 sin θ1 −R3 sin θ2 −R2 ð2Þ According to Figs. ODEC. R2 is the distance between the spray nozzle and the moving platform. and CFGH share a revolute center located in point C. In addition. Kinematic scheme of the common working mode for a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. Eq. according to the practical application of this 2-DOF 3paralelloggram manipulator. ε2 ¼ ∠BCO ¼ π−θ1 þ β. ε1 ¼ ∠ODE ¼ π−θ1 þ θ2 . θ2 is the angle between link OC and axis OX that is driven by another actuating joint. According to Fig. as shown in Fig. Two coaxial actuating revolute joints are located in point O. Link OC is the arm of the manipulator. The length of link HI is R. and R can be regarded as the sum of the radius of joint H and that of the spray gun. 1(a). in order to avoid geometric interference with cars to be painted and singularity caused by out of control. Fig. Link CH in parallelogram mechanism CFGH and link CE in parallelogram mechanism ODEC are fixed together. the end-effector (link IP) can follow an arbitrary planar curve within the workspace and maintain a definite posture at all times. and its length is R1. link CF in parallelogram mechanism CFGH and link CB in parallelogram mechanism OABC are the two edges of triangle link BFC. 1(b). which represents the distance between the center of joint H and that of the end-effector. Parallelogram mechanisms OABC and ODEC share a revolute center located in point O. Link CH is the forearm. Links IP and HI are fixed together. δ is the vertex angle between edges CF and CB in triangle link CFB. as shown in Fig.

That is. In the practical application of a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. Therefore. 180∘) and θ2 ∈ (0∘. (2) can be rewritten in non-dimensional space as follows:  xP ¼ r 1 cos θ1 −r 3 cos θ2 yp ¼ r 1 sin θ1 −r 3 sin θ2 −r 2 ð7Þ . (3) where i = 1. All possible positions of the end-effector constitute the workspace of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. the workspace of this manipulator is determined by the length parameters. 3) are divided by D to define three non-dimensional parameters as follows: r 1 ¼ R1 =D. All these geometric parameters constitute a design space for the manipulator. c  a ¼ 2R1 R2 þ Y p . YP) according to Eq. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 the driven angles are always defined as θ1 ∈ (90∘. the position of point P is determined by length parameters. 2 to reach the same position (XP. Thus. 180∘) and θ2 ∈ (0∘. we can divide the design space into two independent subspaces. Thus. 2 .-J. σ 1 ¼ −1. both length parameters (R1. There are two solutions of θ1 and θ2 shown as Eq. the values of the driven angles that correspond with the positions of the end-effector are required. the working posture of the end-effector has no relationship with the length parameters and is determined only by angular parameters β and δ. namely. and r 3 ¼ R3 =D: ð5Þ Obviously. Dividing all the length parameters by their average is an efficient method.  2 l ¼ R2 þ Y p . these length parameters should be nondimensionalized. According to Eq. thus indicating that the posture of triangle link CFB is constant. R2 and R3) and angular parameters (δ and β) are involved to determine a 2-DOF 3parallelogram PPM. 2. ui ¼ 2 n ¼ ðR1 þ R3 Þ . Liu et al. 0 b r 2 b 3 and 0 b r 3 b 3Þ: ð6Þ Therefore. as link OA is fixed. σ 2 ¼ 1: 3. To illustrate the relationship between performance indices and length parameters in a performance atlas. d þ σ ib vi ¼ ði ¼ 1. However. When the driven angles vary in the driving space. 90∘). Length design space The length design space consists of three length parameters R1. In other words. (2). r 2 ¼ R2 =D. including R1. the working trace of the end-effector is determined by the driven angles (θ1 and θ2) although the desirable workspace is given by a work task. and R3. Similarly. −1 θ2 ¼ 2 tan vi i ¼ 1. (3) where i = 1 can be used and the corresponding working mode of the 2-DOF 3parallelogram PPM is shown in Fig. each length parameter can vary from zero to infinite. 3. Let D ¼ ðR1 þ R2 þ R3 Þ=3: ð4Þ Then length parameters Ri (i = 1.1. Theoretically. R2. Therefore. (2). in the same driving space. 