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Industrial Robotic Automation Essentials: Key Components for Operational Success

Industrial Robotic Automation Essentials: Key Components for Operational Success

Robots are powerful machines designed to handle a wide range of simple and complex manufacturing tasks. In most setups, you'll find several robots working together on an assembly line, each assigned a specific role.

Some excel at picking and placing workpieces, while others work with machines like lathes and milling machines. A few shine at delicate assembly work.

What makes them remarkable is their adaptability – they can easily be reprogrammed to handle various tasks. Thus, they automate manufacturing processes and meet modern industry's ever-changing demands.

Now, if you're curious about the components that make these industrial robots tick, you're in the right place!

This article outlines the essential parts that make these incredible machines work. So, let's dive in and explore the inner workings of these mechanical marvels!

Introduction to Industrial Robotic Parts

Robotic components are the building blocks that constitute the framework of a robot. They are a fusion of metallic and electronic elements, serving distinct roles within the robot's structure.

Some components provide structural integrity, shield the electrical components, and support them. While some components serve as a robot's powerhouse, enabling the robot to function and move.

The following are the main components of an industrial robot. One must be familiar with these fundamental components to better understand robots' inner workings.

Essential Components of an Industrial Robot

Controller - The Brain of the Robot

Think of the controller as the robot's brain. It's the command centre responsible for orchestrating all the robot's actions. When the robot receives sensor information, the controller processes it and decides what to do next. It's like the conductor of an orchestra, who directs the instruments to play smoothly together.

Some of the leading industrial robotics manufacturers, such as KUKA and ABB, have pioneered some of the best controllers in the industry. These controllers are renowned for their intelligence, advanced capabilities, and user-friendliness. With these controllers, robots can perform tasks with increasing precision and adaptability.

Sensors - Robotic Perception Devices

Sensors act as the robot's sensory organs. They come in various types, each serving a unique purpose. For instance, cameras provide vision, microphones give hearing, and touch sensors allow the robot to feel.

Sensors continuously gather data from the robot's surroundings. This data is then transmitted to the controller, allowing the robot to react to its environment. It's akin to how our eyes and ears enable us to perceive the world.

Here are some common types of sensors used in industrial robots:

Vision Sensors: For object recognition and inspection.

Proximity Sensors: Detect object presence or absence.

Infrared Sensors: Detect heat and proximity.

Lidar Sensors: Provide 3D mapping and navigation.

Laser Range Finders: Measure distances accurately.

Tactile Sensors: Detect pressure and touch.

Power Supply - Energizing the Robots

Much like humans need food, robots require a power supply to operate. Depending on the robot's design, this power source can be in the form of batteries, electrical connections, or other energy sources.

The power supply provides electricity to keep the robot's motors running, sensors active, and the controller operational. Without a reliable power source, a robot would be powerless and unable to carry out its tasks.

Investing in the right power supply for your robotics is a smart move. When selecting a power supply for your industrial robot, consider qualities like compactness, isolation, high efficiency, quick start-up, and low standby power usage.

Besides saving space, these features enable the power supply to keep up with the robot's non-stop, speedy workload. It's a choice that pays off in reliability and efficiency, benefiting your bottom line.

Robotic Arm - Precision in Motion

The robotic arm is analogous to a human arm but with added versatility. It comprises multiple joints and links, enabling it to move in various ways.

These arms can extend, rotate, and bend, allowing robots to perform intricate tasks such as grabbing objects, welding, or painting. The robotic arm's design and capabilities depend on the robot's intended functions.

KUKA, Fanuc, Yaskawa, and ABB are among the top robotic arm manufacturers. Fanuc is renowned for its FANUC M-2000iA Series Robots.

These robotic arms are exceptionally sturdy, capable of handling ultra-heavy payloads up to 2300 kg, boasting crane-like reach, and water and dustproof throughout the wrist and arm.

On the other hand, ABB has introduced its most compact robot arm yet, the IRB 1010. With a remarkable payload capacity of 1.5 kg, outstanding repeatability at 0.01 mm, and a 30% reduction in size compared to predecessors, the IRB 1010 is designed to maximize productivity and high-quality manufacturing even in tight spaces. These companies are pushing the boundaries of robotic arm technology, offering a wide range of options to cater to diverse industrial needs.

Drives - Mechanisms for Mobility

The drive system is what propels the robot from one place to another. Depending on the robot's type and purpose, it can employ wheels, tracks, legs, or other locomotion methods.

The drive system takes commands from the controller and translates them into motion. For instance, in a wheeled robot, the drive system controls the speed and direction of the wheels, enabling the robot to navigate its environment.

Without an effective drive system, a robot would remain stationary and unable to fulfil its intended role. Leading brands in the realm of drives include Schneider Electric, Allen Bradley, and Siemens.

Particularly, Siemens' G120X and G180 drive solutions are industry-specific. They are designed for intricate systems that require multiple communication options, flexible operating frames, and specialized safety features.

Manipulators - Extending Robotic Reach

Manipulators are the robot's versatile toolset, equivalent to our hands and arms. These tools comprise joints and links that allow for precise movement and manipulation of objects. Whether picking up items, assembling parts, or performing delicate operations, manipulators extend the robot's abilities and versatility.

The specific design of a manipulator depends on the robot's intended tasks, with different configurations and attachments to suit various applications. The prevalent categories of robot manipulators in use today are:

Gantry or Cartesian Robots: 3-axis robot, linear sliding with prismatic joints, spacious rectangular or cubic workspaces.

Cylindrical Robots: Circular work envelope, 360° vertical movement with linear joints, adaptable shape.

SCARA Robots: 4-axis, rigid in the Z-axis, rotary joints for X/Y motion, offering a wide semi-circular workspace.

Articulated Robots: 6-axis flexibility, including rotary and revolute joints in the arm, capable of roll, pitch, and yaw movements for intricate tasks.

End Effectors - Specialized Task Performers

End effectors are the specialized tools or attachments at the tip of a robot's manipulator. They are like the fingertips of a robot, designed to interact with objects and perform specific tasks.

These tools vary widely, from grippers for holding objects to welding torches, drills, and even cameras. End effectors enable the robot to adapt to different jobs and perform various functions. Their diversity makes robots highly adaptable to various tasks, from industrial manufacturing to surgery and beyond.

Conclusion

The components within industrial robots are the essential building blocks that enable them to function effectively. Without these components, the seamless operation of robots would be impossible.

However, robot components can sometimes encounter issues, leading to interruptions in their functions. When such challenges arise, swift action is crucial to get the robot back up and running smoothly. This is where a reliable supplier of robot components becomes invaluable.

inRobots is a dependable source for all your robotics spare parts needs. They offer various components and spare parts, including manipulator parts, cables, motors, and servo drives.

Additionally, they carry I/O boards, power supply units, safety components, memory units, rectifiers, and data storage devices. So, when you need reliable and high-quality components for your industrial robots, inRobots is the go-to choice to ensure the continued efficiency of your robotic systems.

 

Sources:

https://robotsdoneright.com/Articles/robotic-controller.html

https://www.fanucamerica.com/products/robots/series/m-2000ia

https://new.abb.com/products/robotics/robots/articulated-robots/irb-1010

https://www.wevolver.com/article/sensors-in-robotics-the-common-types

https://www.dosupply.com/tech/2021/05/28/top-10-servo-drive-manufacturers-in-industrial-automation/

https://www.roboticautomationsystems.com/blog/what-is-a-robot-manipulator/

 

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