Articulated industrial robot working in a foundry.

An industrial robot is a robot system used for manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated, programmable and able to motion on three or extra axes.

Typical purposes of robots embody welding, portray, meeting, disassembly,choose and place for printed circuit boards, packaging and labeling, palletizing, product inspection, and testing; all completed with excessive endurance, pace, and precision. They can help in materials dealing with.

In the yr 2020, an estimated 1.64 million industrial robots have been in operation worldwide based on International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Types and options

A set of six-axis robots used for welding.

Factory Automation with industrial robots for palletizing meals merchandise like bread and toast at a bakery in Germany

There are six sorts of industrial robots.

Articulated robots

Articulated robots are the most typical industrial robots. They appear like a human arm, which is why they're additionally referred to as robotic arm or manipulator arm. Their articulations with a number of levels of freedom permit the articulated arms a variety of actions.

Cartesian coordinate robots

Cartesian robots, additionally referred to as rectilinear, gantry robots, and x-y-z robots have three prismatic joints for the motion of the device and three rotary joints for its orientation in house.

To have the ability to transfer and orient the effector organ in all instructions, such a robot wants 6 axes (or levels of freedom). In a 2-dimensional setting, three axes are enough, two for displacement and one for orientation.

Cylindrical coordinate robots

The cylindrical coordinate robots are characterised by their rotary joint on the base and not less than one prismatic joint connecting its hyperlinks. They can transfer vertically and horizontally by sliding. The compact effector design permits the robot to achieve tight workspaces with none lack of pace.

Spherical coordinate robots

Spherical coordinate robots solely have rotary joints. They are one of many first robots to have been utilized in industrial purposes. They are generally used for machine tending in die-casting, plastic injection and extrusion, and for welding.

SCARA robots

SCARA is an acronym for Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm. SCARA robots are acknowledged by their two parallel joints which give motion within the X-Y aircraft. Rotating shafts are positioned vertically on the effector..

SCARA robots are used for jobs that require exact lateral actions. They are perfect for meeting purposes.

Delta robots

Delta robots are additionally known as parallel hyperlink robots. They include parallel hyperlinks related to a standard base. Delta robots are notably helpful for direct management duties and excessive maneuvering operations (reminiscent of fast choose-and-place duties). Delta robots reap the benefits of 4 bar or parallelogram linkage programs.

Furthermore, industrial robots can have a serial or parallel structure.

Serial manipulators

Serial architectures a.ok.a Serial manipulators are the most typical industrial robots and they're designed as a collection of hyperlinks related by motor-actuated joints that stretch from a base to an finish-effector. SCARA , Stanford manipulators are typical examples of this class.

Parallel Architecture

A parallel manipulator is designed so that every chain is often quick, easy and may thus be inflexible in opposition to undesirable motion, in comparison with a serial manipulator. Errors in a single chain's positioning are averaged together with the others, moderately than being cumulative. Each actuator should nonetheless transfer inside its personal diploma of freedom, as for a serial robot; nonetheless within the parallel robot the off-axis flexibility of a joint can also be constrained by the impact of the opposite chains. It is that this closed-loop stiffness that makes the general parallel manipulator stiff relative to its elements, not like the serial chain that turns into progressively much less inflexible with extra elements.

Lower mobility parallel manipulators and concomitant movement

A full parallel manipulator can transfer an object with as much as 6 levels of freedom (DoF), decided by 3 translation 3T and three rotation 3R coordinates for full 3T3R mobility. However, when a manipulation process requires lower than 6 DoF, the usage of decrease mobility manipulators, with fewer than 6 DoF, could carry benefits by way of less complicated structure, simpler management, quicker movement and decrease value. For instance, the three DoF Delta robot has decrease 3T mobility and has confirmed to be very profitable for speedy choose-and-place translational positioning purposes. The workspace of decrease mobility manipulators could also be decomposed into `movement’ and `constraint’ subspaces. For instance, 3 place coordinates represent the movement subspace of the three DoF Delta robot and the three orientation coordinates are within the constraint subspace. The movement subspace of decrease mobility manipulators could also be additional decomposed into unbiased (desired) and dependent (concomitant) subspaces: consisting of `concomitant’ or `parasitic’ movement which is undesired movement of the manipulator. The debilitating results of concomitant movement needs to be mitigated or eradicated within the profitable design of decrease mobility manipulators. For instance, the Delta robot doesn't have parasitic movement since its finish effector doesn't rotate.