2Þ.  2  2 2 c ¼ R1 þ X p þ R2 þ Y p −R3 . the angle between link CB and axis OX remains constant via parallelogram mechanism OABC. Only the solution in Eq.   d ¼ −2R3 R2 þ Y p . the end-effector (link IP) maintains a defined posture via parallelogram mechanisms CFGH and OABC.  2  2 2 e ¼ X p −R3 þ R2 þ Y p −R1 . 2. The ranges of the driven angles constitute a driving space for the manipulator. ( −1 θ1 ¼ 2 tan ui i ¼ 1. it is impractical to conduct kinematic optimization using these length parameters directly. as used in [23] and [24]. when the driven angles are given. the length design space and the angular design space. R2 and R3. the workspace of this manipulator has no relationship with the angular parameters. Meanwhile. 2 m ¼ ðR1 −R3 Þ . 2 k ¼ Xp . 2Þ. r 1 þ r 2 þ r3 ¼ 3 ð0 b r 1 b 3. 2 ð3Þ where a þ σ ib ði ¼ 1. Design space According to Fig. Hence. Eq.4 X. 2. e qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi ffi b ¼ −ðk þ l−mÞðk þ l−nÞ. To regulate the working trace. there can be theoretically two working modes for the 2-DOF 3parallelogram PPM to obtain the same pose. the workspace and the working posture are uncoupled in the design space. the aforementioned driven angles have been defined as θ1 ∈ (90∘. the end-effector can reach different positions in coordinate system XOY. 90∘).

thus allowing performance evaluation and dimensional synthesis based on performance atlases to be conducted in a planar coordinate system conveniently. and r3 in the spatial coordinate system to a planar coordinate system defined by s and t. The manipulators with the length parameters under the same relationship have the similar workspace. Finally. A linear map can be made to convert r1. namely. generally. (6). Non-dimensional design space of the length parameters. (6). in order to avoid geometric interference between link AB and the driving motor. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 5 where (xp. the value of each non-dimensional parameter (r1. (7) can be rewritten as follows:   8 pffiffiffi < xP ¼ 3− 3s=2−t=2 cos θ1 −t cos θ2    pffiffiffi pffiffiffipffiffiffi : : y ¼ 3− 3s=2−t=2 sin θ −t sin θ − s−t= 3 3=2 p 1 2 ð10Þ Meanwhile. δ is an inner angle of triangle CFB and it should naturally satisfy the condition as follows ∘ ∘ 0 b δ b 180 : ð12Þ Fig. Although three non-dimensional length parameters are indicated in Eq. Let t ¼ r3 ð0 b t b 3Þ . and r3) can be illustrated as triangle UVW in the non-dimensional design space in Fig. 3. Yp). based on the linear map shown in Eqs. the angle between fixed link OA and axis OX can be defined as ∘ ∘ 0 b β b 180 : ð11Þ Meanwhile. Eq. According to the practical application of this manipulator in Fig. (7). as shown in Fig. 4. r2. the distribution of the non-dimensional parameters (r1. this triangle U′V′W′ can be divided into 12 regions. 3. 4. Then.X. 4. Liu et al. According to Eq. only two of them are independent according to Eq.2. According to Eq. 1(a). r2. r2. Three non-dimensional parameters under the same relationship are located in the same region in the triangle. . the non-dimensional length design space shown as triangle UVW in Fig. β (the angle between fixed link OA and axis OX) and δ (the vertex angle between the edges CF and CB in triangle link CFB). 3 can be converted to triangle U′V′W′ in Fig. (8) and (9). we can clearly recognize the relationship of the parameters and identify the workspace properties of the manipulators in each region. ð8Þ pffiffiffi pffiffiffi  pffiffiffi pffiffiffi s ¼ r 3 = 3 þ 2r 2 = 3 t= 3 b s b ð6−t Þ= 3 : ð9Þ Then. According to Fig. joint A is always fixed above axis OX shown as in Fig.-J. these 12 relationships can be regarded as the boundary condition to classify a manipulator. or r3) in triangle U′V′W′ has a variation range from 0 to 3 and there can be 12 kinds of relationships between them according to their values. Thus. (5). Thus. 2. yp) is the non-dimensional position of the end-effector in the workspace corresponding with (Xp. Angular design space Two angular parameters determine the posture of the end-effector. 3.

