Industrial Robot

Industrial robot is a robot system used for manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated, programmable and capable of movement on three or more axes.

Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, disassembly, pick and place for printed circuit boards, packaging and labeling, palletizing, product inspection, and testing; all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision. They can assist in material handling.

The earliest known industrial robot, conforming to the ISO definition was completed by “Bill” Griffith P. Taylor in 1937 and published in Meccano Magazine, March 1938. The crane-like device was built almost entirely using Meccano parts, and powered by a single electric motor.

George Devol applied for the first robotics patents in 1954 (granted in 1961).

There are six types of industrial robots:

  • Articulated robots- most common industrial robots. They look like a human arm, which is why they are also called robotic arm or manipulator arm. Their articulations with several degrees of freedom allow the articulated arms a wide range of movements.
  • Cartesian coordinate robots-  have three prismatic joints for the movement of the tool and three rotary joints for its orientation in space. To be able to move and orient the effector organ in all directions, such a robot needs 6 axes (or degrees of freedom).
  • Cylindrical coordinate robots- characterized by their rotary joint at the base and at least one prismatic joint connecting its links. They can move vertically and horizontally by sliding.
  • Spherical coordinate robots- only have rotary joints. They are one of the first robots to have been used in industrial applications. They are commonly used for machine tending in die-casting, plastic injection and extrusion, and for welding.
  • SCARA robots- recognized by their two parallel joints which provide movement in the X-Y plane. Rotating shafts are positioned vertically at the effector..
  • Delta robots- They consist of parallel links connected to a common base. Delta robots are particularly useful for direct control tasks and high maneuvering operations.
  • Serial manipulators- most common industrial robots and they are designed as a series of links connected by motor-actuated joints that extend from a base to an end-effector.
  • Parallel Architecture- designed so that each chain is usually short, simple and can thus be rigid against unwanted movement, compared to a serial manipulator. Errors in one chain’s positioning are averaged in conjunction with the others, rather than being cumulative. Each actuator must still move within its own degree of freedom, as for a serial robot; however in the parallel robot the off-axis flexibility of a joint is also constrained by the effect of the other chains.

In the year 2020, an estimated 1.64 million industrial robots were in operation worldwide according to International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

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