Flexible robot manipulators have numerous advantages over their rigid counterparts. They have increased payload-to-weight ratio, they run at higher speeds, use less energy and smaller actuators, and they are safer during interaction with their environments. On the other hand, light design combined with external effects result in components which can oscillate with excessive amplitudes. These oscillations cause deviation from the desired path and long idle periods between tasks in order to perform the intended operation safely and accurately. This paper is on an investigation into the effectiveness of a vibration control technique for a two-link flexible robotic arm. Variable stiffness control (VSC) technique is used to control the excessive oscillations. Owing to its dissipative nature, the technique is stable, it is relatively insensitive to significant parameter changes and suitable to be implemented on existing robots. This research considers that the source of the flexibility is either the joints or the links or both. Simulation results of the response of the arm are presented to show the versatility of the proposed control technique. Experiments are performed on a laboratory prototype and the results are presented to test the validity of simulations.
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