Matlab Aided Modeling and Simulation for Robotic Development

In the example SimMechanics and Matlab/Simulink was applied in order to design the dynamic models and perform simulations of robots. The graphic interface allows the synthesis and analysis of the object on the functional blocks level. An advantage of such solution is that designers are no longer obligated to write manually movement equations and complicated control code. Simulink is a universal Matlab toolbox for simulation and modeling of both non-continuous and continuous dynamic models. Simulink is a tool which allows subsystems integrating with different physical natures. It is realized as result of the connection between mechanical parts actuators e.g. electric motors and drives and sensors as well as the control system.

It is a big advantage that the designer can integrate electronics, mechanics, and software into a whole complex system in a single environment. Simulations help fitting all system elements together in one product in an optimal manner where constructional assumptions are taken into account. Taking the Production Robot as an example, the simulations help with choosing proper parameters of propulsion system, gears and later control system.

If the simulation process will show that the robot does not fulfill assumptions related to its dynamic properties, corrections are necessary to be applied to the mechanical design. As a result, the model of an improved design should be simulated. The dynamic model of the mechanical parts was prepared using the SimMechanics library. SimMechanics is a toolbox which is available in the Matlab environment. It contains of libraries with blocks designed for modeling complex mechanical systems with any number of stiff bodies with couplings representing the degrees of freedom (translational and rotational).

The Matlab environment provides a full integration between Simulink and SimMechanics. It allows using blocks like ‘actuators’ and ‘sensors’ in modeled systems. SimMechanics can represent mechanical systems in a hierarchical manner in subsystems similarly to Simulink. The models can contain kinematic restrictions, can act with forces or torques, Newton equations can be integrated and movement combinations can be measured.

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