The need for automation and robots in most manufacturing industries continues to grow. Industrial robots have replaced human beings in the wide variety of industries. Robots beat humans in jobs that want precision, speed, endurance and reliability. Robots safely perform dirty and dangerous jobs. Traditional manufacturing robotic applications include material handling (pick and put), assembling, painting, welding, packaging, palletizing, product inspection and testing. Industrial robots are employed in the diverse selection of industries including automotive, electronics, medical, food production, biotech, pharmaceutical and machinery.

The ISO concept of a manipulating industrial robot is “an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator”. In accordance with the definition it could be fixed set up or mobile to use in industrial automation applications. These industrial robots are programmable in several axes. They’re multi-functional pieces of equipment that can be custom-built and set to perform a various operations.

The most important benefits of industrial robots is that they can be developed to suit industry specific requirements and can work continuously for a long time, consistently meeting high manufacturing quality standards. The economic life span associated with an industrial robot is approximately 12-16 years. Because of the persistent accuracy industrial robots have become an essential part of manufacturing.

Industrial robots are categorized into different categories determined by their mechanical structure. The main groups of industrial robots are:

Gantry (Cartesian) Robot: They’re stationary robots having three elements of motion. They work from an overhead grid which has a rectangular work envelope. They may be mainly used to perform ‘pick and place’ actions. Gantry robots have all their axes across the work making them also perfect for dispensing applications.
SCARA Robots: (Selectively Compliant Articulated Robot Arm) These robots have 4 axes of motion. They move within an x-y-z coordinated circular work envelope. They are utilized for factory automation requiring pick and place work, application and assembly operations and handling machine tools.
Articulated robots: An articulated robot has rotary joints. It may have from two to 10 or higher interactive joints. Articulated robots are well fitted to welding, painting and assembly.

Basic industrial robot designs can be customized with the help of different peripherals. End effectors, optical systems, and motion controllers are necessary add-ons. End effectors would be the end-of-arm-tooling (EOAT) attached to robotic arms. Grippers or wrenches which can be used to move or assemble parts are examples of end effectors. End effectors are designed and used to sense and connect to the external environment. The final effectors’ design is determined by the applying requirements from the specific industry. Machine Vision systems are robotic optical systems. They are built-on digital input/output devices and computer networks accustomed to control other manufacturing equipment including robotic arms. Machine vision is utilized for the inspection of manufactured goods like semiconductor chips. Motion controllers are widely-used to move robots and position stages smoothly and accurately with sub-micron repeatability.

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