Novel SPECTA actuator to improve energy recuperation and efficiency

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Abstract

The current state of the art in compliant actuation has already good performance, but this is still insufficient to provide a decent autonomy for the next generation of robots. In this paper, a next step is taken to improve the efficiency of actuators by tackling and enhancing the Series-Parallel Elastic Constant Torque Actuation (SPECTA) concept, which has previously been analyzed in simulations. In this work, the efficiency is increased further by decoupling the springs and their driving parts through the use of locking mechanisms, such that the motors are not always loaded and the springs can easily store energy from both input or output. Simulations have been performed to confirm this and they also showed that, in the SPECTA concept, it is always better to use high-speed motors instead of high-torque motors, even with non-efficient gearing. In this paper, the SPECTA concept is also validated experimentally with the use of a newly built test setup. In light of the obtained results, showing an increase in efficiency for almost all working points, it can be stated that SPECTA is a promising new actuation technology that allows for an increase in energy recuperation, efficiency, and autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalActuators
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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