Research in SIMTech

The mission of Mechatronics Group (MCH) is to provide the key technologies and expertise for the development of precision machines and robotic systems for manufacturing automation. The major manufacturing industry sectors supported by the group include precision engineering, electronics/semiconductor, aerospace, and marine. To meet the current and future needs for manufacturing automation, the group is organised into two focused research themes, i.e., Precision Mechatronics (PM) and Industrial Robotics (IR).

Precision Mechatronics

In high-volume manufacturing industries such as electronics and semiconductor sectors, there are increasing needs for high-speed precision machines in order to achieve high production throughput and low manufacturing cost. In addition, the emerging manufacturing technologies, such as large-area roll-to-roll processing and microfluidics manufacturing, have posed a lot of challenging automation issues, e.g., flexible web/substrate handling, ultra-precision alignment and overlay control. Driven by such industrial demands, the PM team has identified four focused research tracks: High-Speed Intelligent Linear Motion Systems, Ultra-precision Positioning, Wide-Format Roll-to-roll Web Handling, and Thermal Effects in Precision Systems.

Industrial Robotics

Many industries, such as precision engineering, aerospace, and marine sectors, are exploring robotic automation for high-mix and low-volume tasks that are often perceived as 'difficult-to-automate' processes, e.g., chamfering, deburring, and polishing. Different from conventional robotic automation that only requires retentive dexterous motions, those 'difficult-to-automate' processes are normally contact-type operations with force control and machining dynamics involved. To make industrial robots effective for contact-type operations and efficient for high-mix and low-volume automation, the IR team has identified three focused research tracks: Human-Robot Interface, Hybrid Force-Motion Control, and Manipulator & Sub-system Design. 

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  1. Flight International Aerospace Industry Award 2002: Project - Robotic wing inspection system.
  2. National Technology Award 1999: Project - SMART 3-D Grinding System for Turbine Blades.
  3. Best Paper Award: "Reciprocal Screw-Based Force-Closure of Cable-Driven Closed Chains", ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Washington DC, USA, 2011.
  4. Best Paper Award: "Design and Motion Control of a Cable-Driven Dexterous Robotic Arm", IEEE Conference on Sustainable Utilization and Development in Engineering and Technology, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010.

Patents Granted:

  1. "Decoupled Planar Positioning System," SG Pat No. 102270; Pub No. US2004000490467.
  2. "Passive Gravity Compensated Mechanism for Multi-segment Linkage," Pat No. US20050023424A1.
  3. "An Adaptive Ripple Suppression/Compensation Apparatus for Permanent Magnet Linear Motors," Pat No. US6853158.
  4. "Nano-positioning electromagnetic linear actuator", SG patent 132562,  US patent 7,868,492.

Patents Filed:

  1. "A method and Apparatus for Pitch-Variable Flexible Flat Cable Manufacturing", SG 201304393-0.
  2. "Flexure-based Maglev planar motor", SG patent application: 201201125-0.
  3. "Ultrasonic Welding of Microfluidic Channels with the Aid of An Elastometric Material to Provide a Leak Proof Seal", SG 201207819-2.
  4. "End-effector module for contact operations", SG patent application:  201100693-9 .
  5. "Tracking Antenna Mount with Zero Torsion on RF Cables" SG 20110512-5.
  6. "A Linear-Rotary Electromagnetic Actuator", Taiwan patent application TW/0991331139, International PCT WO2011/046516.
  7. "Array Probe for Sonic Non-Destructive Testing", SG201009706-1.
  8. "Cylindrical Electromagnetic Actuator" (PCT/SG2010/000445).
  9. "Active Manipulator", PCT patent application: PCT/SG2010/000099.
  10. "Powered Caster Wheel Assembly" (PCT Appln. No. PCT/SC2008/000374).
  11. "Nano-positioning electromagnetic linear actuator", SG Pat. No. 132562. US Pat No. 7,868,492.
  12. "System for surface finishing a workspiece", US 2005/0159840A1.
  13. "A Haptic and Rehabilitation Device Wearable on a Human Body", SG 2004011508.
  14. "Passive gravity compensated mechanism for multi-segment linkage", US6899308.
  15. "Method of Determining Shape Data", US 20050106998 A1.
  16. "Decoupled planar positioning system", Patent US7271879 .
Research Themes Research Facilities/Equipments
7-DOF IA10 and IA20 Manipulators Agilent Laser Interferometre ATOS 3D Digitiser Cleanrooms For Precision Equipment Development General-purpose 3-DOF Positioner High Precision Granite Square and Straight Bars High-resolution Thermal Scanner IGRIP Leica Laser Tracker Mahr Millitron Electronic Probes Polytech Laser Doppler Vibrometer SIOS Triple-beam Laser Interferometer Taylor Hobson Electronic Levels