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Improved dynamic identification of robotic manipulators in the linear region of

dynamic friction
N. D. Vuong*, Marcelo Ang H. Jr.*
Y. P. Li**, S. Y. Lim**

*National University of Singapore (e-mail: {ndvuong, mpeangh}

**Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (e-mail: {ypli,sylim}

Abstract: Conventional dynamic identification procedures for robotic manipulators make use of the
linearity of the dynamic model with respect to the parameters. With these identification procedures, only a
simple friction model such as Coulomb and viscous friction can be incorporated while other dynamic and
nonlinear friction effects cannot be considered. This paper proposes a simple and yet effective scheme to
identify the dynamic friction region of robotic manipulators. These results are then incorporated into the
excited trajectory designing process. The proposed scheme has been verified on the first four link of the
Mitsubishi PA10 manipulator, an improved dynamic model was obtained which proves the effectiveness
of the proposed identification procedures.

using least squares fitting of motion data (position, velocity
and acceleration) and joint torque data. In order to maintain
It is well known that the dynamic model of robot the linearity, only linear friction models such as Coulomb and
manipulators is crucial for advanced model-based control viscous friction can be incorporated into the identification
schemes that dynamic decoupling is achieved (An et al., procedures. However, the nonlinear dynamic effects could be
1988, Khatib, 1987). Because dynamic parameters of the significant in low velocity region as can be seen in the next
links are normally not available for industrial manipulators, section; conventional dynamic identification procedures that
proper procedures should be carried out to identify these select sampling data in the full velocity range would
parameters. introduce inaccurate information in the identification results.
One way to identify dynamic parameters is to dismantle the Therefore, an improved identification procedure should be
robot and measure link by link. However, it is obvious that developed to account for the nonlinear dynamic friction
this approach is not always feasible in practice. Another effects.
problem with the dismantling approach is that it does not In this paper, we combine the benefits of the both
account for the effect of joint friction. aforementioned identification methods. By analyzing the
In order to account for joint friction, several methods were experimental data and the dynamic friction effects described
proposed. These methods can be roughly divided into two by the LuGre model (Olsson et al., 1998), it is found that
groups: to identify joint friction and rigid body dynamics there is a boundary velocity that separates the dynamic
separately (Daemi and Heimann, 1998) or to identify joint friction into nonlinear and linear regions. In the nonlinear
friction and rigid body dynamics simultaneously (Armstrong, region, the friction effects mainly consist of stiction, Stribeck
1989, Antonelli et al., 1999, Grotjahn et al., 2001). The and hysteresis. In the linear region, the dynamic friction
former first identifies the friction parameters for each joint converges to only Coulomb and viscous frictions (these two
and then continue to identify the rigid body dynamic friction terms are known to be linear w.r.t. their parameters.).
parameters using the identified friction information. Because Therefore, a simple but effective scheme is proposed in this
friction parameters are identified joint by joint, nonlinear paper to identify the boundary velocity of each joint. With
dynamic friction models such as Stribeck and/or hysteresis this identified boundary velocity, we can model the
effects can be considered (Kermani et al., 2007). The main manipulator dynamics accurately in the full joint velocity
drawback of this method comes from the fact that friction can range. In the high velocity range that is greater than the
be much time-varying (Grotjahn et al., 2001). It is also boundary velocity, the manipulator dynamics is described by
argued that it is more tedious to identify friction parameters the conventional rigid body dynamic model and
and rigid body dynamic parameters separately. Coulomb/viscous friction. In this high velocity region, the
coupling effects of the rigid body dynamics are modelled. In
Because of the drawbacks of the former method, more the low velocity region, as the coupling effects of rigid bodies
researchers adopt the later method, i.e. to identify joint are trivial, we can model the dynamics with purely the LuGre
frictions and the rigid body dynamics at the same time. Based model. This paper focuses the dynamic identification in the
on the well known linearity property of the dynamic model linear (high velocity) region of dynamic friction that the
w.r.t. its parameters, the dynamic parameters can be obtained linearity property of the dynamic model can still be adopted.
Dynamic identification results will be shown for the first four friction are normally used to describe the friction
joints (joints contribute the most to the dynamic model) of phenomenon for all joint(s):
the PA10 manipulator in order to illustrate the effectiveness  fric _ i  Fci sign(qi )  Fvi qi (2.5)
of the proposed methods.
The contributions of this work are as follows: dynamic where Fci and Fvi are Coulomb and viscous friction
friction effects are shown experimentally to be significant; a coefficients respectively. Additional linear friction forms can
simple scheme is proposed to identify the boundary velocity be found in the literature such as (Grotjahn et al., 2001),
that separate the dynamic friction into nonlinear and linear however, most of the add-on terms have no physical
regions; an improved procedure is developed to identify meaning. Using the linear friction model such as (2.5), the
dynamic parameters in the linear region and result in a more equation (2.2) can be re-cast into the following form:
accurate dynamic model.
W (q, q , q, DH )c hc   (2.6)
The rest of this paper is organized as a systematic procedure
(i.e. step by step) for dynamic identification of robot where Wc , hc are the combinations of inertial parameters and
manipulators. The focus is given to the friction identification friction coefficients:
and its use on the identification process.
W1,: sign(q1 ) q1 ... 0 0  F  (2.7)
Wc   ... ... ... ... ... ...  , hc   c1 
 Fv1 
2.1 Model the dynamics of the manipulator Wn ,: 0 0 ... sign(qn ) qn   
 ... 
Assume that the robot consists of only multi-rigid bodies; it is One obvious benefit of this representation is that friction can
well known that the dynamic model of n-degree-of-freedom be identified together with the inertial parameters at the same
manipulator can be expressed in the following analytical time.
form: It is worth noting that equation (2.6) indicates that in order to
M (q)q  C (q , q )  G (q )   fric   (2.1) re-solve for hc , Wc matrix has to be full rank. It is well-
known that not all the inertial parameters contribute to the
where dynamic behaviour of the robot (Khosla, 1989, An et al.,
- q, q , q are n by 1 vector of joint acceleration, 1988, Gautier and Khalil, 1990); thus, a set of identifiable
velocity and position, n is the number of joint. parameters should be deduced from h , resulting to the so
- M (q) is n by n inertial matrix in joint space. This called the base parameters (Gautier and Khalil, 1990). For
instance, the original dynamic parameters of the 7-DOF
matrix is positive definite for all configuration.
Mitsubishi PA10 manipulator h has 70 parameters but the
- C (q , q), G(q) are n by 1 vector of Coriolis-
final identified dynamics of the manipulator is reduced into
Centrifugal and gravity in joint space. 18 lumped-parameters (Ngoc Dung and Marcelo H. Ang,
-  fric is a n by 1 vector of joint friction. 2008). The final form of the dynamic model becomes:
-  is a n by 1 vector of torque at each joint. Wb hb   (2.8)
For identification purpose, the above equation is re-written in
the linear form: Where hb is comprised of the base parameters and linear
W (q, q , q, DH )h   fric   (2.2) friction model as in (2.6) and (2.7). Theoretically, by re-
solving (2.8), one can accurately estimate the inertial
Here, DH is the kinematic parameters from the Denavit- parameters hb provided that (2.8) can describe the real
Hartenberg parameters and h is a 10n by 1 vector of the
inertial parameters: dynamic model of the robot and the observation matrix Wb
which can be obtained accurately. Practically, both of these
h   h1 ... hn 
assumptions can be violated. This paper will focus on the
validity of the model because joint frictions are found to be
hi   XX i , XYi , XZ i , YYi , YZ i , ZZ i , mX i , mYi , mZ i , mi  (2.4) significantly nonlinear at least for the PA10 manipulator.