the GTW can be defined as a workspace in which all transmission angles involved belong to [20°. the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM works in the GTW. Presentation of the GTW All reachable positions of the end-effector constitute the workspace of a PM when the theoretical driven angles vary from minimum to maximum. the UW is the workspace under the driven space: θ1 ∈ (90∘. we can reasonably widen the range of the acceptable transmission angle. 90∘). The appropriate transmission angle is only the condition to define the GTW. The GTW that can keep the end-effector at a certain distance from the singular loci is a subspace of the UW. If the transmission angle is near 90°. the largest continuous workspace generally is selected. i. Once a PM has been assembled.-J.6 X. According to Fig. the range [20°. when the two driven angles satisfy condition (15). Thus. it is bounded by singular loci. Although the UW defined in the driven space is the largest continuous workspace without singularity. the position of the end-effector is determined by parallelogram mechanism ODEC. 160°]. 160°] is widely accepted and used by engineers in the spray-painting industry.. The definition of theoretical driven angles usually does not consider singularity and geometric interference in practical applications. 180∘) and θ2 ∈ (0∘. namely. However. According to Eq. 135°] are too conservative for the spray-painting task. To make this manipulator work in the GTW. With respect to this 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. Thus. ð13Þ ε1 ¼ 180−θ2 þ θ1 : ð14Þ Then. the ranges of these two angular parameters. The end-effector can reach every point in the UW. conditions (11) and (12). γ1 and ε1 should belong to [20°. we can obtain ∘ ∘ 20 ≤θ2 −θ1 ≤160 : ð15Þ Thus. θ2. For high-speed and high-quality motion transmission. For the application of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in the spraypainting robot. then the end-effector is far from the singular loci. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 Fig. Therefore. and ε1 can be regarded as the inverse transmission angle [26]. 4. the range [20°. Liu et al. The transmission angle is widely used to evaluate the transmissibility of a link mechanism. To investigate the GTW fully. constitute the angular design space for the 2DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. the GTW is defined. Design space of s and t. it only works in one continuous workspace without any singularity and interference. 2. (10) and condition (15). For the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in the spray-painting robot. 135°] [25]. the relationship of θ1. the range [45°. and the mechanism works at high efficiency. 160°]. Thus. To strengthen the working ability of a PM. singularity and possible geometric interference are considered when we define the driving space according to its application in the spray-painting robot. According to Fig. Numerous properties of the GTW are associated with the performance of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. non-dimensional parameters (s and t) that determine the area and length of the GTW must be considered. γ1 can be regarded as the direct transmission angle. no uniform standard regarding the appropriate transmission angle for the spray-painting robots yet exists up to now. as the end-effector is a light spray gun that works at a slow speed. the usable workspace (UW). 2. If the transmission angle is near 0° or 180°. but the transmissibility of the manipulator becomes poor when the endeffector is near the singular loci. To analyze the GTW of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. the most widely accepted range of appropriate transmission angle is [45°. the end-effector is near the singular loci. To our knowledge. all transmission angles in the parallelogram mechanism ODEC are observed. and the transmissibility of the link mechanism becomes poor. and ε1 can be expressed by γ1 ¼ θ2 −θ1 . 4. To avoid this phenomenon. γ1. the GTWs of all possible . 160°] can be the acceptable transmission angle.e.

Liu et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 7 manipulators can be illustrated in Fig. As we divide the length design space into 12 regions according to the relationships of the length parameters. thus we always prefer a larger GTW to a smaller one. In Fig. 4). The GTWs of all possible manipulators. for the GTW of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogam PPM in a spray-painting robot. Moreover. 8. . 5. The GTW of a manipulator indicates the shape and area of the workspace. if the best working ability and flexibility of the manipulator are required. so several qualitative suggestions based on the workspace can be obtained from Fig. the sum of all the GTWs in the same region can reflect the common properties of manipulators in this region. shown in the 12 regions in Fig. 9. 5. a longer length in the X direction and more symmetrically distribution along axis X indicate a larger painting region with fewer heaving motion in the Y direction. Thus. 5 when we select the values of s and t (r1. these four qualitative optimal regions can be picked out from the design space and regarded as the boundaries for quantitative optimal design such that the optimization efficiency can be improved significantly. r2. we usually do not select the parameters in region 2. each point in triangle U′V′W′ represents a definite 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. which considers all possible combinations of s and t (r1. 5. Obviously. and r3. Therefore. and 11 can be regarded as the qualitative optimal regions in which the optimum parameters can be obtained. Besides. r2. Thus. the area of the workspace can reflect the working ability and flexibility of a mechanism. in order to ensure that the spray-painting robot own the largest painting region and the most stable working performance we should choose the values of s and t in region 8 or 9 that possesses both the longer length in the X direction and the more symmetrically distribution along axis X. Fig. On the other hand. In detail. the GTWs in the same region have similar shapes. On one hand. and r3). regions 1.X. we should choose the values of s and t in region 1 or 11 that possesses the largest GTW. Each of the 12 charts around triangle U′V′W′ represents a set of all GTWs from all possible manipulators within the same region. and too many discontinuous areas are distributed in region 2. a larger workspace indicates better working ability and flexibility.-J. as a definite manipulator works only in a single continuous workspace.

