The Kinematic Synthesis of a Planar Mechanism with Variable Topology Based on a Qualitative Survey
Date of Award
Thesis - Restricted
Master of Science (MS)
In the field of reconfigurable mechanisms many ingenious designs have been built and analyzed, although very few have been implemented in industrial settings. This thesis rectifies this problem by first comparing this absence of reconfigurable mechanisms to the development of straight-line mechanisms. In order to avoid a repeat of the complex mechanisms with no practical application as seen in the early 1800's, a selective qualitative survey was undertaken to identify potential applications for reconfigurable mechanisms in industrial applications. Twelve manufacturing plants were visited to identify the high frequency types of applications with motion profiles that may be advanced with a reconfigurable mechanism. The platform transfer application was selected from a possible four identified motion profiles for further development. A reconfigurable mechanism was designed using a joint consisting of two revolute-prismatic transforming joints connected by a prismatic-prismatic transforming joint and actuated by a four-bar linkage. Five separate optimizations were run based on equality and in equality constraint equations to improve the performance of the reconfigurable mechanism. The mechanism was then prototyped and validated based on the kinematics of the motion profile. The conclusion of the thesis was that reconfigurable mechanisms can preform motion profiles used within manufacturing; however, traditional mechanisms may still be more beneficial than reconfigurable mechanisms within industrial applications.