MIKROLAR is a company dedicated to the design, manufacture, and application of high precision positioning systems for use in a wide variety of applications. We base our custom robots on the Hexapod system, which provides high load capacity and range of movement while maintaining a high degree of precision and repeatability.
Mikrolar's team has developed a number of new robotic applications using proprietary licenses from Hexel Corporation. These devices are being used to eliminate errors in automated welding lines, to develop newer and better shoe designs, and to further testing in the exciting field of bio-mechanical research. All of these units were developed specifically for the end user's particular requirements. Our aim is to provide effective solutions to difficult motion problems.
Our team consists of highly experienced mechanical, electrical, and software engineers with decades of experience in engineering robotic solutions for a variety of industries; many of those years spent specifically in designing and understanding Hexapods and actuators.
By providing services for design, fabrication, installation, application, and programming, we strive to focus on what the customer needs to achieve their goals. If your application requires an accurate, fast, and extremely stiff robot; you've come to the right place!
- An early P2000 Hexapod rendering. -
A HEXAPOD, or Stewart Platform, is a parallel link manipulator that utilizes an assembly of six struts to provide motion and accuracy for positioning. It has six degrees of freedom (usually listed as x, y, z, pitch, roll, and yaw). If you remember your physics lessons you know that there are only six degrees of freedom available. Therefore, if you build a Hexapod, it is not only capable of moving in any possible direction and orientation, but it is also in control of all these motions.
Though Hexapods have gained popularity since the invention of the computer (trying to do all of that math in your head proved to be a challenge), they are not a new invention. In the 1800's, a French mathematician named Augustine Louis Cauchy, was a pioneer in mathematical analysis. He proved calculus theorems, studied optics, mechanics, elasticity, and stress. Cauchy's work has been applied not just in mathematics, but in many practical engineering applications. It's even still found in modern control theory textbooks. Cauchy also looked at the stiffness of an "articulated octahedron;" an early design of the modern day Parallel Link Mechanism.
- Gough's Tyre-Tester: Then & Now. -
- D. Stewart Paper -
However, it was not named the "Cauchy Platform." In 1949, V. E. Gough built and used a parallel mechanism called the "Universal Tyre-Testing Machine" at the Dunlop Rubber Company in England. This machine, or "Universal Rig" as it was called, was able to mechanically test tires under combined loads. The original machine built by Gough was in use until the 1980's, and is currently owned by the Science Museum of London. But, no, it is not known as the "Gough Platform" either.
In 1965, an engineer named D. Stewart published a paper describing a 6-DOF motion platform for use as a flight simulator. Since that time, almost every type of parallel mechanism has been commonly referred to as a "Stewart Platform," despite Cauchy, Gough, and many others having laid the foundation work in both theory and actual applications. That we know of, D. Stewart never actually build a flight simulator -- but Klaus Cappel did.
Around the same time in the 1960's, an American engineer named Klaus Cappel designed and built a motion simulator that is, in essence, the basis for all flight simulators today. He filed for a patent in 1964, and was awarded that patent in 1971.
THE OBJECTIVE of most production or R&D 'upgrades' is to improve quality & reliability, reduce cost & time, and increase flexibility & capability. The Hexapod is a perfect fit in each of these areas.
Six Degrees of Freedom - The ability to move all six legs in a coordinated fashion allows a Hexapod a combination of both a wide range of available motion, and complete control of every degree of freedom.
High Precision and Accuracy - With a single light platform moving, instead of a progressively heavier load of motors and actuators, the result is lower inertial forces. No accumulation, or "stack," of errors and overall better dynamic behavior.
High Stiffness - Due to the very compact frame compared to a conventional serial robot, the result is a very high stiffness no matter what orientation the platform is in.
- Cappel's Flight Simulator -
Variety in Size - Hexapods can be as small or as large as necessary for the application.
Software Control - With a single software control algorithm, both the programming and the actual control methodology becomes simpler.
MIKROLAR is involved in many areas of Hexapod development, including bio-mechanical research, flight and driving simulators, industrial applications, and more (see our APPLICATIONS page). Whether you need a "tyre tester," or something out of the ordinary, we specialize in Hexapods, Stewart Platforms, Parallel Link Mechanisms, Parallel Robots, Parallel Kinematic Manipulators, Motion Bases, or whatever else they may be called (see our PRODUCTS and CLIENT PROFILES pages). It's what we do.