Robots exhibit various levels of autonomy.
Some robots are programmed to faithfully perform particular actions over and over (repetitive actions) with out variation and with a excessive diploma of accuracy. These actions are decided by programmed routines that specify the course, acceleration, velocity, deceleration, and distance of a collection of coordinated motions

Other robots are way more versatile as to the orientation of the thing on which they're working and even the duty that must be carried out on the thing itself, which the robot could even have to establish. For instance, for extra exact steering, robots usually comprise machine imaginative and prescient sub-programs appearing as their visible sensors, linked to highly effective computer systems or controllers.[10]Artificial intelligence, or what passes for it,[clarification needed] is turning into an more and more necessary issue within the trendy industrial robot.

History of business robotics

The earliest recognized industrial robot, conforming to the ISO definition was accomplished by
“Bill” Griffith P. Taylor in 1937 and printed in Meccano Magazine, March 1938.[11][12] The crane-like gadget was constructed nearly totally utilizing Meccano components, and powered by a single electrical motor. Five axes of motion have been attainable, together with seize and seize rotation. Automation was achieved utilizing punched paper tape to energise solenoids, which might facilitate the motion of the crane's management levers. The robot might stack picket blocks in pre-programmed patterns. The variety of motor revolutions required for every desired motion was first plotted on graph paper. This info was then transferred to the paper tape, which was additionally pushed by the robot's single motor. Chris Shute constructed a whole reproduction of the robot in 1997.

George Devol utilized for the primary robotics patents in 1954 (granted in 1961). The first firm to provide a robot was Unimation, based by Devol and Joseph F. Engelberger in 1956. Unimation robots have been additionally referred to as programmable switch machines since their fundamental use at first was to switch objects from one level to a different, lower than a dozen ft or so aside. They used hydraulic actuators and have been programmed in joint coordinates, i.e. the angles of the assorted joints have been saved throughout a educating section and replayed in operation. They have been correct to inside 1/10,000 of an inch[13] (notice: though accuracy shouldn't be an applicable measure for robots, often evaluated by way of repeatability – see later). Unimation later licensed their expertise to Kawasaki Heavy Industries and GKN, manufacturing Unimates in Japan and England respectively. For a while Unimation's solely competitor was Cincinnati Milacron Inc. of Ohio. This modified radically within the late Seventies when a number of massive Japanese conglomerates started producing related industrial robots.

In 1969 Victor Scheinman at Stanford University invented the Stanford arm, an all-electrical, 6-axis articulated robot designed to allow an arm answer. This allowed it precisely to comply with arbitrary paths in house and widened the potential use of the robot to extra subtle purposes reminiscent of meeting and welding. Scheinman then designed a second arm for the MIT AI Lab, referred to as the “MIT arm.” Scheinman, after receiving a fellowship from Unimation to develop his designs, offered these designs to Unimation who additional developed them with assist from General Motors and later marketed it because the Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly (PUMA).

Industrial robotics took off fairly rapidly in Europe, with each ABB Robotics and KUKA Robotics bringing robots to the market in 1973. ABB Robotics (previously ASEA) launched IRB 6, among the many world's first commercially obtainable all electrical micro-processor managed robot. The first two IRB 6 robots have been offered to Magnusson in Sweden for grinding and sprucing pipe bends and have been put in in manufacturing in January 1974. Also in 1973 KUKA Robotics constructed its first robot, referred to as FAMULUS,[14][15] additionally one of many first articulated robots to have six electromechanically pushed axes.

