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The traditional way of controlling an industrial robot is to program it to follow desired trajectories. This approach is sufficient as long as the accuracy of the robot and the calibration of the workcell is good enough. In robotic assembly these conditions are usually not fulfilled, because of uncertainties, e.g., variability in involved parts and objects not gripped accurately. Using force control is one way to handle these difficulties. This paper presents a method of doing force control without a force sensor. The method is based on detuning of the low-level joint control loops, and the force is estimated from the control error. It is experimentally verified in a small part assembly task with a kinematically redundant robotic manipulator.
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