where ( XX i , XYi , XZi , YYi , YZi , ZZi ) are the inertial tensor of 2.2 Identify the linear region of dynamic friction
link i, (mX i , mYi , mZi , mi ) are the first moments and the link
As can be seen from the above dynamic model, in order to
mass. Noting that, here, we only focus on the inertial maintain the linearity, only viscous and Coulomb friction are
parameters of the links. The rotor inertias of motors are accounted. However, if the real friction behaviour is
assumed to be known because these values are normally significantly complex, further investigation should be made
available from the motor specs. before going to identify the parameters using the equation
Although the friction model in the real manipulator is (2.8). Let us consider the equation of motion of one joint:
complicated, simple model with viscous and Coulomb
Iq  g (q)   friction   (2.9)
where I is the inertia of the link. By appropriately mounting The mathematical model of the LuGre model is:
the robot (depending on the joint of interest), it is easily to  friction   1 z   0 z  Fv q (2.12)
see that the gravity terms g ( q ) can be set to zero for that
joint. Assume that the Coulomb and viscous friction model where z describes the average deflection of bristles (please
are sufficient to describe the friction effects, a time-efficient refer to (Olsson et al., 1998) for detailed discussions):
least square technique should be able to estimate the  0 q
parameters in the following linear form: z  q  z (2.13)
V (q )
Iq  FC sign(q )  FV q   (2.10)

For the cleanness of joint torque, an open loop sinusoidal The function V ( q ) characterizes the Coulomb and Stribeck
torque command is applied to the one-link system, motion effect and is normally chosen as:
, q , q)i 1:N and joint torque data  i 1:N are then
data ( q  q 
 
 Vs 
recorded ( N is total number of recorded points). If equation V (q )  FC  ( FS  FC )e (2.14)
(2.10) can describe real dynamic behaviour of the link then  q 

with a sufficient number of data points ( q , q , q, )i , the It is worth noting that if q  3
then e
 
