The R-Min robot is an intrinsically safe parallel manipulator dedicated to pick-and-place operations. The proposed architecture is based on a five-bar mechanism, with additional passive joints in order to obtain a planar seven-bar mechanism with two degrees of underactuation, allowing the robot to reconfigure in case of a collision. A preload bar is added between the base and the end-effector to constrain the additional degrees-of-freedom. This article presents an analysis of the workspace and of the safety performances of the R-Min robot, and it compares them with those of the five-bar mechanism, in order to evaluate the benefits of introducing underactuation in a parallel architecture to obtain intrinsically safer robots. The geometrico-static model of the R-Min robot is formulated as an optimization problem. The direct and inverse kinemato-static models are derived from the geometrico-static model and they allow to express the singularity conditions of the R-Min robot. An analysis of the singularity loci is carried out among the robot’s workspace. A controller based on the dynamic model is proposed and experimentally validated on a prototype of the R-Min robot. Finally, the safety performances of the R-Min robot are evaluated experimentally and they are compared with that of an equivalent five-bar mechanism, using the maximum impact force as a safety criteria in accordance with recent international standards.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues