The robot is derived from the Czech word “ROBOTA”, which means “forced labor”, and the most common and popular manufacturing robot is the “Robot Arm”.
When we say Robot arm! People think of the automobile industry most of the time. Still, a Robot arm can do far more than welding and painting auto parts. Among the most inventive and practical innovations of the 20th century, it quickly became an industrial cornerstone within a few years of its inception.
What are Robot Arms?
As the name suggests, Robot arms resemble the human arm, and they can do a variety of tasks, much like a human arm. Robot arms are mechanical and programmable devices that mimic the human arm in moving and controlling different things.
Technically, a Robot arm is a collection of links and joints that combine to form an open kinematic chain. An end-of-kinematic-chain tool is usually present in the majority of situations. This tool is referred to as the end-effector (a simplified version of a human hand), and it is just like a drill, a gripper or a welder. This Robot arm performs different tasks with simple programming. Robot arms do not have a hand but rather an end effector. Due to their flexibility and wide range of applications, Robot arms may be used in a wide variety of settings.
It’s made up of many parts that mimic the shoulder, elbow, and wrist in appearance. However, they don’t pose the same danger of harm as a human arm might. Using a Robot arm in any industrial sector can help to improve product quality because robots can undertake risky and laborious jobs that need a specific rate or accuracy. It would be impossible for a human hand to do this kind of job all day and night without stopping. Because of this, powerful programmable robotic hands are crucial; their goal is to enhance the quality of the product.
History of the Robot Arms:
The Robot arm was created by George Devol, whose name appears on the patent that was filed in 1954 and awarded in 1961. However, Joseph Engelberger co-founded the business Unimation, who marketed that innovation, the Unimate, to the industrial world in the first place.
In 1961, General Motors’ Ewing Township facility began using Unimate as an industrial robot on the assembly line. Autonomous die-casting moulds discharged blistering-hot door handles and other car components into cooling liquid on a manufacturing line, where they were finished and polished by hand.
What are the Types of Robot Arms?
In today’s society, robots perform various simple and complex jobs to help humans with repetitious, hazardous, and difficult or perhaps impossible to achieve tasks under normal circumstances. The rising demand for a wide variety of industrial robots suited to various applications and sectors may be traced to these machines’ increasing use and prevalence in production. Robot arms are programmable mechanical devices that may rotate or move straight, thanks to joints or axes. Various industrial Robot arms have improved safety and efficiency in medicine and healthcare, military surveillance, transportation and research, manufacturing and weapons.
The following types of Robot arms are available for industrial automation:
Articulated Robot Arms:
The mechanical movement and arrangement of articulated robots closely mimic a human arm. As many as 10 rotary joints can be found on the arm. Each additional joint provides a more excellent range of motion. Most Articulated Robots are equipped with four or six axes. Adding an axis gives the robot arm a more comprehensive range of motion.
A twisting joint attaches the arm to the base. Arc welding, assembly, material handling, packing, and machine tending are typical uses for Articulated Robots. They are also utilized in assembly lines, gas welding, spray painting, and die casting.
Cartesian Robot Arms:
Mechanical robots that move along straight lines are referred to as Cartesian, linear, or gantry robots. These are called gantry due to their resemblance with gantry cranes in appearance and function. Cartesian robots are widely used in industrial settings because of their flexibility, low cost, and simplicity of programming. Some of their common uses are in palletizing & de-palletizing, assembling systems, applying adhesives and sealants, picking & place, and CNC machine parts.
In addition to lifting and moving, gantry robots may also be used for other tasks. These robots have an overhead structure that controls motion in the horizontal plane and a Robot arm that holds motion vertically. These X-Y-Z axes/x-y-z axes of Cartesian robots can be used to manage the movement of these robots. Placed atop scaffolding, the Robot arm may be moved on a horizontal plane. Robot arms can have an effector or machine tool connected depending on the function. You can even customize it for your needs.
Cylindrical Robot Arm:
Instead of rotating on various axes, cylindrical robots have the leading arm that travels up and down. The Robot arm has a cylinder that extends and retracts to generate this action. These Robot arms rotate along their longitudinal axes. In addition to being quick, cylindrical robots have rotating inertia concerns that might affect repeatability if the system isn’t set up properly.
