What is the Mecanum Wheel and Omni Wheel?

What is the Mecanum Wheel and Omni Wheel?

In racing robots and special types of robots filed, omnidirectional movement is often a required function. “An omnidirectional movement” means an action that can be rotated in any direction while rotating in the plane. In order to achieve omnidirectional movement, the general robot will use two special wheels, the Omni Wheel or the Mecanum Wheel.

This is the Omni Wheel:

60mm aluminum omni wheel

60mm aluminum Omni wheel

This is the Mecanum Wheel:

What the omnidirectional wheel has in common with the Mecanum wheel is that they are made up of two major parts: the hub and the roller. The hub is the main body bracket of the entire wheel, and the roller is a drum mounted on the hub. The hub axle of the omnidirectional wheel is perpendicular to the roller shaft, and the hub axle of the Mecanum wheel is at an angle of 45° to the roller shaft. In theory, this angle can be any value, different wheels can be made according to different angles, but the two most commonly used.

The omnidirectional wheel and the Mecanum wheel (hereinafter referred to as “Mercon”) differ in structure, mechanical properties, and kinematics. The essential reason is that the angle between the hub axle and the roller shaft is different. After analysis, the difference between the kinematics and mechanical properties of the two can be reflected in the following table.

In recent years, the applications of the mecanum wheel have gradually increased, especially in robotics such as Robocon and FRC. This is because the Mecanum wheels can be mounted on mutually parallel axes like traditional wheels. If you want to use the omnidirectional wheel to perform similar functions, the angle between several hub axles must be 60°, 90° or 120°, which is cumbersome to produce and manufacture. So many industrial omnidirectional mobile platforms use the Mecanum wheel instead of the omnidirectional wheel.

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