the largest horizontal length of the GTW. 5. Liu et al. thus indicating the least heaving motion of the spray-painting robot.1. However. Performance indices When we identify a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. ð16Þ where xp and yp should observe Eq. 4 and 6. (10). the performance indices based on desirable workspace and transmissibility. determining which point in the same region is better than the others remains infeasible. the value of r2 should be as small as possible. Several representative values of the AGTWs are shown in Fig. two kinds of performance indices can be proposed. the definition of the AGTW can be specifically given as Z Z AGTW ¼ θ1 θ2 xp yp dθ1 dθ2 . / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 5. the value of the AGTW decreases. new indices based on the property of the GTW are necessary for selecting the optimum length parameters. 5. both performances based on desirable workspace and transmissibility should be given attention. a 2DOF 3-parallelogram PPM with a larger AGTW is better than that with a smaller AGTW. 6. θ1 and θ2 should follow condition (15). . we expect that the identified manipulator exhibits the best performance. (10). The performance indices within the same design space can then be illustrated in one performance atlas. The AGTW of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM.2. the relatively symmetrical distribution of the GTW along axis X. the painting trace should Fig. Thus. The intersection region that can satisfy each performance index efficiently is the optimal parameter region of the manipulator. as r2 increases. In a non-dimensional design space. However. the workspace and working posture are uncoupled in the design space. the length of the workspace requires much concern. For the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in this study. thus reflecting its working ability and flexibility.-J. Area of the GTW (AGTW) The area of the workspace can reflect the working ability and flexibility of a mechanism. the manipulator has the largest area of the GTW. if the largest AGTW is required. and the most stable transmissibility. the aforementioned performances always contradict each other in the design space. For example. such that the intersection region of these performance indices can be selected. Thus.8 X. A long working trace in the X direction indicates a large painting region. Meanwhile. the GTW of each manipulator is different. To avoid too much heaving motion. performance indices are proposed. 5 work in their GTWs. thus indicating the largest painting region for the spray-painting robot. and the values of r1 and r3 should be as close as possible. Length of the GTW along axis X (LGTW) In application of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in a spray-painting robot. the AGTW curves in triangle U′V′W′ are symmetrically distributed along line r1 = r3. Thus. Performance indices based on desirable workspace All manipulators illustrated in triangle U′V′W′ shown in Fig. namely. The AGTWs of all possible manipulators in triangle U′V′W′ can then be illustrated in one atlas. Meanwhile. Although several qualitative suggestions can be obtained when the 12 regions are compared with each other. 5. Based on Figs. According to the analysis in Section 3.1. Based on Eq. 6. To solve contradiction problems among different performance requirements.1. the highest transmission efficiency.1.

2. the CGTW is an extension of the GTW. 7. To obtain a large painting region for the spray-painting robot. . The LGTW is defined as the length of the GTW along axis X in the coordinate system XOY. sinγ2 . According to Eq.X. LTImin ¼  ð19Þ ∘ ∘ sin20 or sin160 ≈ 0:342: ð20Þ Fig. 4 and 7. as r1 increases. 5. Meanwhile. The difference is that the CGTW considers all transmission angles associated with both the working position and the working posture. sinγ3 . Liu et al. The CGTW is defined as the workspace that considers all these transmission angles (γi and εi) that belong to [20°. Therefore. ε2 and ε3 can be regarded as the inverse transmission angles of parallelogram mechanisms OABC and CFGH [26]. The LTI is defined as LTI ¼ minf sinγ 1 . the LGTW is proposed. 5.-J. However. and it enables the entire mechanism to maintain good transmissibility during the working process. Performance indices of transmissibility Aside from its planar pointing function. parallelogram mechanism ODEC changes its status to reach different positions. sinε2 . / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 9 work efficiently along axis X.1. Thus. Several representative values of the LGTWs are shown in Fig. r1 should firstly be larger than r2 and the value of r1 should secondly be as large as possible. all transmission angles in the aforementioned three parallelogram mechanisms should be considered.2. the value of the LGTW also increases. 160°]. sinε3 g: ð18Þ Then.2. Thus. 7. the transmission angles associated with the posture of the end-effector are also related to the transmissibility of the manipulator. The definition of the LGTW can be given specifically as follows: LGTW ¼ jxp max −xp min jyp ¼0 : ð17Þ The LGTWs of all possible manipulators in triangle U′V′W′ can then be illustrated in one atlas. The LGTW of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM.2. In detail. the maximum and minimum LTI can be obtained as follows: ∘ LTImax ¼ sin90 ¼ 1. sinε1 . (10). 5. The LTI To quantitatively evaluate the transmissibility of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in a definite position. the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM can also keep the end-effector in a definite posture within the entire workspace. whereas parallelogram mechanisms OABC and CFGH change theirs to keep the end-effector in a definite posture. During the working process. According to Figs. the CGTW and the GTW define the same workspace. the LGTW curves in triangle U′V′W′ are mainly distributed on the left side of line r1 = r2. when we investigate the transmissibility of the manipulator. Definition of the comprehensive GTW (CGTW) The definition of the GTW only concerns the transmission angles involved to determine the position of the end-effector. whereas the GTW only concerns the working position of the manipulator. the LTI is proposed based on the CGTW. γ2 and γ3 can be regarded as the direct transmission angles of parallelogram mechanisms OABC and CFGH.

there are two manipulators and both possess the same GTI as 0. the length design space and the angular design space are uncoupled.8. Liu et al. According to Fig. ° 5. the LTI of the first manipulator varies stably in the CGTW while the LTI of the second manipulator varies dramatically in the CGTW. it is not wisdom to conclude that all manipulators with the same large GTI are optimal for some differences indeed exist among these manipulators. the GTI also ranges from the LTImin to LTImax. For example. The GTI is defined as the average transmissibility of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in the CGTW.-J. when the LTI is near the LTImin. 5. 8. The specific definition of the GTI is given by Z GTI ¼ W Z ðLTIÞdW . at least one transmission angle is near 20° or 160°. it is quite a comprehensive index to evaluate the transmissibility of the manipulator. The GTI A set of positions are found in the CGTW. According to conditions (11) and (12). In fact. . Namely. By contrast. The GTIs of all possible manipulators can then be illustrated in one atlas. ð21Þ dW W where W is the area of the CGTW. thus indicating that the center exhibits better transmissibility than the edges. thus leading to numerous manipulators with various GTIs. when we identify a manipulator. However.75. As the GTI concerns all the transmission angles in all possible positions in the CGTW. each point in the angular design space indicates a definite 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. the GTI curves have monotonically increasing features toward the common center of the curves. The 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM exhibits superior transmissibility.2. we should select the values of β and δ within the innermost curve with the value of 0. Thus. which indicates a good average transmission level for this manipulator. The 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM then exhibits poor transmissibility. For the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in this study. Several representative values of the GTIs are shown in Fig. the GTI is proposed. we are usually confused with the circumstance that there can be several options that possess the same large GTI. 8. Calculating the LTIs of all possible positions in the CGTW and then judging their transmissibility are impractical. and the LTI is the local transmissibility index of the manipulator in a definite position and posture. The fluctuant transmission index (FTI) The GTI can well reflect the average transmissibility that is important for selecting an optimal manipulator. To obtain the best transmissibility for the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. 8.10 X. we ° Fig.2. the transmissibility of this manipulator is only associated with the angular design space. However. and the first one is more reliable in practical application. A large GTI indicates that the LTIs of the manipulator in all possible positions are relatively large. β and δ determine the GTI of the manipulator. Given that the value of the LTI ranges from the LTImin to LTImax. Obviously.3. Once the desirable workspace is determined by length parameters. The GTI of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in the angular design space. The LTI is suitable to evaluate the transmissibility of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in a definite position and posture.4. all transmission angles are near 90°. Numerous combinations of the angular parameters (β and δ) are available in the angular design space. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 When the LTI is near the LTImax. the transmissibility of these two manipulators is quite different. To evaluate the transmissibility of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM conveniently.