Cylindrical Robot arms use rotary joints at the base and prismatic joints to connect the links. As a result of the spinning shaft and the extended arm, the robots’ work envelope is cylindrical. Its small size makes cylindrical robots ideal for basic assembly, machine tending, and coating applications. Long straight wires that create electromagnetic fields, straight pipe cross-sections with rounded cross-sections, and metal cylinders for heat distribution can all benefit from these sorts of robots.
Delta Robot Arm:
Three arms are attached to a single base positioned above the workspace on a delta or parallel Robot arm. All three components directly control each joint of the end effector. Delta Robots can move both sensitively and accurately at high speeds. Fast pick-and-place applications using Delta Robots are common in the food, pharmaceutical, and electronic manufacturing sectors.
There are now several manufacturing lines in many sectors that use delta robots. For their parallelogram arm design, they’ve also known as “parallel-link robots.” 3-4 carbon fibre and lightweight arms are often used in delta robots. Because of their spider-like arms, they are sometimes referred to as “spider robots.”
Polar/Spherical Robot Arms:
Spherical Robot arms are one of the most common types of Polar Robots. These are recognized as being the first industrial robots ever created. All of these kinds of Robot arms use a combination of one linear joint with two rotary joints. These joints are coupled to a single base with a twisting joint to produce a polar coordinate system.
Polar robots monitor the environment, explore the planets and the oceans, or as rehabilitation devices for physical treatment. These are also used in die casting, welding, material handling, and injection molding.
SCARA Robot Arms:
The joint Robot arm or Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) is the most common form of the industrial Robot arm. These arms perform mechanical automation in painting, welding, handling, automatic assembly, and other industrial fields. SCARA Robot arms have an extensive operating range with small installation footprints and compact structures.
SCARA needs small drive torque and minimum energy consumption. This Robot arm has easy to seal rotating joints that is why it doesn’t need rails. SCARA Robot arms use X, Y, & Z axes which also rotate. Unlike Cartesian Robots, the SCARA Robot arm excels in lateral motions and is often quicker and easier to integrate.
How are Robot Arms Used Today?
When robots were first developed, they had to be kept apart from the rest of the world, but now they may be integrated into the workforce and contribute to it. There have been several uses for Robot arms in the past, including:
- Material Handling
- Arc Welding
- Spot Welding
- Adhesive sealing, Gluing, & Spraying Material
- Picking, Packing, & Palletizing
- Machine Tending
- Mechanical Cutting & Grinding
- Deburring & Polishing
In the past, these uses and types of industrial robots were the most frequent. However, today’s robots are more about their software capabilities than their mechanical structure. It is their job to collect data.
Environmentally aware sensors are changing the way industrial robots are used in collaborative applications. Robots aren’t required to do exact jobs anymore, and they’re not even restricted to do so in a set place. Collaborative industrial robots, also known as co-bots, now operate alongside plant operators, accomplishing just a fraction of the job that human workers usually do.
All data collected during the production process will be fully traceable and analyzed in great detail to make better judgments in the future. In a setting where people are present, the proliferation of sensors has made it possible for robotic hands to operate and record information about their environment.
Business survival, progress, and growth depend on industrial automation. For this very reason replacing employees with machines and modern technology typically means faster and more efficient management of resources. The increase in the importance of process automation improves productivity while also meeting demand at lower costs and in a shorter period.
What are the Advantages of Robot Arms?
Many sectors now use industrial robot technology, from metal fabrication to semiconductors, plastic processing, and automotive production. Almost every repetitive task is ideal for a robot, especially if it’s risky or impossible for people to perform. Modern industrial Robot arms are contributing effectively to cost reduction, operational safety, and increase in productivity.
