How Do Industrial Robots Work?

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Robotic automation is on the rise across numerous industries. Companies are opting to automate their production processes with industrial robots as a means to optimize manufacturing. Automating production related tasks with the FANUC R-2000ic/210F and other articulated robots creates more efficient manufacturing through increased productivity, reduced costs, higher product quality, and faster cycle times.

What is an Industrial Robot?

An industrial robot is a programmable automatically controlled mechanical device. Robot manipulators are programmed to automatically execute specific tasks in order to eliminate or significantly reduce human involvement. Factory robots are ideal for automating repetitive applications as well as those that are dangerous for human workers.

There are several different types of industrial robots but the main ones used in manufacturing include articulated, SCARA, delta, gantry, and collaborative. The structure of industrial robot arms can vary by type but in general all robots consist of a robotic manipulator, controller, sensors, end-effector, and motor.

How Industrial Robots Work

Industrial robots automatically execute specific tasks which are determined through robotic programs. Robotic programs provide the instructions in which the industrial robotic arm must follow to accurately perform an application. Robotic programs are inputted through the robot teach pendant or offline computer software. These instructions are then received by the controller which acts essentially as the robot “brain.” The controller is a computer that translates program instructions in order for the Yaskawa MH180 to perform the steps of a specific task.

The controller uses the instructions of the robotic program to control the movements of the manipulator. The manipulator is the arm of the industrial robot and is responsible for moving along three planes. Attached to the end of the manipulator is the EOAT. The robotic EOAT is the device responsible for directly interacting with workpieces. The manufacturing robot arm will position the EOAT. For instance, if automating a welding application with the FANUC Arcmate 100ic/6L, it will guide the weld torch with its robotic arm according to its controller, while the torch itself welds the workpieces. Sensors are used to provide environmental feedback to the robotic system. While the motors are used to power the movements required of the industrial robot.

What Processes can Robots Perform?

Advancements in robotic technology has allowed for the automation of a wide variety of applications with industrial robots. Six axis robots can be used to automate simple to complex processes. The broad application of robotic automation is one of the reasons it is becoming the primary labor source for manufacturing.

Common applications for industrial robots include arc welding, spot welding, laser welding, assembly, material removal, machine tending, painting, inspection, palletizing, finishing, and packaging. Robotic welding and automated material handling applications account for nearly half of all processes automated by industrial robots.

The ABB 2600 and other factory robots can be found in a wide range of industries including the automotive, aerospace, metals, electronics, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and agriculture. Industrial robots are helping manufacturers overcome labor shortages, rising costs, product turnover, and high demand. Implementing robotic automation allows companies to remain competitive while also expanding their manufacturing capabilities.

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