Interest in robotics elevated within the late Seventies and plenty of US firms entered the sphere, together with giant corporations like General Electric, and General Motors (which shaped three way partnership FANUC Robotics with FANUC LTD of Japan). U.S. startup firms included Automatix and Adept Technology, Inc. At the peak of the robot increase in 1984, Unimation was acquired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation for 107 million U.S. {dollars}. Westinghouse offered Unimation to Stäubli Faverges SCA of France in 1988, which remains to be making articulated robots for basic industrial and cleanroom purposes and even purchased the robotic division of Bosch in late 2004.

Only a couple of non-Japanese firms finally managed to outlive on this market, the most important ones being: Adept Technology, Stäubli, the Swedish-Swiss firm ABB Asea Brown Boveri, the German firm KUKA Robotics and the Italian firm Comau.

Technical description

Defining parameters

  • Number of axes – two axes are required to achieve any level in a aircraft; three axes are required to achieve any level in house. To absolutely management the orientation of the tip of the arm(i.e. the wrist) three extra axes (yaw, pitch, and roll) are required. Some designs (e.g. the SCARA robot) commerce limitations in movement prospects for value, pace, and accuracy.
  • Degrees of freedom – that is often the identical because the variety of axes.
  • Working envelope – the area of house a robot can attain.
  • Kinematics – the precise association of inflexible members and joints within the robot, which determines the robot's attainable motions. Classes of robot kinematics embody articulated, cartesian, parallel and SCARA.
  • Carrying capability or payload – how a lot weight a robot can raise.
  • Speed – how briskly the robot can place the tip of its arm. This could also be outlined by way of the angular or linear pace of every axis or as a compound pace i.e. the pace of the tip of the arm when all axes are transferring.
  • Acceleration – how rapidly an axis can speed up. Since this can be a limiting issue a robot could not have the ability to attain its specified most pace for actions over a brief distance or a fancy path requiring frequent modifications of course.
  • Accuracy – how intently a robot can attain a commanded place. When absolutely the place of the robot is measured and in comparison with the commanded place the error is a measure of accuracy. Accuracy might be improved with exterior sensing for instance a imaginative and prescient system or Infra-Red. See robot calibration. Accuracy can fluctuate with pace and place inside the working envelope and with payload (see compliance).
  • Repeatability – how effectively the robot will return to a programmed place. This shouldn't be the identical as accuracy. It could also be that when informed to go to a sure X-Y-Z place that it will get solely to inside 1 mm of that place. This could be its accuracy which can be improved by calibration. But if that place is taught into controller reminiscence and every time it's despatched there it returns to inside 0.1mm of the taught place then the repeatability shall be inside 0.1mm.

Accuracy and repeatability are totally different measures. Repeatability is often a very powerful criterion for a robot and is much like the idea of ‘precision' in measurement—see accuracy and precision. ISO 9283[16] units out a technique whereby each accuracy and repeatability might be measured. Typically a robot is shipped to a taught place various occasions and the error is measured at every return to the place after visiting 4 different positions. Repeatability is then quantified utilizing the usual deviation of these samples in all three dimensions. A typical robot can, in fact make a positional error exceeding that and that may very well be an issue for the method. Moreover, the repeatability is totally different in several components of the working envelope and likewise modifications with pace and payload. ISO 9283 specifies that accuracy and repeatability needs to be measured at most pace and at most payload. But this ends in pessimistic values whereas the robot may very well be way more correct and repeatable at mild hundreds and speeds.
Repeatability in an industrial course of can also be topic to the accuracy of the tip effector, for instance a gripper, and even to the design of the ‘fingers' that match the gripper to the thing being grasped. For instance, if a robot picks a screw by its head, the screw may very well be at a random angle. A subsequent try and insert the screw right into a gap might simply fail. These and related situations might be improved with ‘lead-ins' e.g. by making the doorway to the outlet tapered.

  • Motion management – for some purposes, reminiscent of easy choose-and-place meeting, the robot want merely return repeatably to a restricted variety of pre-taught positions. For extra subtle purposes, reminiscent of welding and ending (spray portray), movement should be constantly managed to comply with a path in house, with managed orientation and velocity.
  • Power supply – some robots use electrical motors, others use hydraulic actuators. The former are quicker, the latter are stronger and advantageous in purposes reminiscent of spray portray, the place a spark might set off an explosion; nonetheless, low inner air-pressurisation of the arm can forestall ingress of flammable vapours in addition to different contaminants. Nowadays, it's extremely unlikely to see any hydraulic robots available in the market. Additional sealings, brushless electrical motors and spark-proof safety eased the development of models which might be capable of work within the setting with an explosive ambiance.
  • Drive – some robots join electrical motors to the joints by way of gears; others join the motor to the joint immediately (direct drive). Using gears ends in measurable ‘backlash' which is free motion in an axis. Smaller robot arms steadily make use of excessive pace, low torque DC motors, which usually require excessive gearing ratios; this has the drawback of backlash. In such instances the harmonic drive is usually used.
  • Compliance – this can be a measure of the quantity in angle or distance {that a} robot axis will transfer when a pressure is utilized to it. Because of compliance when a robot goes to a place carrying its most payload will probably be at a place barely decrease than when it's carrying no payload. Compliance may also be liable for overshoot when carrying excessive payloads by which case acceleration would have to be lowered.

Robot programming and interfaces

A typical effectively-used educate pendant with elective mouse

The setup or programming of motions and sequences for an industrial robot is often taught by linking the robot controller to a laptop computer, desktop laptop or (inner or Internet) community.

A robot and a group of machines or peripherals is known as a workcell, or cell. A typical cell would possibly comprise a components feeder, a molding machine and a robot. The varied machines are ‘built-in' and managed by a single laptop or PLC. How the robot interacts with different machines within the cell should be programmed, each with regard to their positions within the cell and synchronizing with them.

Software: The laptop is put in with corresponding interface software program. The use of a pc vastly simplifies the programming course of. Specialized robot software program is run both within the robot controller or within the laptop or each relying on the system design.

There are two primary entities that have to be taught (or programmed): positional information and process. For instance, in a process to maneuver a screw from a feeder to a gap the positions of the feeder and the outlet should first be taught or programmed. Secondly the process to get the screw from the feeder to the outlet should be programmed together with any I/O concerned, for instance a sign to point when the screw is within the feeder able to be picked up. The function of the robot software program is to facilitate each these programming duties.

Teaching the robot positions could also be achieved various methods:

Positional instructions The robot might be directed to the required place utilizing a GUI or textual content based mostly instructions by which the required X-Y-Z place could also be specified and edited.

Teach pendant: Robot positions might be taught by way of a educate pendant. This is a handheld management and programming unit. The widespread options of such models are the flexibility to manually ship the robot to a desired place, or “inch” or “jog” to regulate a place. They even have a way to alter the pace since a low pace is often required for cautious positioning, or whereas check-operating by a brand new or modified routine. A big emergency cease button is often included as effectively. Typically as soon as the robot has been programmed there isn't any extra use for the educate pendant. All educate pendants are outfitted with a 3-place deadman swap. In the guide mode, it permits the robot to maneuver solely when it's within the center place (partially pressed). If it's absolutely pressed in or utterly launched, the robot stops. This precept of operation permits pure reflexes for use to extend security.

Lead-by-the-nostril: this can be a approach supplied by many robot producers. In this technique, one consumer holds the robot's manipulator, whereas one other particular person enters a command which de-energizes the robot inflicting it to enter limp. The consumer then strikes the robot by hand to the required positions and/or alongside a required path whereas the software program logs these positions into reminiscence. The program can later run the robot to those positions or alongside the taught path. This approach is in style for duties reminiscent of paint spraying.

Offline programming is the place the whole cell, the robot and all of the machines or devices within the workspace are mapped graphically. The robot can then be moved on display and the method simulated. A robotics simulator is used to create embedded purposes for a robot, with out relying on the bodily operation of the robot arm and finish effector. The benefits of robotics simulation is that it saves time within the design of robotics purposes. It can even enhance the extent of security related to robotic gear since varied “what if” situations might be tried and examined earlier than the system is activated. Robot simulation software program offers a platform to show, check, run, and debug packages which have been written in a wide range of programming languages.

Robot simulation instruments permit for robotics packages to be conveniently written and debugged off-line with the ultimate model of this system examined on an precise robot. The capability to preview the habits of a robotic system in a digital world permits for a wide range of mechanisms, gadgets, configurations and controllers to be tried and examined earlier than being utilized to a “actual world” system. Robotics simulators have the flexibility to offer actual-time computing of the simulated movement of an industrial robot utilizing each geometric modeling and kinematics modeling.

Manufacturing unbiased robot programming instruments are a comparatively new however versatile method to program robot purposes. Using a graphical consumer interface the programming is finished by way of drag and drop of predefined template/constructing blocks. They usually function the execution of simulations to guage the feasibility and offline programming together. If the system is ready to compile and add native robot code to the robot controller, the consumer not has to be taught every producer's proprietary language. Therefore, this strategy might be an necessary step to standardize programming strategies.

Others as well as, machine operators usually use consumer interface gadgets, sometimes touchscreen models, which function the operator management panel. The operator can swap from program to program, make changes inside a program and likewise function a number of peripheral gadgets which may be built-in inside the similar robotic system. These embody finish effectors, feeders that offer elements to the robot, conveyor belts, emergency cease controls, machine imaginative and prescient programs, security interlock programs, barcode printers and an nearly infinite array of different industrial gadgets that are accessed and managed by way of the operator management panel.

The educate pendant or PC is often disconnected after programming and the robot then runs on this system that has been put in in its controller. However a pc is usually used to ‘supervise' the robot and any peripherals, or to offer extra storage for entry to quite a few complicated paths and routines.

End-of-arm tooling

The most important robot peripheral is the tip effector, or finish-of-arm-tooling (EOT). Common examples of finish effectors embody welding gadgets (reminiscent of MIG-welding weapons, spot-welders, and many others.), spray weapons and likewise grinding and deburring gadgets (reminiscent of pneumatic disk or belt grinders, burrs, and many others.), and grippers (gadgets that may grasp an object, often electromechanical or pneumatic). Other widespread technique of selecting up objects is by vacuum or magnets. End effectors are steadily extremely complicated, made to match the dealt with product and sometimes able to selecting up an array of merchandise at one time. They could make the most of varied sensors to assist the robot system in finding, dealing with, and positioning merchandise.

Controlling motion

For a given robot the one parameters essential to utterly find the tip effector (gripper, welding torch, and many others.) of the robot are the angles of every of the joints or displacements of the linear axes (or mixtures of the 2 for robot codecs reminiscent of SCARA). However, there are various alternative ways to outline the factors. The most typical and most handy approach of defining a degree is to specify a Cartesian coordinate for it, i.e. the place of the ‘finish effector' in mm within the X, Y and Z instructions relative to the robot's origin. In addition, relying on the sorts of joints a selected robot could have, the orientation of the tip effector in yaw, pitch, and roll and the placement of the device level relative to the robot's faceplate should even be specified. For a jointed arm these coordinates should be transformed to joint angles by the robot controller and such conversions are referred to as Cartesian Transformations which can have to be carried out iteratively or recursively for a a number of axis robot. The arithmetic of the connection between joint angles and precise spatial coordinates is known as kinematics. See robot management

Positioning by Cartesian coordinates could also be completed by getting into the coordinates into the system or through the use of a educate pendant which strikes the robot in X-Y-Z instructions. It is way simpler for a human operator to visualise motions up/down, left/proper, and many others. than to maneuver every joint one after the other. When the specified place is reached it's then outlined ultimately specific to the robot software program in use, e.g. P1 – P5 under.

Typical programming

Most articulated robots carry out by storing a collection of positions in reminiscence, and transferring to them at varied occasions of their programming sequence. For instance, a robot which is transferring gadgets from one place (bin A) to a different (bin B) might need a easy ‘choose and place' program much like the next:

Define factors P1–P5:

  1. Safely above workpiece (outlined as P1)
  2. 10 cm Above bin A (outlined as P2)
  3. At place to participate from bin A (outlined as P3)
  4. 10 cm Above bin B (outlined as P4)
  5. At place to participate from bin B. (outlined as P5)

Define program:

  1. Move to P1
  2. Move to P2
  3. Move to P3
  4. Close gripper
  5. Move to P2
  6. Move to P4
  7. Move to P5
  8. Open gripper
  9. Move to P4
  10. Move to P1 and end

For examples of how this could look in in style robot languages see industrial robot programming.


The American National Standard for Industrial Robots and Robot Systems — Safety Requirements (ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999) defines a singularity as “a condition caused by the collinear alignment of two or more robot axes resulting in unpredictable robot motion and velocities.” It is most typical in robot arms that make the most of a “triple-roll wrist”. This is a wrist about which the three axes of the wrist, controlling yaw, pitch, and roll, all move by a standard level. An instance of a wrist singularity is when the trail by which the robot is touring causes the primary and third axes of the robot's wrist (i.e. robot's axes 4 and 6) to line up. The second wrist axis then makes an attempt to spin 180° in zero time to keep up the orientation of the tip effector. Another widespread time period for this singularity is a “wrist flip”. The results of a singularity might be fairly dramatic and may have hostile results on the robot arm, the tip effector, and the method. Some industrial robot producers have tried to facet-step the state of affairs by barely altering the robot's path to stop this situation. Another technique is to sluggish the robot's journey pace, thus decreasing the pace required for the wrist to make the transition. The ANSI/RIA has mandated that robot producers shall make the consumer conscious of singularities in the event that they happen whereas the system is being manually manipulated.

A second sort of singularity in wrist-partitioned vertically articulated six-axis robots happens when the wrist middle lies on a cylinder that's centered about axis 1 and with radius equal to the gap between axes 1 and 4. This is known as a shoulder singularity. Some robot producers additionally point out alignment singularities, the place axes 1 and 6 turn into coincident. This is solely a sub-case of shoulder singularities. When the robot passes near a shoulder singularity, joint 1 spins very quick.

The third and final sort of singularity in wrist-partitioned vertically articulated six-axis robots happens when the wrist's middle lies in the identical aircraft as axes 2 and three.

Singularities are intently associated to the phenomena of gimbal lock, which has an identical root reason behind axes turning into lined up.

Market construction

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) examine World Robotics 2019, there have been about 2,439,543 operational industrial robots by the tip of 2017. This quantity is estimated to achieve 3,788,000 by the tip of 2021.[17] For the yr 2018 the IFR estimates the worldwide gross sales of business robots with US$16.5 billion. Including the price of software program, peripherals and programs engineering, the annual turnover for robot programs is estimated to be US$48.0 billion in 2018.[17]

China is the biggest industrial robot market, with 154,032 models offered in 2018.[17] China had the biggest operational inventory of business robots, with 649,447 on the finish of 2018.[18] The United States industrial robot-makers shipped 35,880 robot to factories within the US in 2018 and this was 7% greater than in 2017.[19]

The largest buyer of business robots is automotive trade with 30% market share, then electrical/electronics trade with 25%, metallic and equipment trade with 10%, rubber and plastics trade with 5%, meals trade with 5%.[17] In textiles, attire and leather-based trade, 1,580 models are operational.[20]

Estimated worldwide annual provide of business robots (in models):[17]

Year provide
1998 69,000
1999 79,000
2000 99,000
2001 78,000
2002 69,000
2003 81,000
2004 97,000
2005 120,000
2006 112,000
2007 114,000
2008 113,000
2009 60,000
2010 118,000
2012 159,346
2013 178,132
2014 229,261
2015 253,748
2016 294,312
2017 381,335
2018 422,271

Health and security

The International Federation of Robotics has predicted a worldwide enhance in adoption of business robots they usually estimated 1.7 million new robot installations in factories worldwide by 2020
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