Automated systems have been utilized in high-volume operations. Still, more alternatives are becoming available for medium- and small businesses as technology developed. Some of the expected benefits of industrial robotic hands are:
• Intensified Productivity:
Industrial Robot arms are typically used to automate operations that previously required a considerable amount of time and resources. Due to their design, industrial robots can execute some jobs faster and more accurately than humans. Tension, fatigue, and other human-related variables do not affect a Robot arm’s ability to operate and pace of labor.
Many industries use them to increase the efficiency of their production line. When it comes to unrealistic deadlines, working at impossible rates, and striving to attain a continuous product quality that is not achievable for a person, a Robot arm performs all these tasks efficiently.
• Better Working Environment:
Industrial Robot arms are employed to carry out hazardous activities or require a lot of repetitive work. As a result, robots do not grow weary and make harmful mistakes, nor do they suffer from repetitive strain damage from repetitive motion. With the use of industrial robots, the manufacturing process may be made safer and more productive overall.
• Improved Safety:
Reducing worker damage due to repeated activities benefits using Robot arms, primarily when production must be conducted in adverse circumstances. As a bonus, supervisors may monitor the process online or from a remote site.
• Accuracy & Precision:
Unlike human arms, Robot arms are exact. Once they have been trained, they fulfil each prescribed function with pinpoint accuracy without variation. Final goods are high-quality and long-lasting, thanks to the robot arm’s precision. This accuracy and precision appeals to the clients and increase sales and profits for the firm.
• Improved Profitability:
Automated Robot arms enhance productivity and save costs by automating repetitive tasks that would otherwise take hours or days to perform. The outcomes of bringing together industrial Robot arms can guarantee greater profitability levels with a better cost of production per product. These Robot arms also help in achieving higher quality products to save money in the long run.
• Building a better reputation:
Using robots as a marketing strategy is an excellent way to improve the company’s image. They are often utilized for public relations because they operate at the cutting edge of their sector.
What are the Disadvantages of Robot Arms?
There are few disadvantages associated with industrial Robot arms, such as:
• Proper Training & Expertise:
Due to their ability to execute various activities, industrial robots require extensive training and experience to set up. Automation providers must offer a comprehensive support package that includes their knowledge. For engineers, however, exercise can be provided to program robots. However, the aid of experienced automation firms is still necessary for the first integration of Robot arms.
• Safe working with robots:
In a manufacturing environment, safety is as essential as appropriateness while working with Robot arms. Either the machine builder or the end-user conducts risk evaluations. The machine must be thoroughly evaluated and CE marked. Before they are implemented, a complete risk assessment must be done to examine the speeds, nip points, and other dangers connected with result tooling before they can be used.
• Restrictions & Limitations:
Though we have seen a rapid growth of Robot arms in the last few decades, there are still certain limitations to what these robots can do. Automated systems that meet specific needs are sometimes superior to robots in cost-effectiveness, working speed, and quality. Firms consult with companies endorsing automation before deployment to evaluate the many choices accessible first. An industrial Robot arm isn’t always equipped with everything it needs. Therefore, its success or failure depends on how well the surrounding systems are linked, such as the vision systems, grippers and conveyors. Industries need to be more careful exclusively working with reputable robot integrators to get the best possible outcomes.
• High Capital Cost:
Implementing industrial Robot arms might be expensive, but they are very effective and have a favorable ROI. But before making any decisions, you must examine both the investment necessary and the ROI you hope to obtain by adopting robots. As a rule of thumb, take out asset financing such that the robot’s ROI exceeds its cost of borrowing.
Robotic cells in factories are designed to automate processes. One of those processes might be performed in a manual cell, or it could be a whole new function altogether. Robot arms include two key components:
- It is controlled by the controller, which is a computer that controls the Robot arms.
- The teach pendant is the user interface that the operator uses to train the robot’s movement.
The capacity to improvise, critical thinking and judgments provide humans incomparable value even when working alongside highly skilled, efficient machines, even though Robot arms have been viewed as a danger to job security in the past. Because of the support these technologies provide to us humans, contemporary life is considerably more convenient for individuals and society because of the assistance of Robot arms.
Even after years of operation, these metal wonders are still rising and moving forward until the next lightning-quick invention is developed. As Robot arms get more sophisticated, their benefits will continue to grow.