The FTI has a larger value than 0. the FTI is proposed. Optimal kinematic design based on performance atlases 6. The FTI of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in the angular design space. 5.04 within the upper and lower curves with a value of 0. Although the LTI and GTI based on GTW are proposed and used by other researchers [7]. A small FTI indicates that the LTI of the manipulator varies stably in the CGTW. the FTI proposed in this study has never been used before that reveals more deep transmissibility of a PM. Although the FTI curves at the corners of the angular design space have small values. one spraypainting robot only needs to paint half of the surface of the vehicle. but they are different in the application range. Liu et al. The largest continuous painting area is half of the top region on the vehicle.025. and the LTI is the local transmissibility index of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in a definite position and posture. This area can be regarded as a rectangle with a length of 2000 mm (BD) and a ° Fig. Several representative values of the FTIs are shown in Fig. which is vital for designing driving motors. three concentrated center regions are found for all curves. 10. together with the LTI and GTI in this study can make the transmissibility evaluation of a PM more efficient and make kinematic optimization in transmission more targeted.-J. namely. the GTIs of these corner curves are too small according to Fig. 9. numerous combinations of β and δ are available. The FTI can be regarded as the variance of the LTI that reflects the fluctuation of the LTI around the GTI. For the manipulator in this study. −B @ Z A dW dW W ð22Þ W where W is the area of the CGTW. including the performance indices based on the workspace and transmissibility.025 within the middle curve with a value of 0. On the contrary. a stable working performance can be obtained. The FTI has a smaller value than 0. GTI and FTI are defined based on the general properties of the transmission angles. a large FTI indicates a dramatic variation working condition that should be avoided. Furthermore. As the AGTW and LGTW are defined according to the practical application requirements.025. Summery of the performance indices Two kinds of performance indices are proposed in this section. Thus. the spray-painting robots are always assembled on each side of a vehicle in a production line. they are specific to the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM in a spray painting robot. Thus. the region within the middle curve with a value of 0. thus. Requests of kinematic optimal design ° As shown in Fig. However. 6. the LTI. particularly the fluctuation of the LTI around the GTI. In conclusion. thus leading to different manipulators with various FTIs. the LTI and GTI proposed in this paper considering the CGTW bring more comprehensive meanings. if a small FTI is required under the condition of a large GTI. the FTI. 11 shows a vehicle that must be painted. The FTIs of all possible manipulators can then be illustrated in one atlas. thus they can also be used in the optimization of other PMs. only one usable region from which the optimal angles can be selected is available.1.3. Fig. According to Fig. Thus.04. The FTI is defined specifically as Z FTI ¼ 0Z 12 2 ðLTIÞ dW B ðLTIÞdW C WZ W C . / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 11 generally aim to obtain more information on the transmissibility than the GTI. 8. Both of them are necessary for the kinematic optimization of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. 9. .X. 9.

The line segment OA ¼ 300 mm is the radius of the dead zone for the manipulator.12 X. width of 900 mm (AE). 10. In Fig. Liu et al. we can obtain AC ¼ 1262 mm: ð25Þ Fig. point O is the center of arc BCD and is the original point of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM where it has been assembled. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 Fig. (23) and (24). line segment OB in triangle OBE can be expressed as follows: OB ¼ qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi  2 2 2 2 OE þ BE ¼ OE þ BD=2 : ð24Þ According to Eqs. Layout of the spray-painting robots. Therefore. the minimum painting radius for the spray-painting robot is line segment AC. 11. The largest painting region on the vehicle. . then it can certainly complete the painting task for the vehicle. If the spray-painting robot can finish painting this rectangular area. 11. which can be given by AC ¼ OC−OA ¼ OB−OA: ð23Þ Meanwhile.-J. Arc BCD is the smallest painting arc that can cover the rectangular painting area.

