Performance Analysis of Series Elastic Actuator based on Maximum Torque Transmissibility

by   Chan Lee, et al.

The use of the Series Elastic Actuator (SEA) system as an actuator system equipped with a compliant element has contributed not only to advances in human interacting robots but also to a wide range of improvements in the robotics area. Nevertheless, there are still limitations in its performance; the elastic spring that is adopted to provide compliance is considered to limit the actuator performance thus lowering the frequency bandwidth of force/torque generation, and the bandwidth decreases even more when it is supposed to provide large torque. This weakness is in turn owing to the limitations of motor and motor drives such as torque and velocity limits. In this paper, mathematical tools to analyze the impact of these limitations on the performance of SEA as a transmission system are provided. A novel criterion called Maximum Torque Transmissibility (MTT)is defined to assess the ability of SEA to fully utilize maximum continuous motor torque. Moreover, an original frequency bandwidth concept, maximum torque frequency bandwidth, which can indicate the maximum frequency up to which the SEA can generate the maximum torque, is proposed based on the proposed MTT. The proposed MTT can be utilized as a unique criterion of the performance, and thus various design parameters including the load condition, mechanical design parameters, and controller parameters of a SEA can be evaluated with its use. Experimental results under various conditions verify that MTT can precisely indicate the limitation of the performance of SEA, and that it can be utilized to accurately analyze the limitation of the controller of SEA.


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