A cable drive is a method of transferring mechanical energy in a robotic system from an actuator to a manipulator or end effector. This type of drive can also be used in wheel-drive propulsion systems and in certain indicating devices. The system consists of a cable, or cord, and a set of pulleys.
The main asset of the cable drive is its simplicity. The principal limitation is the fact that the cable can slip on the wheels or pulleys, and over time, the cable can degenerate, and ultimately break without warning.Anyone who has been stranded on a highway because of a failed automotive fan belt can attest to the problems this can cause.
Compare CHAIN DRIVE.