12 and Eq. Steps one to three are repeated to calculate the value of R2. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 13 Thus. the relationship between the practical values of the parameters (R1. Fig. (29). If R2 does not satisfy condition (27). Third. The intersection of the AGTW and the LGTW. The coordinates (s and t) of the intersection point are determined according to Fig. and vLGTW) can be expressed by the following equations [10]: R1 ¼ Dr1 . r2 in the non-dimensional design space should coincide with condition (27) in the practical design space. R2 ¼ Dr2 . in the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM shown in Fig. and stable transmissibility. (8) and (9). (28).5 (vLGTW = 2. However. 12. . vLGTW = 0. If the smallest value of the LGTW. The intersecting region of the AGTW and the LGTW curves with the largest values is presented as the black shaded region in Fig. the value of R2 is calculated according to Eq. Second. ð29Þ pLGTW ¼ DðvLGTW Þ: ð30Þ Based on Fig. ð28Þ 2 pAGTW ¼ D ðvAGTW Þ. The value of r2 is then calculated according to Eqs. to finish the painting task. then we can calculate the values of r1 and r3 according to Eqs. determine the values of R1 and R3 by Eq.3. and R3 can be determined as follows. If R2 satisfies condition (27). is used but no optimal intersection point is found. r3. Determining the length parameters To obtain the best working flexibility and the largest painting region. R1. R2.X. R2. Therefore. 6.5) is identified in the black shaded region. R2 should satisfy the condition R2 ≥300 mm: ð27Þ The requirements of the optimal kinematic design are to find the optimum geometric parameters that will provide the manipulator with good flexibility. the spray gun includes an electrostatic spinning cup. Meanwhile. PLGTW. R3 ¼ Dr3 .e. and the same judgment as in step three is made. thus no metallic object should be present within the range of 300 mm. and pLGTW) and the non-dimensional parameters (r1.. (8) and (9). First. the value of r2 should be as small as possible to obtain the largest values of the AGTW and the LGTW. the value of non-dimensional factor D is calculated according to equation D ¼ AC=vLGTW . that is. Liu et al. Theoretically. The optimal process is then finished. vAGTW. the practical value of the LGTW. 2. i. (28). high transmission efficiency.2.e. then we should reduce the value of the AGTW and repeat the processes until the optimal intersection point is found. 12.-J. the intersection point formed by the AGTW curve with a value of 4 (vAGTW = 4) and the LGTW curve with a value of 2. pAGTW.. 12. i. should satisfy the condition P LGTW ≥1262 mm: ð26Þ In the practical application of a spray-painting robot. r2. which should satisfy conditions (26) and (27). (28) and an evaluation is made. the AGTW and the LGTW should have the largest values. and obtain PAGTW via Eq. the radius of the painting trace should not be smaller than 1262 mm. then we should abandon this intersection point and find another one that is formed by a smaller LGTW and the same AGTW used in the former process. R3.

the optimum length parameters should be found in the qualitative optimal regions. 13.. 9.6. 13. or 11.3 and vAGTW N 1. r 2 ¼ 0:5 and r 3 ¼ 0:879: According to Eq. R2 ¼ 300:475 mm. i.1 and the AGTW with a value of 2. vAGTW >1. 13. Flowchart for determining the length parameters. t ¼ 0:879: Thus. Determining the angular parameters The GTI and the FTI are important for the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM if high transmission efficiency and stable transmissibility are required. The process to determine the optimum parameters R1. The intersection point of the LGTW and the AGTW curves will exceed the qualitative optimal regions when vAGTW b 1. 12 as s ¼ 1:085.6. we consider the optimization to be unsuccessful. we can obtain r 1 ¼ 1:621.3. we can observe that at the intersection point of the LGTW curve with a value of 2. Liu et al.5 AC / vLGTW R2 Reduce vAGTW Reduce vLGTW Dr2 Yes Yes R2 300 mm No vLGTW >0.14 X. If no optimal intersection point can be found under conditions vLGTW N 0. and R3 is illustrated in Fig. (8) and (9). and R3 ¼ 528:24 mm: Based on Fig. we can then obtain R1 ¼ 974:14 mm.e.6 No Failure . A small FTI indicates stable transmission performance. the coordinates of this intersection point can be obtained from Fig. 5. we can obtain the practical value of the AGTW as 2 2 2 pAGTW ¼ D ðvAGTW Þ ¼ ð600:95Þ  2:8 ¼ 1011194:5 mm : 6. The value of nondimensional factor D can then be obtained as D ¼ AC=pLGTW ¼ 1262=2:1 ¼ 600:95: Meanwhile. the value of R2 satisfies condition (27). R2. (6). Therefore. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 According to the qualitative analysis in Fig. regions 1. according to Eqs. 12 and the non-dimensional factor (D = 600.3 No Yes Calculate R1 and R3 Calculate pAGTW End Fig. A large GTI indicates high transmission efficiency.95). (28). Based on the performance atlas in Fig.5 Find r2 of the intersection point D vLGTW =2. 12 and the optimization flowchart in Fig. 8.-J.8. we Start:vAGTW =4 and vLGTW =2.

