What are the main parts of an industrial robot arm?
Industrial robot arms can vary in size and shape. The industrial robot arm is the part that positions the end effector. With the robot arm, the shoulder, elbow, and wrist move and twist to position the end effector in the exact right spot. Each of these joints gives the robot another degree of freedom. A simple robot with three degrees of freedom can move in three ways: up & down, left & right, and forward & backward. Many industrial robots in factories today are six axis robots.
Parts of a Robotic Arm
The controller is the “brain” of the industrial robotic arm and allows the parts of the robot to operate together. It works as a computer and allows the robot to also be connected to other systems. The robotic arm controller runs a set of instructions written in code called a program. The program is inputted with a teach pendant. Many of today’s industrial robot arms use an interface that resembles or is built on the Windows operating system.
The end effector connects to the robot’s arm and functions as a hand. This part comes in direct contact with the material the robot is manipulating. Some variations of an effector are a gripper, a vacuum pump, magnets, and welding torches. Some robots are capable of changing end effectors and can be programmed for different sets of tasks.
Servo drives are made up of circuit boards, wires, microchips and connectors. These drives are responsible for the motor’s movement and can make the motor accelerate, slow down, stop or even reverse at any given moment.. Industrial robot arms generally use one of the following types of drives: hydraulic, electric, or pneumatic. Hydraulic drive systems give a robot great speed and strength. An electric system provides a robot with less speed and strength. Pneumatic drive systems are used for smaller robots that have fewer axes of movement. Drives should be periodically inspected for wear and replaced if necessary.
The motor is the heart of every automated motion system. The type of motion you are looking to achieve will dictate the motor needed to bring the motion to life. One of the more popular motors you see in today’s motion control systems. Servo motors used in robotics and automation are chosen due to having the following characteristics: fast response speed, high starting torque, wide speed range. Servo motors are chosen most often in robot applications due to the amount of precision they control when paired with a feedback device such as a control and a servo drive.
Sensors allow the industrial robotic arm to receive feedback about its environment. They can give the robot a limited sense of sight and sound. The sensor collects information and sends it electronically to the robot controlled. One use of these sensors is to keep two robots that work closely together from bumping into each other. Sensors can also assist end effectors by adjusting for part variances. Vision sensors allow a pick and place robot to differentiate between items to choose and items to ignore.
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