As the technology in consumer and industrial products advances, so does the technology of robots and the processes that manufacture these products. Industrial robots play a large role in the production and quality of many of the products, large and small, that we see today.
Changes in Focus of Industrial Robot Designs
Advances in robotics improve the basic concepts and designs have been mastered by many of the leading robot manufacturers, including FANUC and Motoman. The six-axis industrial robot arm has become the standard for many industrial applications. In some applications and manufacturing plans, more or less axes can be advantageous depending on the desired outcome. For example, many industries performing heavy palletizing applications employ four-axis robots that sacrifice repeatability but handle heavier payloads, such as the FANUC M-410. Other industries that require extreme flexibility and precision employ robot arms with more axes, such as the Motoman VA1400 robot arm that uses seven axes. Much of the focus of today’s designs is placed on greater accuracy, faster axis speeds, easier programming, and smaller footprints.
Advances in Technology
Robots today include computer chip and microprocessor manufacturing and welding in their designs.
An increasing number of consumer and industrial products utilize computer chips and other microprocessors. From children’s toys and video games to automobiles and industrial CNC machinery, computer chips are being developed to be smaller and hold more information. Industrial robots possess the precision to accurately move, handle, and assemble these devices. Many industrial robot arms have been sealed and designed to work in “cleanroom” environments, in which microprocessors are often handled.
Arc welding and spot welding account for many of applications that industrial robot perform. Designers constantly try to improve repeatability, axis speeds, and flexibility in robot arms performing these applications. Some robots are precise to +/- 0.02 millimeters and can move several meters per second. Due to the advancement in technology of robots, there is more room for improvement in manufacturing.