Top Robotic Technology Options
There are several robotic technology options available to enhance the operation and functionality of industrial robots. On their own, industrial robots excel at highly repetitive applications. However, when applications are more complex or involve variability additional technology may need to be integrated with an industrial robot. Even if an application does not involve a great degree of complexity, integrating additional technology with your robot can maximize the benefits of robotic automation. Some of the top robotic technology options include:
- • Vision Systems - Integrating vison systems with industrial robots is becoming quite common for a variety of manufacturing processes including material handling, welding, and material removal. Vision systems consist of cameras and sensors that provide visual feedback to the robot. Robot accuracy is significantly improved along with the ability to create more autonomy with the robot’s operation. Most of the top robotic manufacturers have developed their own robotic vision systems for easy integration. FANUC’s iRVision can be added to the FANUC M-20ia as well as their other robots. Yaskawa Motoman, ABB, and KUKA also offer their own vision systems for their robots.
- • Force Sensors - Force sensors are beneficial for robotic applications requiring finesses such as material removal processes. Robotic force sensors use tactile sensors that are integrated between the robot wrist and end-effector. Force sensors provide the Motoman MH50 with the sense of touch with the ability to measure force and pressure being applied. Force sensors are a close second behind visions systems in popularity. As vision systems have become standard for many applications, force sensors are expected to soon catch up to them, especially as more manufacturers look to transition to fully automated factories.
- • Collision Detection - Applications involving multiple robots or those in which articulated robots must interact with other equipment or machinery can be improved by integrating robots with collision detection software. Collision detection helps robots avoid collisions or accidents with peripheral objects, other six axis robots, or people. Sensors are integrated through the robotic manipulator arm and can measure changes in force or torque. When unusual force is detected the sensor will alert the robot to stop or slow down to prevent damage from occurring to the robot, peripheral objects, or workpieces.
- • Offline Software - Offline software can be used to plan, program, and simulate robot applications without involving the actual robot. Robotic offline software is an efficient and cost-effective programming tool as creating and testing robot applications can be done through a computer. Offline software allows the FANUC R-2000ic to remain in production while new programs or modifications are developed. Robot downtime due to programming is avoided while programs can be perfected before going live reducing application errors.
- • Predictive Maintenance - Predictive maintenance is a newer method for maintaining industrial robots that has emerged with the development of AI for robots. Predictive maintenance uses real time data and algorithms to monitor the status and components of industrial robots. When wear of components or trends of a potential failure of a component is detected, users are alerted along with a protocol to follow. Robotic maintenance becomes much more efficient as it is conducted in a targeted manor on an as needed basis as opposed to a generalized approach involving the entire robot.