Robot calibration plays an increasingly important role in manufacturing. For robot calibration on the manufacturing floor, it is desirable that the calibration technique be easy and convenient to implement. This paper presents a new self-calibration method to calibrate and compensate for robot system kinematic errors. Compared with the traditional calibration methods, this calibration method has several unique features. First, it is not necessary to apply an external measurement system to measure the robot end-effector position for the purpose of kinematic identification since the robot measurement system has a sensor as its integral part. Second, this self-calibration is based on distance measurement rather than absolute position measurement for kinematic identification; therefore the calibration of the transformation from the world coordinate system to the robot base coordinate system, known as base calibration, is not necessary. These features not only greatly facilitate the robot system calibration but also shorten the error propagation chain, therefore, increase the accuracy of parameter estimation. An integrated calibration system is designed to validate the effectiveness of this calibration method. Experimental results show that after calibration there is a significant improvement of robot accuracy over a typical robot workspace.

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