Industrial robots can be seen everywhere in the manufacturing industry nowadays. Whether it’s the medical field or the automotive industry, robots have become an essential part in the manufacturing process.
Advances in Production Line Automation
Some consider robotics as the proponent of the modern industrial revolution, thanks to huge improvements in automated production. With the introduction of industrial robots in many organizations’ production line, we have seen vast improvements in terms of decreased production costs and faster cycle times. A lean manufacturing line means increased efficiency since consistent production and throughput speeds lead to a better overall return on investment.
Quality and reliability has also been increasing due to the precision in doing repeated tasks at a steady rate. Because many industrial robots are powered by miniature motor technologies, they have a high degree of accuracy without slowing down. With human error mostly factored out, it is much easier to manage high output jobs while maintaining quality and production quotas.
Other notable improvements to consider are maximized use of floor space and the reduced amount of waste generated. The decreased footprint of a work area makes it possible to utilize the additional workspace for other operations that can allow for a better and more efficient process flow.
Different Types of Industrial Robots
Many industrial robots can be categorized by the different types of movement that they can make and by the configuration of their joints. Here are some of the most common types of industrial robots with these criteria:
- Articulated – articulated robots make use of rotary joints that vary from a simple two joint system to a complex joint structure of up to 10 or more. Each joint is used as a rotary axis for the connecting arm to move in a wide range of motion. The base is connected to a twisting joint for it to easily pivot when performing its assigned task. Industrial robots usually have around four to six axes.
- Cartesian – as its name implies, this robot makes use of the Cartesian plane coordinates (X, Y and Z) to program its movements. As such, it is also known as a rectilinear or gantry robot. It has three prismatic joints that deliver the arm in a linear motion along a given axis, as well as have a rotary joint at the end that acts as a wrist.
- Cylindrical – usually sports one rotary joint at the base and one prismatic joint with connecting links or arms. Its movement is characterized by having the prismatic joint moving in a linear motion, while the rotary joint moves along the joint axis in rotational pattern.
- Delta – a complex industrial machine that features several jointed parallelogram arms connected a common base. It has a spider-like design to it that allows for precise and delicate movement. As a result, it is commonly used in industries like food, pharmaceutical and electronics.
- Polar – also known as a spherical robot, it makes use of a base that has a twisting joint, as well as two other joints in a rotary position that is connected to an arm with a linear joint. This configuration gives it a large working envelope, but doesn’t allow access near the base as a result. As such, it is typically used where a small vertical actions are required, making it ideal for lifting huge loads.
- SCARA – this robot makes use of two parallel joints that move on a single specified plane. Because of this, it is commonly utilized in assembly applications, where the robot’s arm moves in a specific pattern to comply with the assembly specifications.
There’s no doubt that robotics has greatly improved the efficiency of industrial production in today’s modern times. With technology continuing to advance rapidly in the coming years, manufacturers can expect even more improvements to the quality of life in the near future.