American Society of Civil Engineers

Construction Robot Force Control in Cleaning Operations

by Y. Zhou, (Grad. Student, School of Electr. Engrg., Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907) and M. J. Skibniewski, M.ASCE, (Assoc. Prof., Div. of Constr. Engrg. and Mgmt., School of Civ. Engrg., Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN)

Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 1994, pp. 33-49, (doi:

     Access full text
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Basic surface treatment tasks on construction sites that can be performed by robots include the spraying, cleaning, and finishing of surfaces. In the present paper, a construction robot is proposed for accomplishing a variety of cleaning tasks in construction. Specifically, the force-control problem in cleaning a surface is studied. The paper shows that a force sensor can be used not only to monitor the force acting at the contact points, but also to identify the uncertainties of the unstructured construction environment. A different formulation for the external force is presented. With this formulation, the external force on the end-effector is presented as a function of the contact force, contact torque, and constraint conditions, but not the actuated torque in the joint space. Therefore, the force-control problem is simplified to compensate for the external force and to exert a desired force. One advantage of this approach is that the original PID position control loop of an industrial robot is retained so that the time-consuming computed torque method is avoided. The proposed control scheme can be applied to numerous cleaning tasks with hard contact regardless of the different nature of the surface.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Contact pressure