Foldrob: Formalized design methods and component-based fundamentals for the development of fold-based robots

  folding based parallel robot Copyright: © IGMR

Project State



Development of fold-based robots with a focus on joint design taking advantage of technical foldings in terms of stiffness and motion space.

By taking advantage of the benefits of technical folding, such as increased stiffness due to an arrangement in kinematically-closed chains or transformability into different states, a novel class of robots will be developed. These fold-based robots address new and increased industrial requirements for stiffness or production speed. The development is based on folding-based and technically usable joint structures.


Due to cost pressure, the competitive situation on today's global markets and new product developments with increasing requirements, current efforts in motion technology and especially robotics are aimed at ever more powerful manipulators and robots. The response of manufacturing companies is to increase productivity. However, the resulting ever shorter cycle times and more efficient processes further intensify the demands. Ultimately, this results in requirements for designs and constructions that can only be met to a limited extent by previous robot hardware with classic serial or parallel kinematic joint structures. For example, massive structural parts are required to implement precise serial robots in production technology, which results in greater inertial effects and the associated decrease in operating speeds. However, stiffer and faster parallel robots such as delta kinematics or hexapods have a small working envelope compared to their size.


Therefore, the aim of this research project is the systematic development as well as the elaboration of component-related fundamentals of a novel class of robots, which are based on technically usable foldings.


In the context of the development of fold-based robots, technical folds are realized by segments with a defined thickness and taking lightweight construction into account. These segments bring with them the advantage of very high axial surface moments of inertia, whereby on the one hand high rigidity and on the other hand the robot is automatically realized as a lightweight construction. In addition, the system's inherent property of being overconstraint is to be exploited in that an additional increase in stiffness can be expected compared with the classic, statically determined joint structures used to date. Due to the resulting higher accuracy of the fold-based robot, high-load applications can be realized, for example, where previous parallel kinematics reach their limits. As a result of the fact that foldable systems are always considered in the context of a transformability between compact folded and large deployed configurations, fold-based robot systems can also have larger working spaces with a more compact design compared to previous systems.
A realization of the mentioned advantages as well as their task-specific application in technical motion tasks requires the elaboration of formalized design methods and component-related fundamentals for fold-based robotics, which have not been available so far. This is to be realized within the scope of this project.


Institute of Micro Technology and Medical Device Technology
TUM School of Engineering and Design
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Ing. Tim C. Lueth


The research project is funded by the German Research Foundation of an Individual Research Grant.