Design evolution of an actuation system for manipulator upper arm based on TRIZ

Hun Keon Ko, Kwon Hee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Most of the existing service robots employ electric actuators with harmonic reducers to drive the upper arm joints. Due to the limited size of elbow joint and shoulder joint, such actuators need to be small. To match the capability of human arm, they also need to be powerful. Such requirements on the actuators lead to high cost. In this work, a new joint actuation system is presented. Based on biomimetic approach, the system is arranged along the length of the upper arm as well as in the upper body. The system represents the functions of human biceps and triceps for elbow joint and of the shoulder muscles including deltoid, pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi and etc. The space for the elbow muscles and the shoulder muscles is much larger than that of each joint. With relieved spatial constraint on the actuation system, economic design is possible with standard industrial components. The new system consists of gears, a timing belt, pulleys and a feed-drive (screw-nut). The feed drive offers high joint torque with high reduction as well as self-locking. Since friction loss is inherent to the feed drive, an attempt is made for design improvement with TRIZ approach. Technical contradiction analysis of TRIZ on the 1 st design suggests several invention principles including 'Nesting' that was implemented in the 2 nd design. Experiments show that the 2 nd design is about 330% more efficient than the 1 st design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Advanced Mechanical Design, Systems and Manufacturing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Actuator
  • Biomimetics
  • Feed Drive
  • Manipulator Upper Arm
  • TRIZ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Design evolution of an actuation system for manipulator upper arm based on TRIZ'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this