Whether you are new to the industrial robotics industry or have a deep knowledge of mechanical engineering and automation technology, it’s essential to understand the fundamental components associated with robotic arms.
Comprised of complex systems that allow for sophisticated and precise movement on a variety of three-dimensional axes, industrial robotic arms are essential equipment in manufacturing operations worldwide. In this article, we will dive into the intricate details surrounding these impressive devices, from their parts to the featured safety measures built within them, allowing those who read it to come away with an overview of how industrial robots work at their core.
What Are The Components Of A Robotic Arm?
Robotic arms are made up of the following components:
End effectors: The end effector is the part of a robotic arm responsible for implementing tasks such as gripping, welding, painting, or cutting. This component is customized to fit the needs of whatever task needs to be performed and can take many shapes and sizes depending on its purpose.
Motors: Motors are the power source used in robotic arms that supply energy to rotate or move components of an industrial robot’s structure. These motors come in different forms, including stepper, hydraulic, and servo motors, which cater to applications demanding more precision or higher strength.
Joints: Each robotic arm contains several joints along its body, allowing it varied mobility throughout three-dimensional space. Common joints in most robotic arms are revolute, prismatic, and cylindrical, enabling robots to rotate or slide along their axis.
Actuators: Actuators provide the force necessary for an industrial robotic arm’s joints to move or rotate. They work like miniature engines that convert energy from one form into another using a motor, gearbox, and hydraulic system.
Sensors: Sensors are essential components of any industrial robot as they measure the environment around it and allow the machine to understand its surroundings before executing a task. These sensors span from visual systems that rely on cameras to detect objects in their field of view, tactile sensors for detecting touch, force sensors for measuring externally applied force, and distance sensors for measuring the robot’s relative position from its environment.
Wiring and cables: Electrical cables are responsible for connecting the different components of a robotic arm, allowing it to operate safely and reliably. Depending on their application, these harnesses can be designed using several different materials, such as copper, fiber optics, or even wireless connections.
Safety Features For Robotic Arms
Robotic arms are designed with various safety features to ensure the user’s security when operating the device. These components include:
Emergency stop button: The emergency stop button immediately shuts down the machine’s motion in an emergency. It is usually located on the robotic arm’s control panel and can be activated by anyone within range.
Limit switches: Limit switches help protect against collision or overuse of force by sensing when a robot hits its limits during operation and then stopping/reducing the speed.
Light beams & curtains: Light beams and curtains are used to detect if someone accidentally enters a robot’s working area and will shut it down or stop it from moving if this occurs.
These are just a few of the many safety features that can be found in industrial robotic arms today, and there are countless variations depending on the application.
Examples Of Industrial Robotic Arms In Use Today
First, collaborative robots are designed to work alongside humans and assist them in various tasks. These robots often have safety features such as force sensors that allow for safer interactions between the robot and its human colleagues.
Second, industrial robotic arms can be used for welding operations in factories with the correct programming; these arms can identify weld pieces accurately together without needing a person.
Finally, they can also be used to pick and place objects from one location to another with great precision using an end effector specifically suited for that task.
Industrial robotic arms are complex machines that combine several components to enable them to perform their tasks accurately. Motors provide power, joints give mobility, actuators provide force, and sensors measure the environment around them. Wiring and cables connect all these components as safety features to protect humans and robots during operation.
Industrial robotic arms can be found in many applications, from collaborative robotics to factory welding operations. With advances in technology, they are becoming more prevalent in today’s workplaces, providing humans with assistance, and allowing for more efficient production processes.