Topology Optimization-based Design and Development of a Compact Actuator with a High Torque-to-Weight Ratio for Quadrupeds

ACTUATOR 2022; International Conference and Exhibition on New Actuator Systems and Applications(2022)

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This paper presents the design, development, and testing procedures for a compact actuator with a high torque-to-weight ratio, generally aimed to actuate legged robots, e.g., quadrupeds. The main goal of designing the actuator was to keep its total weight minimum while ensuring a high torque output. Therefore, the following design steps were implemented: i) the actuator was designed in accordance with the torque output requirement and the stress distribution that was mapped on actuator frames, ii) topology optimization was conducted on the initial design and it is modified in accordance with optimization results, and iii) the optima actuator design was built and tested on in a realistic scenario in which it powered an actual quadruped robot for validation. As the result, the proposed actuators could track the desired walking trajectory with a relatively low error. In conclusion, continuous torque output of 48 Nm was obtained via a lightweight (1.6 - 1.7 kg) actuator design.
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