Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Philip A. Voglewede

Second Advisor

Joseph M. Schimmels

Third Advisor

Mark L. Nagurka

Abstract

SCARA (Selective Compliant Assembly Robot Arm) type robots are the most common type of assembly robots. These robots have four degrees of freedom (three rotational and one translational). Typically these robots are used for assembly tasks that take place along a vertical axis. Many times, however, assembly tasks take place along a non-vertical axis. To account for non- vertical axis assembly, parts must be fed in a proper orientation to allow for correct assembly. Parts feeders and specialized end-effectors are typically used to feed parts in their proper orientation. This thesis investigates a novel end-effector that can be used to feed parts for industrial assembly applications. Specifically, the purpose of the novel end-effector is to provide a SCARA robot with an added selectable degree of freedom. This end-effector aims to bridge the gap between complex anthropomorphic grippers and simple binary grippers. The approach is novel in that the end-effector interacts with the environment to produce the added degree of freedom. New path planning algorithms were developed to work in conjunction with the novel end-effector. A prototype end-effector was designed, built, and tested to prove the validity of this new approach.