Sizing the Actuators for a Dragon Fly Prototype

Document Type : Research Paper


1 University “G. Fortunato”. Viale Raffaele Delcogliano, 12, Benevento, 82100, Italy

2 Department of Agricultural Science, University of Naples “Federico II”. Via Università 100, Portici, 80045, Italy

3 Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Via Ariosto 25, Roma, 00185, Italy

4 Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, via Giovanni Paolo II 132, Fisciano, 84084, Italy


In order to improve the design of the actuators of a Dragon Fly prototype, we study the loads applied to the actuators in operation. Both external and inertial forces are taken into account, as well as internal loads, for the purposes of evaluating the influence of the compliance of the arms on that of the "end-effector". We have shown many inadequacies of the arms regarding the stiffness needed to meet the initial design requirements. In order to reduce these inadequacies, a careful structural analysis of the stiffness of the actuators is carried out with a FEM technique, aimed at identifying the design methodology necessary to identify the mechanical elements of the arms to be stiffened. As an example, the design of the actuators is presented, with the aim of proposing an indirect calibration strategy. We have shown that the performances of the Dragon Fly prototype can be improved by developing and including in the control system a suitable module to compensate the incoming errors. By implementing our model in some practical simulations, with a maximum load on the actuators, and internal stresses, we have shown the efficiency of our model by collected experimental data. A FEM analysis is carried out on each actuator to identify the critical elements to be stiffened, and a calibration strategy is used to evaluate and compensate the expected kinematic errors due to gravity and external loads. The obtained results are used to assess the size of the actuators. The sensitivity analysis on the effects of global compliance within the structure enables us to identify and stiffen the critical elements (typically the extremities of the actuators). The worst loading conditions have been evaluated, by considering the internal loads in the critical points of the machine structure results in enabling us the sizing of the actuators. So that the Dragon fly prototype project has been set up, and the first optimal design of the arms has been performed by means of FEM analysis.


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