Today, industrial robots are a common sight. You can find them everywhere - from small job shops to large automotive lines. But it wasn't always like this.
In reality, the 6-axis, articulated, industrial robot is a fairly recent invention, albeit one that involved many designs, inventors, and companies.
An American inventor, George Devol, was the first to develop a programmable robot in 1954. Another inventor, Joseph Engelberger, advanced the design still further. A little less than a decade later, the UNIMATE robot was installed at a GM plant in New Jersey. Its first job consisted of spot welding and die cast material handling.
The robot industry really took off in the 1970s. This period saw the arrival of what would later become major robotic manufacturers: Nachi, KUKA, FANUC, and Motoman. In 1973, the familiar six-axis configuration came into existence. KUKA, a German company, built Famulus, a robot with six electromechanically-driven axes.
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