Worcester Polytechnic Institute Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection

Title page for ETD etd-061308-160839

Document Typethesis
Author NameLaPierre, Jeffrey A
TitleA Novel Tension-Member Follower Train for a Generic Cam-Driven Mechanism
DepartmentMechanical Engineering
  • Professor Robert Norton, Advisor
  • Professor Holly Ault, Committee Member
  • Professor James Van de Ven, Committee Member
  • Professor Cosme Furlong, Graduate Committee Rep
  • Keywords
  • Metal Belt
  • Metal Tape
  • Cam Follower
  • Tension-Member
  • Cam
  • Date of Presentation/Defense2008-05-30
    Availability unrestricted


    Many assembly machines for consumer products suffer from the fact that the mechanisms used to impart the necessary assembly motions to the product are orders of magnitude more massive than the product payloads that they carry. This characteristic subsequently limits the operating speed of the machine. If the follower train could be made less massive without sacrificing accuracy and control, it would therefore allow higher speeds. It is well-known that structures that carry only tensile loads can be much less massive than those that must also carry compressive loads. This concept is demonstrated in many structures, such as the suspension bridge. This master’s project set out to investigate the feasibility of a tension-member follower train for a generic cam-driven pick and place mechanism. This system was first dynamically simulated using a computer model, and then tested by constructing a proof of concept prototype. A cam-driven, low-mass tension member (in this case a spring steel strip over pulleys) under spring preload was used to replace the bellcranks and connecting rods typical of a conventional follower train. The system was determined to be feasible and will allow for increased operating speeds at potentially lower costs as an additional benefit.

  • jlapierre.pdf

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