and GH. 6. 15. However.15 ° X. The optimum angular parameters.025. based on Fig. we can determine that the GTI of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is greater than 0. Furthermore. Liu et al. This subregion is the optimum angular parameter region wherein the optimum angular parameters can be selected. R2 = 300. as shown in Fig. These parameters do not affect the workspace and transmissibility of the manipulator and should be determined based on practical circumstance or the experience of the designer. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 ° Fig. as shown in the shaded region in Fig. the center of the shaded region should be selected as the optimal point with the largest GTI and the smallest FTI. the optimum workspace and transmissibility of the optimum 2-DOF 3parallelogram PPM is illustrated in Fig. HI (R).e. and that the FTI of the manipulator is lower than 0. β = 45∘ and δ = 90∘.75.4. These geometric parameters include the lengths of links OA. R1 = 974. 16. and R3 = 528.14 mm. Establishing a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM The optimum length parameters. are obtained. should first find out the region with the largest GTI and then the subregion with the smallest FTI. Based on the optimum geometric parameters in Fig.24 mm. 14. namely. . i. 14. 14. other geometric parameters not mentioned earlier are still necessary to build the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. According to Fig.e. All optimum values of the geometric parameters in the design space are determined. An optimum 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. i. δ = 90∘ and β = 45∘. are also identified by the performance atlas in Fig. The intersection of the GTI and the FTI of the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM.. An optimum 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is established by the authors.-J. Fig. 14. 14. 15. 15.475 mm. OD..

J. 7. A global performance index for the kinematic optimization of robotic manipulators.12. Z. The optimum workspace and transmissibility of this manipulator are described. The GTW is defined by considering the transmission angles involved to determine the position of the end-effector. Acknowledgments This project is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grant Nos. Based on the CGTW. and four qualitative optimal regions are obtained. ASME J. Liu et al. The design space of the manipulator is analyzed and divided into the uncoupled length design space and the angular design space. ASME J. The kinematics of common working mode for the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is conducted. an optimum 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is identified. and the capable solution is selected for the working pattern. the optimum angular parameters are obtained as β = 45∘ and δ = 90∘.1016/j. the GTI is introduced to reflect the average transmissibility in the GTW. References [1] D. Huang. The AGTW is also proposed to evaluate the working flexibility. Based on the GTW. Angeles.-J. 51375251) and the National Basic Research Program (973 Program) of China under Grant No. Lu. Although the performance indices based on the workspace are specific to the 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM.2014.014. the performance indices based on the transmissibility and the optimal design method used in this study are general and can also be applied to other PPMs.doi. 113 (1991) 220–226.24 mm. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 87 (2015) 1–17 Fig.16 X. Des. the LTI is proposed to investigate the transmissibility of the manipulator in a definite position. The CGTW is defined by considering all the transmission angles associated with both working position and working posture. Conclusions The kinematic optimal design of a 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM is addressed in this study by considering desirable workspace and transmissibility. Based on the LTI. R2 = 300.475 mm and R3 = 528.mechmachtheory. Appendix A. the LGTW is proposed to evaluate the painting region of the spray-painting robot. Performance analysis and optimal design of a 3-DOF 3-PRUR parallel mechanism. Gosselin. 16. Workspace and transmissibility of the optimum 2-DOF 3-parallelogram PPM. Supplementary data Supplementary data to this article can be found online at http://dx. Finally. Based on the performance atlas of the LGTW and the AGTW. . 2013CB035400. [2] C. Mech. W. Zeng. All possible manipulators are qualitatively investigated by considering their GTWs. the optimum length parameters are obtained as R1 = 974.org/10. 130 (2008) 042307.14 mm. Des. The FTI is presented to describe the dynamic wave of the LTI around the GTI. According to the performance atlases of the GTI and the FTI. Mech. 51425501.

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