Geometry and Kinematics of the Mecanum Wheel on a Plane and a Sphere

    Received 11 October 2023; accepted 29 November 2023; published 19 February 2024

    2024, Vol. 20, no. 1, pp.  43-78

    Author(s): Adamov B. I.

    This article is devoted to a study of the geometry and kinematics of the Mecanum wheels, also known as Ilon wheels or the Swedish wheels. The Mecanum wheels are one of the types of omnidirectional wheels. This property is provided by peripheral rollers whose axes are deviated from the wheel one by 45 degrees. A unified approach to studying the geometry and kinematics of the Mecanum wheels on a plane and on the internal or external surface of a sphere is proposed. Kinematic relations for velocities at the contact point of the wheel and the supporting surface, and angular velocities of the roller relative to the supporting surface are derived. They are necessary to describe the dynamics of the Mecanum systems taking into account forces and moments of contact friction in the presence of slipping. From the continuous contact condition, relations determining the geometry of the wheel rollers on a plane and on the internal or external surface of a sphere are obtained. The geometric relations for the Mecanum wheel rollers could help to adjust the existing shape of the Mecanum wheel rollers of spherical robots and ballbots to improve the conditions of contact between the rollers and the spherical surface. An analytical study of the roller geometry was carried out, and equations of their generatrices were derived. Under the no-slipping condition, expressions for rotational velocities of the wheel and the contacting roller are obtained. They are necessary for analyzing the motion of systems within the framework of nonholonomic models, solving problems of controlling Mecanum systems and improving its accuracy. Using the example of a spherical robot with an internal three-wheeled Mecanum platform, the influence of the rollers on the robot movement was studied at the kinematic level. It has been established that the accuracy of the robot movement is influenced not only by the geometric parameters of the wheels and the number of rollers, but also by the relationship between the components of the platform center velocity and its angular velocity. Results of the numerical simulation of the motion of the spherical robot show a decrease in control accuracy in the absence of feedback on the robot’s position due to effects associated with the finite number of rollers, their geometry and switching. These effects lead not only to high-frequency vibrations, but also to a “drift” of the robot trajectory relative to the reference trajectory. Further research on this topic involves the use of the motion separation methods and the statistical methods for kinematical and dynamical analysis of Mecanum systems.
    Keywords: Mecanum wheel, omnidirectional wheel, omniwheel, spherical robot, ballbot, forward kinematics, inverse kinematics, kinematic model
    Citation: Adamov B. I., Geometry and Kinematics of the Mecanum Wheel on a Plane and a Sphere, Rus. J. Nonlin. Dyn., 2024, Vol. 20, no. 1, pp.  43-78

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