 Vs 
 0 , (2.14)
result of the following linear system should converge to the 2
true values of ( I , FC , FV ) becomes V ( q )  FC and (2.13) reduces to:

 q1 sign(q1 ) q1   I    1   0 q q  0 FC F

 ... z  q  z  z  z  C (2.15)
 ... ...   FC    ...  (2.11) FC  0 q 0
 qM sign(q M ) q M   FV   M  (2.15) is actually a first-order system w.r.t to the non-
measurable state z . The time constant of this system is
where M  N is the number of data points which are used
for the identification. reduced when q is increased implies that z  0 for any
Let us now define a positive scalar qthres as threshold value in Vs
initial state. In other words, when q  3 , the z state
, q , q, )i which have
such a way that only the data points ( q 2
will quickly converge to its static state (SS):
qi  qthres are used in the least-squares estimator (2.11). In
sign(q )V (q )
other words, M  N if qthres  0 and M 0 if z  0  zSS  (2.16)
qthres  max( qi ) . Figure 1a shows the value of the
and (2.12) will be equivalent to the Coulomb and viscous
estimated Iˆ from (2.11) w.r.t different qthres of joint 1 of model:
the PA10:  zSS  0

 (2.17)
15  V (q ) FC
 z  sign ( 
q )  sign ( 
q )

0 0
Torque (Nm)

2.0 5
1.9 5   friction  SS   1 z   0 z  Fv q
 10 (2.18)
 15  sign(q ) FC  Fv q
q ( rad / s )
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 q t h r e s 0 .2 .4 .6 .8
Figure 2 shows the simulation result of a simple mass system
Figure 1: (a) qthres vs. Iˆ , (b) q vs.  friction of the first joint
with LuGre friction model which is used to verify the above
of the PA10 manipulator. observation.

