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Applications of the NIST ROBOCRANE.

pdf icon Applications of the NIST ROBOCRANE. (469 K)
Bostelman, R.; Albus, J.; Pagalakis, N.; Jacoff, A.; Gross, J. L.

Robotics and Manufacturing, Vol. 5, 403-407, 1994.


robotics; cranes; construction equipment; measurements; cables; winches


The Robot Systems Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently been experimenting with a variety of applications for the NIST ROBOCRANE. The ROBOCRANE design utilizes the basic idea of the Stewart Platform parallel link manipulator. The unique feature of the NIST approach is to use cables as the parallel links and to use winches as the actuators. Depending on what is suspended from its work platform, the ROBOCRANE has land, air, water, and space applications. A 2-meter version and a 6-meter version of the ROBOCRANE have been built and critical performance characteristics analyzed. Through these and other conceptual models, example applications for ROBOCRANE are: flexible mobility, heavy material handling, and flexible fixturing on land, rescue and personnel/equipment maneuverability in air; subsea pipe-laying/removal, lifting, and salvage from stable or unstable references on water; and lightweight, long distance lunar rover capabilities in space. All applications of ROBOCRANE include a large work volume, six degree-of-freedom control, precision maneuverability, and enhanced crane capabilities. This paper describes ROBOCRANE's present and future performance measurements, control system designs, and the conceputal designs for a multitude of applications.