Coupling, Cam and Wheel Mechanisms

Gearboxes can be basically divided into uniformly translating gearboxes and non-uniformly translating mechanism. To classify the mechanism design, a distinction is made between planar, spatial and spherical mechanism. The function of the mechanism is either the transmission of motion and forces, the guidance of points and paths or its combination.

Based on the structure, a distinction is made between coupling and cam mechanism or gears.

Coupling mechanism, also called crank and joint mechanism have rotary or thrust joints. In the case of cam mechanism, at least one pair of cam elements is used as an articulated joint. Here, one cam element usually forms the cam contour and another element forms the meshing link. A Gear uses wheels rolling on each other for transmission.

One of the advantages of non-uniformly transmissing gear units can be used to develop inexpensive, specific solutions for motion tasks. In addition, very high cycle rates can be achieved in production plants with such specifically designed mechanisms.

The application areas of the gears and mechanisms researched at the institute cover the entire spectrum of motion technology. Part of the research focus is the analysis, synthesis and optimization of gears.


Projects Coupling, Cam and Wheel Mechanisms

Rendering Energy Efficient Motion System © Copyright: IGMR


Logo and schematic diagram of a mechanism © Copyright: IGMR

MechDev Calculation Core

Mechanism Structure © Copyright: IGMR

MechDev AI

Plexiglass Model of Carbio Top Mechanism © Copyright: IGMR

Mechanism Lexicon


Technical Foldings

Six examples of technical foldings Copyright: © IGMR Unfolding of two technically usable foldings, where the folding pattern corresponds to a radial arrangement of trapezoids


Cross-industry trends such as miniaturization, increased efficiency or lightweight construction are gaining ground in all parts of the engineering sciences and demand innovative concepts. In this context, technical folds - inspired by the structures and patterns of origami art - offer new possibilities. At the Institute of Mechanism Design, Machine Dynamics and Robotics, folding has been part of the research for 10 years. Similar to the mechanisms of the mechanism design field, reconfigurable folds, that is folds that are movable and can assume several configurations, are investigated. Potentials of these structures lie in their compact design and the associated weight reduction, as well as in their flexible use through the mobility of the structure and an attractive design.


Specially designed, origami-inspired folding mechanisms are advantageous over conventional movement units, exactly when the moving surfaces are essential for the overall function. This is contrasted by the complexity of kinematic and dynamic dependencies of these structures, which make their widespread use and simple design difficult. A structured development process and tailor-made methods and tools are required to simplify the design of technical, changeable folds.


In cooperation with other institutes, IGMR is working on such a motion task oriented development process. The application spectrum ranges from foldable living containers or grandstands to applications in robotics. Further competences are the calculation of kinematics and dynamics as well as the design of surfaces and joints of the movable structures.


Projects Technical Foldings

folding based parallel robot © Copyright: IGMR


Simulation of a folding mechanism as a robot shell © Copyright: IGMR


Examples of foldings TransOri © Copyright: IGMR


Holistic RWTH Approach of Fold-In, schematic diagram © Copyright: IGMR



Compliant Mechanism

Compliant mechanisms are monolithic mechanical entities that can transmit motion and forces through deflection of their flexible parts. These mechanisms are omnipresent in nature as parts of compacts natural machines, for example bees’ wings, elephant trunks and blooming flowers.

Compliant mechanisms are used in the field of motion and handling technology when their special properties can be used to solve motion tasks or optimize energy efficiency.

The replication of the functionality of a human finger with such compliant monolithic mechanisms serves as an example here.


Projects Compliant Mechanism

Model of Three Finger Gripper © Copyright: Estefania Hermoza Llanos

Three Finger Gripper

Test Bench for the Investigation of Positive Locking Joints © Copyright: IGMR

Fleure Hinges