The rapidly growing industrial automation has led to manufacturing and production at its peak. Today people are completely dependent on automatic machines, either it is automobile, or a robot that is working in a production line, or a robotic hand busy in assembling cars, or home automation where everything from door lock to home security system is at your finger tips, all these are the example of industrial automation
In this article we shall be focusing on the big manufacturers of industrial robots and the types of industrial robots commonly used in industries.
What Actually the Robot Is..?
When we hear the word robot, we think a machine that looks like human talking to real human beings. This can be a scene of film or fiction story but this is actually not the case. Actually the robot is a machine that is operated by a pre-programmed software embedded in the electronic circuits memory of that machine and operator than instructs the machine to perform actions/movement in 3 or more axes based on that programming as and when required by operator.
The robot is basically an electromechanical machine that contains parts that move and those electronic circuits that contains semiconductor devices including active and passive electronic components to control the movement of mechanical parts.
Types of Industrial Robots:
There are mainly 6 types of industrial robots more widely used. They are
1- SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm)
The SCARA robot has x, y, and z axes of operation in which z-axis arm is rigid or fixed and x-y plane is pliable or compliant and has “circular“ rotation. Hence the name give “Selective Compliance”. It is important to know that compliance in robots means, the flexibility or suppleness.
It has two linked parallel arms jointed together.
It has single pedestal mount, needs small footprint and used for easy mounting and assembly jobs. SCARA is based on serial architecture form meaning first motor carries all other motors. “End effectors” move horizontally and rotating shafts are mounted vertical. Their “work envelop” or “reach” is like donut shape. They are faster than their Cartesian counterparts.
2- Cartesian Robots:
This type of robot has linear movement in all 3 principal axes X, Y and Z. The movement is at 90O to each other. The 3 arms of this robot is sliding instead of rotating. It resembles the wrist movement up/down, in/out and back/forth. This robot use the Cartesian coordinate system (X,Y,Z), that allows the “end effectors” of robot to move to any point within its reach or “envelope“. The end effector can be attached to a rotational moving tool like “small drill” used for drilling holes in PCB fabrication process. Refer to “Rayming PCB” service for PCB fabrication and advance and drilling / milling machines.
They are also called “gantry robot” because of its working like a gantry crane. This Cartesian robot is widely used in applications like 3D printing, milling, drilling, pick and place and drawing purposes.
3- Articulated Robots:
These robots are the most widely and commonly used industrial robots usually found in car assembly lines, arc and spot welding stations, material handling and packaging. These robots have 2 or more up-to 10 multiple joints and each joints give separate Degree of Freedom (DoF). These joints are operated by heavy duty electric motors draining huge electric current. The “Degree of Freedom” (DoF) of a robot can be defined as the number of axes in which a manipulator of robot can move.
The robot manipulator is the robot body plus arm. The reach can be defined as the maximum horizontal distance a robotic arm can cover starting from center of its body to the end effector.
4- Delta Robot:
This type of robot is different from SCARA in the sense that it is based on parallel manipulator scheme instead of serial like SCARA. Means that the end effector is directly connected to the base/body and is controlled by multiple linkages that are simultaneously controlling the position/orientation of end effector.
This can really increase the speed of robot because multiple linear actuators are constantly moving the end effector and precisely controlling its position. The speed of delta robot used in pick, place and packaging can touch up-to 300 picks/minute.
5- Polar Robot:
The polar robot unlike Cartesian robot, work on the polar coordinate system. (r,). The length of the robotic arm is the maximum reach and it is actually the radius “r” and the angle given to the program of polar robot tell it where to go within its maximum work envelope that is spherical in shape.
6- Cylindrical Robot:
The cylindrical Robot works in cylindrical coordinate system. Much similar to polar except the end effector is in the shape of cylinder giving the work envelop as shown in the diagram.
World’s Leading Industrial Robot Manufacturing Companies
1- Mitsubishi Electric:
Founded in 1921, Head Quarter in Japan Tokyo. This company is the leading robot arm manufacture giving high speed and precision performance in robotic arms.
2- ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri):
Founded 1883 and Head Quarter in Zurich, Switzerland. This company is the pioneer of first paint robot and that is completely controlled by intelligent microprocessor fully electric powered.
3- B+M Surface Systems GmBH:
Founded in 1992 and HQ in Eiterfeld, Germany. This company provides services of complete feasibility study, customized approach, installation and design of industrial robots.
4- Omron Adept Technologies:
Founded 1948 and HQ in Kyoto, Japan. Mobile robots, intelligent industrial automation, software and machine vision are the key products of this company. This company is in fact the US largest robot manufacture.
5- FANUC Robotics:
Founded in 1958 and HQ in Oshino, Japan. FANUC is particularly known for its Artificial Intelligence (A-I) based robotic system. Over 100 different types of Smart, flexible and easy to operate robots manufacturing is the specialty of FANUC Robotics.
Founded in 1915, HQ in Kitakyushu, Japan. This company is renowned for its dynamic robots excessively used in material handling, cutting, spot welding, dispensing and assembly purposes.