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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X


REDDY, C.E.; PADAYACHEE, J.  and  BRIGHT, G.. Development and analysis of reconfigurable robotic end-effector for machining and part handling. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2021, vol.32, n.1, pp.56-70. ISSN 2224-7890.

Advanced robotic systems are an Industry 4.0 enabler in smart factories. Industrial robotic manipulators require an end-effector to perform tasks. The purpose of this study was to research and develop a reconfigurable robotic end-effector for machining and part handling. The device eliminates the need for separate robots to perform part handling and machining operations. A reconfigurable, dual-purpose design eliminates lengthy end-effector changes. The paper presents the mechanical conceptualisation, detailed design, manufacturing, and testing of the end-effector and spindle system. The concept uses a flexible, cable-driven gripper system in conjunction with a compact, lightweight milling system that is capable of machining non-ferrous metals. The results demonstrate the versatility and high compliance of the gripper. An experimental study revealed the influence that reconfigurability has on the spindle dynamics. The dynamic response of the gripping system was also experimentally examined during machining to evaluate the practicality of a dual-purpose design. Experimentally developed stability lobe diagrams are presented, which characterise the stable operating parameters of the machining system.

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