Typically robots are used industrially for welding, painting, assembly, pick and place, packaging, palletizing and SMT), product inspection, and testing.
All these roles are generally, more easily done by a robot and more consistently than a human operator, as the routines are repetitive and often mundane tasks. (All manner of tasks done of course with less fatigue and greater speed, and precision.)
So what is a robot in industry?
Most types of industrial robots are in the category of robotic arms with varying degrees of articulation and functionality:
- Some robots are programmed to carry out repetitive actions without variation and with a high degree of accuracy.
- They form part of a system of integrated routines performed by several robots or automated processes. This is referred to as Computer Integrated Manufacture (CIM), Cellular manufacture or as part of a flexible manufacturing system (FMS).
- Robot arm movements cap be pre-programmed for direction, acceleration, velocity, deceleration, and distance as a series of coordinated motions.
- More ‘flexible’ robots are orientated on the object on which they are operating or the task that has to be performed. For this robots often contain machine vision or proximity sensors (transducers) and sub-systems acting as their "eyes". Connected to sophisticated software this is called Artificial intelligence (AI). This ‘instructs’ the arm to vary routines, learn patterns and optimise behaviour too.
- The most commonly used robot configurations are articulated robots, SCARA robots and Cartesian coordinate robots or x-y-z robots
The higher transitional speeds between positions, load carrying capacity, accuracy and flexibility make robot arms a sound manufacturing choice.