Researchers say hybrid pick and place robots could be a third cheaper

Robot researchers have long looked at the science of Kinematics and particularly how it applies to parallel robotics as providing novel solutions to robotic problems. But now researchers at the University of Warwick and China’s Tianjin University have used kinematic theory to produce a hybrid “rapid pick and place” robot that draws useful traits from both parallel and series robots and costs a third less than similar robots on the market.

The Diamond 600 robot uses parallel motors to drive its motion along the length of each line of objects it has to manipulate and uses a simple motor in series to move the short hops between each row. This produces a fast action low cost machine that is around one third cheaper than similar robots.

Two Diamond 600 robots have been constructed. One is already in use in a Chinese battery making plant. The other has been purchased by the University of Warwick’s School of Engineering as a research and teaching tool. This new robot is already of great interest to 4th-year MEng students in their module assignment for Dynamic Analysis of Mechanical Systems. Its installation will create many opportunities for research-led teaching in Advance Dynamics and MEng projects as well as providing case study subjects to a large range of modules in mechanics and control, etc.

The research project is initially sponsored by the Chinese National “863” High-Tech Scheme NSFC, and by the Royal Society UK-China Exchange Programme. Professor Tian Huang leads the project in collaboration with Professor Derek Chetwynd and Dr Xianping Liu. Professor Huang holds a joint appointment at Warwick, where he teaches and researches for one term per year, and as Dean of School of Mechanical Engineering at Tianjin University.

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