This paper presents a study on the energy utilization of planar automation mechanisms that operate with controlled moves. Designers of factory automation for pick & place tasks often select multiple degree-of-freedom robotic devices. With multiple degrees-of-freedom, task flexibility is available, but many operations require little or no flexibility. The majority of research on the energy usage of these robot devices for pick & place tasks focuses on path planning.

The study presented in this paper explores the energy savings in using low degree-of-freedom devices and the influence of design parameter selection. Energy predictor equations are developed and confirmed through experimentation. Various positioning mechanisms of differing dimensions are studied for trends in energy utilization. Lastly, an actuator control strategy is proposed for further reducing energy requirements. The study concludes that energy usage can be substantially decreased in pick & place applications by reducing the degrees of freedom of the device, implementing a prudent mechanism architecture, ideally selecting mechanism dimensions and optimally controlling the actuator(s).

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