Indexed on: 13 Dec '19Published on: 12 Dec '19Published in: Bioinspiration & biomimetics
The improvement of the load capacity of soft robotic grippers has always been a challenge. The load improvement methods of existing soft robotic grippers mainly include the development of soft actuators with high output force and the creation of closed gripping structures. Inspired by winding behaviors of animals and plants, we propose a high-load soft robotic gripper driven by pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) that combines the advantages of a high force soft actuator and a closed gripping structure. Most existing model formulations focus on characterizing the end force generated to the length contraction and applied pressure of PAMs. However, the focus of this work is to build the force model of PAMs in winding shape to analyze the tightening force of the high-load soft gripper, and the model is validated by a tightening force test. An experimental work is carried out to characterize the load capacity and multi-object gripping capacity of the high-load soft gripper. We experimentally prove that it can lift heavy objects that weight up to 35.5 kg, which is more than 47 times its weight. This work contributes to the load improvement of soft robotic grippers, and the mathematical modeling of engineering systems with winding structures. The developed high-load soft gripper is expected to enter the practical application field from the laboratory. © 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd.