Important Terminology in Robotics
There are many different terms surrounding the world of robotics. Some are straight forward, while others are more complex to understand. Having an understanding of robot terminology is useful for learning about robot components, their operation, and robotic manufacturing in general. The following are some of the most important terms in robotics.
- Articulated - A type of industrial robot with rotary joints. The Yaskawa Motoman MA1400 is an example of an articulated robot.
- Horizontal Reach - This robot specification refers to the distance from the center of the robot to the end of the robot wrist when the robot arm is fully extended.
- Vertical Reach - This refers to the distance from the base of the robot to the end of the robot wrist when the arm is fully extended upward.
- Repeatability - This term refers to an industrial robot’s ability to return to the same position over and over. In other words, it is how consistent a robot’s movement may be.
- End-Effector - Is any tool or device that can be attached to a robot’s wrist in order for a robot to perform a desired task. This term is often interchanged with end-of-arm-tooling (EOAT). For example, a FANUC Arc Mate 120ic would use a welding torch as its end-effector to perform MIG applications.
- Gripper - This is a type of end-effector used for the handling, holding, or manipulating of objects. These can vary in design from finger, magnetic, or vacuum styles.
- Payload - This is the maximum amount of weight a robot’s wrist can lift. It is expressed in kilograms. A lot of the models contain the payload in their model number. For instance, the FANUC R-2000ib/125L has a payload of 125L kg.
- Workpiece - This term is often used in robotics to describe an unfinished part that is manufactured or worked on by a robot.
- Work Envelope - This is the volume of space a robot can operate within. In other words, it is the robot’s range of motion that is determined by its reach and axes.
- Uptime - This is the amount of time in which a robot is either operating or able to operate.
- Degrees of Freedom - The number of independent motions of a robot. Robotic degrees of freedom are determined by the number of axes a robot has.
- Joints - Sections of a robot’s arm that allow for movement or rotation.
- Robotic Application - Robotic applications are the processes and tasks automated by a robot. Common applications include arc welding, assembly, pick and place, and palletizing.
- Manipulator - A sequence of link and joint connections used to manipulate parts without direct contact from an operator. The robot manipulator can be divided into the arm and robot body.
- Tool Changer - A device that is utilized when multiple end-effectors are used with the same robot. A robotic tool changer can automatically switch a robot’s EOAT between cycle runs.
- Actuator - A robotic mechanism responsible for creating motion or controlling the robot, such as a motor. An actuator responds to a signal received from the control system.
- Structure - This is the design of an industrial robot. There are many different structures with the most common being articulated. Others include Delta, SCARA, and Gantry.