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Advances in Acoustics and Vibration
Volume 2016, Article ID 4503696, 9 pages
Research Article

Working and Limitations of Cable Stiffening in Flexible Link Manipulators

1Control Systems Laboratory, Research Center Imarat, Vigyanakancha, Hyderabad 500069, India
2Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, Kandi, Telangana 502285, India

Received 30 April 2016; Revised 30 June 2016; Accepted 14 July 2016

Academic Editor: Emil Manoach

Copyright © 2016 Rahul Dixit and R. Prasanth Kumar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rigid link manipulators (RLMs) are used in industry to move and manipulate objects in their workspaces. Flexible link manipulators (FLMs), which are much lighter and hence highly flexible compared to RLMs, have been proposed in the past as means to reduce energy consumption and increase the speed of operation. Unlike RLM, an FLM has infinite degrees of freedom actuated by finite number of actuators. Due to high flexibility affecting the precision of operation, special control algorithms are required to make them usable. Recently, a method to stiffen FLMs using cables, without adding significant inertia or adversely affecting the advantages of FLMs, has been proposed as a possible solution in a preliminary work by the authors. An FLM stiffened using cables can use existing control algorithms designed for RLMs. In this paper we discuss in detail the working principle and limitations of cable stiffening for flexible link manipulators through simulations and experiments. A systematic way of deciding the location of cable attachments to the FLM is also presented. The main result of this paper is to show the advantage of adding a second pair of cables in reducing overall link deflections.