T-Flex: A fully flexure-based large range of motion precision hexapod

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Six degree of freedom manipulation provides full control over position and orientation, essential for many applications. However, six degree of freedom parallel kinematic manipulators (e.g. hexapods) either have a limited range of motion combined with a good repeatability when comprising flexure joints, or they have limited repeatability with a large workspace when using traditional rolling- or sliding-element bearings. In this paper, the design and optimization of a fully flexure-based large range of motion precision hexapod robot is presented. The flexure joints have been specifically developed for the purpose of large range of motion and high support stiffness for this manipulator. The obtained system allows for ±100 mm of translational and more than ±10° of rotational range of motion in each direction combined with a footprint of 0.6 m2 and a height of 0.4 m. Furthermore, a dedicated flexure-based design for the actuated joints combines high actuation forces with the absence of play and friction, allowing for accelerations exceeding 10 g. Experiments on a prototype validate the sub-micron repeatability, which is merely limited by the selected electronics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-928
Number of pages17
JournalPrecision engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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