This paper proposes a compact and reconfigurable variable stiffness actuator (VSA) using disc spring which is named as SDS-VSA (symmetrical disc spring variable stiffness actuator). To enhance the actuator’s torque density, symmetric compression springs are integrated into the cam-roller-spring mechanism, and a disc spring combination design is employed instead of conventional springs. The disc spring configuration is tailored to achieve a broader stiffness range within a limited size, aligned with stiffness and dimensional requirements. Subsequently, the dynamics of the cam-roller-spring mechanism are derived. To tackle the challenge of strong coupling dynamics, a decoupled modeling method by introducing mismatched and matched disturbances is proposed. A back-stepping tracking controller and proportional-derivative (PD) controller with feedforward are proposed to track the link-side and stiffness motor-side trajectories, respectively. Tracking experiments under significant stiffness alteration are conduced to verify the performance of the prototype SDS-VSA.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues