Enhancing Your Robot’s Accuracy
Robot accuracy is defined as how closely a robot can obtain an instructed position. Accuracy is calculated by measuring the absolute robot position and the commanded position. The difference between the two measurements is known as the error which is the measurement of how accurate a robot is.
In the early years of robotics, industrial robots were tasked with simple, highly repetitive applications as they lacked the accuracy needed for automating more sophisticated processes. Today robotic technology has improved immensely, allowing articulated robots to take on more complex applications that demand higher precision and accuracy. While the accuracy of industrial robots by themselves has made great strides, there are additional technology options that can enhance their accuracy even further, especially for the automation of complex manufacturing processes.
Robotic Vision Systems
Robotic vision systems are the most common devices used to enhance industrial robot accuracy. Vision systems provide robots with the sense of sight through specialty cameras. Most robotic vision systems consist of either a 2D or 3D camera. These cameras take imagery of the robot’s surrounding environment to provide visual feedback that is interpreted by the robot’s control system to update its programmed position. Having the sense of sight significantly improves a robot’s accuracy. With vision the FANUC M-20ia can accurately identify different part types, ensuring the six axis robot does not select the wrong part. Vision systems are also helpful for applications that require following a particular path, such as welding automation. Integrating the Motoman MA1440 with vision ensures it follows the welding path, even for parts with complex geometries for greater welding accuracy.
Robotic Force Sensors
Force sensors are another popular form of robotic technology for improving industrial robot accuracy. Robotic force sensors can greatly improve robot accuracy for applications in which pressure or torque is applied to a workpiece. These include automated material removal and robotic assembly applications. Force sensors are integrated between the robotic wrist and end-effector. They are able to measure the amount of force or torque applied in the X, Y, and Z axes. When force is measured, the sensor provides feedback to the robot for how each axis feels. The robot is then able to adjust the pressure it is applying based on this feedback for greater accuracy. For instance, the FANUC M-710ic/50 is able to detect how much pressure to apply to a workpiece for an automated sanding application. Since the sanding robot is able to measure the amount of pressure applied, it can accurately sand the workpiece until smooth, avoiding sanding too little or too much.
Using offline robot simulation software is another option for enhancing your robot’s accuracy. Offline simulation software creates a 3D virtual representation of your robotic system and its work environment. Programs for robotic applications can be tested offline through a computer without involving the actual robot. This allows users to catch any bugs in their programming before going live with their robot. Users can test multiple program modifications to determine the most optimal robot operation. Testing and optimizing programming will greatly improve the accuracy of your robot.
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