Industrial Robots and Their Use in Manufacturing Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Industrial Robots clearly defines and outlines the general characteristics of an industrial robot. This paper also highlights the technical parts of an industrial robot and how with the help of these parts a robot is able to perform a number of tasks. This paper also species the use of robots in manufacturing.

In 1961, the automatons at General Motor Corporation made a promise of giving the world a flexible automation with high microprocessor power and artificial intelligence. This resulted in full potential industrial robots. The history of robots can be traced back to the 1920s when Karel Capek depicted the world to comprise of millions of intelligent machines that were designed to be perfect and tireless workers. Many people misunderstand what an industrial robot is. They often confuse terms such as remote-controlled, automations and numerical controlled with the term industrial robot. This is due in part to false impressions created by the science fiction and in part to the way robots actually developed. An industrial robot is basically a specialized machine tool that is consistent, unchanging, unthinking and untiring. Such robots are greatly suited for repetitive, unskilled or semiskilled, monotonous and burdensome tasks. They are also useful for jobs that would be hazardous for a person to perform.

Ever since the invention of SCARA robot, industrial robots have become the sawhorses of manufacturing. From the moment people started doing work, they began trying to find methods of automating the work. Progress can be seen in the usage of automated machines, computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing and computer aided robotics and industrial robots. Many industrial robots work in cooperation with other automated machines. It is important for persons who are working with industrial robots to be familiar with the techniques of communicating with other machines and devices in the production like. These may include the use of LAN, MAP and TOP.

Industrial robots have great use in the industrial and manufacturing world.

Heavy industrial six-axis robots continue to provide valuable work in automotive applications such as spot welding, de-palletizing heavy objects like engine blocks, and loading parts into dangerous equipment like presses. These include the Fanuc

Robotics, Rochester Hills, MI model pictured on the cover working at the Honda,

Anna, OH engine plant with integrated DVT, Norcross, GA vision systems (Gary

Mintchell, Industrial Robots Fast, Nimble At 30).

Industrial robots do not resemble a human worker physically even though they may do a job in a manner similar to human beings. An industrial robot has a single manipulator somewhat similar to a human arm and hand. In most applications, robots do not work as fast as humans' do but they are far more accurate in precision. Even though industrial robots are not as efficient as human beings, they however are easily retrained and reprogrammed to perform a variety of tasks. An industrail robot comprises of the following parts and characteristics, namely, hand, wrist, base, lifting power, repeatability, manual control, automatic control, memory of programs, safety interlocks, speed of operation, computer interface, reliability and easy maintenance. An industrail robot has three types of components namely, physical parts or anatomy, built in instructions or instinct and learned behavior or task programs.

The physical portion of an industrial robot is made up of three or four parts namely,

The mechanical part or manipulator, which performs the work through motion controller, which directs motion

The power supply, which supplies energy to the manipulator and The vehicle, which transports the base of the robot to where it is to do the work.

Industrial robots experience more freedom and flexibility of movement through Lapp

Cables extended OLFLEX-ROBOT 900 series of robot arm cable for handling the transmission of control and monitoring signals as well as power supply. It is able to withstand the stresses created by flex-ing/bending; twisting/torsion; and push pull movements. The fine or superfine long lay length strands of copper wire reduce conductor stress, while the smooth core insulation extends the cable's working life, the integral slip wrapping reduces friction; the polyurethane sheathing is abrasion and notch resistant and designed to prevent adhesion, making it suitable for robot-arms or any unguided cable movement installation. Two standard versions of the robot cable are available, OLFLEXROBOT 900 P, unscreened, and OLFLEX-ROBOT 900 DP screened, supplied in a choice of core variants and outside diameters (Industrial

Robots Learn All The New Moves).

A robot is able to produce motion with the help of the manipulator. The parts of a robot's manipulator are named after similar parts in a human's chief manipulator, the arm and the hand. The points at which a robot's manipulator bends, slides or rotates are called joints or axes of motion; they include the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist and the finger joints. The number of joints determines the degree of freedom of a robot. Today's industrial robot usually comprises of a single manipulator, with one arm and one hand on it.