Noting that the value if Iˆ keeps changing when 4

 friction
qthres  0.25 even if more data are used inside the least- 3
squares estimator ( qthres  0  .25 ) which implies that the 1
friction model in (2.10) is not able to describe the joint 3
VS  0.21
friction if the joint velocity < 0.25 (rad/s).
In order to have an insight of what the qthres really is, let us
analyse one of the state-of-the-art friction model, the LuGre 0 0.2 0.4
friction model (Olsson et al., 1998) which is able to capture Figure 2: Simulation of single mass system with LuGre
many nonlinear friction effects such as: Stribeck and friction model (2.12).
hysteresis effect.
In summary, by applying the following steps to each of the researchers which normally take into account all data points
joint: along the optimum trajectory. Because the optimum
- Step 1: re-mount the manipulator in such a way that the trajectory will be executed on the real manipulator,
gravity has no effect on the joint of interest. Apply a parameterizing the optimum trajectory is also an important
sinusoidal torque to the joint. Notice that the frequency step. Two most common type(s) of trajectory are the quintic
and magnitude of this signal have to be chosen in such a polynomial trajectory and periodic trajectory (Swevers et al.,
way that the result joint motion is within the joint limit 2007). The former is suitable for most of industrial
and the motion also excites the dynamic friction. During manipulator(s) which only accepts simple velocity command
, )i 1:N is recorded.
this step, ( q , q , q while the later targets the open-architecture controller which
allows user to program an arbitrary trajectory. For the work
- Step 2: slowly increasing qthres from 0 to max( qi ) . on this paper, periodic trajectory is adopted because of their
Solving (2.11) using all the data points which have advantages in terms of signal processing (Swevers et al.,
qi  qthres .
and analyzing the convergence of the inertial parameter Iˆ , 2.4 Estimate the inertial parameters
one can experimentally find out the region in which the linear
Although the unknown inertial parameters can be estimated
friction model is held. Based on this result, we can actually
by a least-square technique as in (2.20), there will be a
reconstruct the joint velocity vs. friction torque plot (or
potential problem on the identified result, the so-called
friction map). For instance, Figure 1b shows the friction map
physical feasibility of the result (Yoshida and Khalil, 2000).
of the first joint of the PA10 manipulator.
One promising solution for this problem is to use a
The experiment is then repeated for the rest of the joints. The
constrained optimization tool to adjust the least-squares result
resulting qthres will be used as constraints in designing the (Mata et al., 2005). By doing this, the physical meaning of
excited trajectory as presented in the next section. the identified parameters can be imposed to satisfy the
constraints. As a result, the identified result will be always
2.3 Design the optimum trajectory physically feasible. The physically feasible characteristic is
especially useful for advanced control because it implies that
In order to estimate hb from (2.8), we need to acquire the mass matrix M ( q ) in (1.1) is always positive definite.
W (q, q, q)b , b i along the excited trajectory. By stacking Motivated by the idea of virtual parameters (Yoshida and
Khalil, 2000), a constrained optimization is proposed in order
the matrix together, the observation matrix can be formed as
follows: to find the unknown inertial parameters. The input vector X
to the optimization problem is:
 Wb1    b1 
X   h701 Fv1 ... ...
Fc1 (2.21)
Wo   ...  , o   ... 
  (2.19)
WbN   bN  where h is the standard dynamic parameters of links as in
(2.3). Constraints on the parameters h will be imposed in
Theoretically, as long as the determinant of the observation order to make sure that the result will always physically
matrix Wo , which depends on the excited trajectory, is non- feasible. Based on this input, the base parameters vector hb
is calculated. This base parameters vector is then compared to
zero, the unknown parameters hb can be estimated by any
linear estimator such as least-squares estimator: the least-squares solution hˆb from (2.20). The cost function
is constructed as:
hˆb  WoT Wo  WoT o
CF  min 1 Wo X b   o   2 X b  hc  (2.22)
However, if the measured torque is corrupted by noise, a
constraint should be imposed on the experiment trajectory to Here, the two scalars 1 ,  2 define how believable the
ensure the excitation of the dynamic parameters as well as the least-squares solution is. Clearly the result of the above non-
robustness of the identified result with respect to the noise in linear optimization problem will give us a set of physically
the measured torque. Several criterions have been proposed feasible parameters which minimizes the error between the
in literature (Siciliano and Khatib, 2007). For our case, measured and predicted torque. It is worth noting that the
method proposed in this paper differs from the one in (Mata
minimizing the condition number of Wo and maximizing the et al., 2005) because it does not require the initial guess of the
smallest singular value as in (Antonelli et al., 1999) is virtual parameters which are not always available.
Notice that, because we want to minimize the effect of the
non-linear friction on the identified result(s), only the data
In order to validate the proposed identification method, the
points which have velocities above a threshold value (from
identification procedures were applied to the first four links
the previous section) are considered. This differs from other of the Mitsubishi PA10 manipulator.
green colour represents the re-constructed torque using hˆb
 command
(RTthres  Wb hˆb ). Noting that the time scale for the x-axis
QNX Custom Mitsubishi A
(6.3) controller PA10
q , q , q
is time 10 (ms).
Figure 3: Experimental test bed.
Joint qthres (rad / s )
1 0.25
2 0.27
3 0.3 RTall
4 0.6
Table 1: Threshold velocity for the first four links of the
PA10. MT
As mentioned above, the following steps were carried out in
order to identify the dynamic model:
1. Derive the rigid dynamic model of the robot as in (2.1). a) Joint 1
Noting that the Coriolis-Centrifugal and gravity term is
included in this model. Gravity terms can only be set to
zero when robot joints are considered separately as in RTall
section 2.2.
2. Identify the threshold velocity in which the dynamic
friction model becomes linear for each joint (see Table 1
for the experimental results). RTthres
3. Carry out the optimum exciting trajectory as in section
2.3. By making use of the Matlab Genetic Algorithm MT
(GA) Toolbox, the excited or optimum trajectory for the
PA10 manipulator with the minimum condition number
is around 65.
4. Execute the optimum trajectory on the PA10; obtain the b) Joint 2
joint motion and joint torque data. Note that because the
PA10 manipulator does not have joint torque sensor, the
joint torques are obtained by measuring the motor
currents. In addition, a custom controller has been
implemented to replace the original PA10’s controller in
order to achieve a full torque controlled capability as
well as a hard real-time performance (Figure 4). A
conventional PID controller (independent joint control)
is used at each joint to make the joints follow the RTthres
reference trajectory.
5. The inertial parameters are estimated using the method MT
as in section 2.4.
In order to show the effectiveness of the proposed scheme,
c) Joint 3
two sets of data have been used to identify hˆb . The first set
(set A) only includes the data points which have q  qthres
while the second set (set B) includes all the experimental MT
points. In the case of the PA10 manipulator, the number of
data points in set A is about 30% of the number of data points
in set B.
Figure 4 shows the measured torques vs. the re-constructed
torques of joint 1-4 for an arbitrary and different trajectory in
joint space. Motion data (q , q, q) and joint torque (namely
“measured torque”) was recorded. The “re-constructed
torque” is then computed as (2.8). In Figure 4, red colour
represents the measured torque (MT), blue colour represents d) Joint 4
the re-constructed torque using hˆb (RTall  Wb hˆb ) and
Figure 4: Measured torque vs. Re-constructed torque
The root-mean-square (RMS) errors between the measured Daemi, M. & Heimann, B. (1998) Separation of Friction and
torque and re-constructed torque are shown in Table 2: Rigid Body Identification for an Industrial Robot. Courses
Joint RT(thres): Set A RT(all): Set B and lectures - Centre for mechanical sciences, 35-42.
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