YAN, X.T., CASE, K. and WESTON, R.H., 1994. Generalized approach to the modelling of modular machines. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 1994, 208 (B3), pp.191-203.
This paper describes a method of graphically simulating modular machines within a computer aided design environment. This forms part of a much larger Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) funded programme aimed at advancing modern practices when designing and building manufacturing machines. A generalized approach to the synthesis of the generic features of various kinematic motion pairs is presented and prismatic and revolute motion primitives generalized in their functional and geometric aspects. A hierarchical ring and tree data structure has been designed and implemented to comprehensively represent these motion pairs and to simulate their performance. More complex modular manufacturing machines can be represented using information from a library of up to three degree of freedom motion modules. Seven two degree of freedom motion primitives and twelve three degree of freedom motion primitives with articulation configurations have been analyzed and included in the motion primitive library. The configuration of modular machines comprised of physically separate but logically connected distributed motion primitives are described. Examples of a two-finger industrial robot gripper and a three-finger industrial robot hand are used to demonstrate the general principles.