An industrial robot may have the four types of joints knows as the Linear Joint or the L-Type joint, Orthogonal Joint or the O-Type joint, Rotational Joint or the J-Type joint and the Twisting Joint or the T-Type joint. In the Linear Joint, the relative movement between the input link and the output link is a linear sliding motion, with the axes of the two links being parallel to one another. The Orthogonal Joint like the Linear Joint also provides the linear sliding motion but the input and the output links are perpendicular to each other. The Rotational Joint provides a rotational relative motion of the joints, with the axis of the rotation being perpendicular to the axis of the input and the output links. The twisting joint also revolves in a rotary motion but the axis of rotation is parallel to the axis of the two links.

Robots are often classified by the shape of the space they occupy or the work envelop that their manipulator can reach. Common types of industrial robots are as follows,

Cartesian Coordinates: Robot whose arm has three prismatic joints, whose axes are coincident with a Cartesian coordinator.

Cylindrical Coordinates: Robot whose axes form a cylindrical coordinate system.

Spherical Coordinates: Robot whose axes form a polar coordinate system.

SCARA Robot: Robot, which has two parallel rotary joints to provide compliance in a plane.

Articulated Robot: Robot whose arm has at least three rotary joints.

Parallel Robot: Robot whose arms have concurrent prismatic or rotary joints (Robots By Type).

Today's Industrail Robots are being used to perform a variety of tasks such as die casting, forging, investment casting and other foundry work, machine tool loading and unloading, parts transferring, spray painting, small parts assembling, finishing, plastic molding, spot welding, arc welding, machining, electronics assembling and inspecting. According to John Teresko,

Today's industrial automatons deliver dramatic value even though most of them are deaf, blind and without the sense of touch. Just adding vision guidance would revolutionize manufacturing, some experts believe. Even so, manufacturers are using robots today in a variety of applications. At auto-systems manufacturer

Visteon Corp., Dearborn, Mich., employees get help maneuvering large heavy parts. General Motors Corp. is employing the devices to locate tools for workers as vehicles come down the assembly line. And TI Automotive Ltd., Warren, Mich., is using robots that can "see" to identify dimensional variations in plastic parts.

About 800,000 robots populate global manufacturing with almost half working in Japan. About 121,000 industrial robots work in the U.S., says Donald A. Vincent, executive vice president, Robotic Industries Association, Ann Arbor, Mich

Robots Revolution).

Due to the high extent of accuracy, robots are now being used in many fields of life. Currently they are being used in semiconductor manufacturing. According to a General Motors representative,

When we convert a plant to a new product, hundreds of millions of dollars are put into the facility. Our manufacturing technology focus minimizes the capital investment by increasing equipment flexibility. When we're looking for new robot applications now, we're often seeking alternatives to operations that are already automated with dedicated equipment. We want to take advantage of increases in robot flexibility to perform those same automated operations more consistently with more common equipment and at lower cost (John Teresko, Robots Revolution).

Robots when compared to human beings are much more efficient. These machines have played a vital role in the manufacturing success of Japan. In the near future, Robots will be able to produce lots of items on a much affordable economic scale.

Since 1978 Japanese industrial robot production has grown from $140million U.S. To over $3.6billion U.S. In 1990, more than twenty-fold. Exports of industrial robots have gone from essentially zero in 1978 to about $800million U.S. In 1990, about 20% of total production. The largest producers of industrial robots (1989) are

Matsu*****a Electric Industry (MEI) 16.5%

Fuji Machine Manufacturing 8.3

Fanuc 5.4

Yasakawa Electric Manufacturing 5.3

Kawasaki Heavy Industries 3.4 accounting for about 40% of all production (D. K. Kahaner, Robots And Use In Japan


Majority of the robots are being employed in…

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