Components of a Robotic System
Robotic systems automate production related tasks in manufacturing. They reduce or eliminate the need for human interaction in order to improve quality, productivity, and cycle times while also reducing costs. They are programmable, flexible, and versatile, making them the preferred automation method of today’s manufacturers. Below is a list of all the components that form an entire robotic system.
- • Robot - When you think of a robotic system, naturally the first component that would come to mind is an industrial robot. The robot is the main component of a robotic system as it is responsible for performing manufacturing applications. Industrial robots vary by payload capacity, reach, structure, axes, and size. The type of robot integrated into a robotic system depends upon the application being automated. For welding, the FANUC Arcmate 120ic could be considered. While the Motoman HP20 is an excellent multipurpose robot capable of a variety of automated material handling applications.
- • Controller - All industrial robots need a controller in order to be able to operate. The robotic controller is considered the “brains” of the robot as it interprets application programs to instruct the robot. It is a computer system that is connected to the robot. When a program has been entered, the controller deciphers the program code and send the information to the robot’s CPU which then processes and runs the desired program. For example, the FANUC LR Mate 200ic is compatible with the R-30ia controller.
- • Teach Pendant - Teach pendants are handheld devices that are part of a robot’s control system. These devices consist of a touchscreen, keypad, or combination of both for inputting the instructions of an application program into the controller. Teach pendants are the most common programming method for industrial robots.
- • EOAT - The EOAT is the device that attaches to the end of the robot arm. It is responsible for directly interacting with workpieces. There are many different types of EOATs, and the type integrated with a robot will depend upon the application. If you are automating a welding application, then a welding torch can be integrated to a Motoman MA1400. For material handling tasks where parts need to be moved, positioned, or manipulated, a gripper can be integrated to a ABB 2400.
- • Peripheral Equipment - Peripheral equipment for a robotic system consists of any specialized devices needed for an application. For instance, a robotic arc welding application would require a power supply, wire feeder, reamer, and positioner. Other forms of peripheral equipment may include devices that enhance a robot’s operation. Robotic vision systems can be integrated with industrial robots to provide sight feedback. Complex tasks that may require part changes, part recognition, or obscure application paths can benefit from vision systems.
- • Safety Equipment - Safety equipment is not only necessary but also required by robotic safety standards. Implementing proper safeguarding devices ensures a safe work environment for your employees and optimal operation for your robot. Barriers prevent workers from entering the robot’s work area while in operation. These may be physical barriers such as fencing or invisible barriers that use a light field such as light curtains and area scanners. Other safety equipment for robotic systems include e-stops, dividers, arc glare shields, interlocking doors, and sensors.