Many companies today are automating their applications to hasten logistics, enhance productivity, and improve customer experience. As a result, industrial robotic arms are becoming popular among small and medium-sized organizations to accelerate repetitive tasks that humans handled previously.
Apart from boosting production and efficiency in the supply chain, industrial robots facilitate engineers without human input. As the technology evolves, more companies are implementing the industrial robot arm within their organizations. Studies suggest that industrial robot turnover will increase to over $30 billion by 2024, a more than 200% increase. Read on to learn more about the robotic arm.
Understanding Robotic Arm Basics
Robotic arms are programmable gadgets whose operations are similar to the human arm. The multiple parts that create the robot are especially joined together to allow the arm to rotate and execute linear motions.
A robotic hand is fixed as a robot extension at the end of the arm. In this case, the hands can take various forms like a claw, suction cup, or a gripper based on their intended function. These functions could be picking, transferring goods, assembly of parts, or even fastening.
Bill Griffith, an English engineer, developed the inaugural industrial robot model back in 1938. However, the technological competition between Japanese and US businesses would only gain momentum in the 1970s. These two nations were committed to transforming the industrial mass manufacturing industry with robotics. Today, numerous leading robot manufacturers are committed to developing advanced robotic arms to ease task execution in different industries.
Why would you Deploy an Industrial Robotic Arm in Your Organization?
Often, robotic arms come in handy to substitute or simulate human arm capabilities in the manufacturing and logistics industries. These units are entirely automated, meaning they execute similar tasks as human operators would. However, they can manage heavier loads faster without growing weary, as is the case with human operators.
Industrial robotic arms can operate without supervision, making them ideal for use in assembly lines. They can also be used in industries that require extreme accuracy, like the automotive and medical sectors. Other industrial robotic arm ripe industries are those requiring pick and place and movement of heavy loads. As an organization, you may want to automate your operations for various reasons, as seen below.
- Robots enhance operational throughput. Unlike human operators, these machines can engage in repetitive tasks without tiring or getting bored.
- Industrial robots are specially designed to run efficiently in production lines without harming human operators.
- They facilitate the optimization of complex procedures without human input
- Robots cut down manufacturing and workforce costs. While the initial investment costs may be high, robots give you an attractive return on investment in the long term.
- Robots guarantee operational viability in extreme situations. These machines will continue running even during extreme weather conditions and in restricted environments.
Understanding the Different Types of Robotic Arms
Robotic arms come in different types based on the products they handle, the movements they generate, and their operations. Remember, many robotic arms come with six joints bridging seven parts.
Often, most or even all of these parts are controlled by different stepper motors, and operated via a computer. This process guarantees accurate placement of the end effector section of the arm, also known as the hand, popularly used in many industrial functions.
The main difference between various types of robotic arms is their collaborative design and the range of functions and movements they can execute. The framework they are compatible with, and their foundation for an effective installation and eventual operation are crucial. Here are some of the most popular types in the market today.
Cartesian (gantry) Robotic Arms
These units are also known as a gantry or rectilinear robot arms. Their name is derived from the Cartesian coordinate system, developed in the 17th century to portray geometric curves into a graph by utilizing algebraic equations.
While these robotic arms may sound complex, their coordinates provide the popularly used X and Y axes and also the not-so-popular Z axe that appears in any graph nearly all the time. Cartesian robots comprise three articulating joints programmed with the X, Y, and Z coordinates to highlight linear motion in three sections across the three axes in robotic arm language.
Often, the wrist joint offers enhanced rotational functionality. These units leverage different linear actuators and motors to place an attachment or tool somewhere along the three-dimensional area. They also manipulate tools across varying linear motions to change between positions. They can be fixed vertically, horizontally, or overhead. Cartesian robotic arms are also ideal in numerous applications like picking and placing and machining parts, as well as across conveyor belts.
Cylindrical Robotic Arms
Unlike Cartesian robotic arms, the cylindrical versions’ axes feature a circular coordinate system. Their movements occur across a cylinder-shaped area as they move down, up, and around. These units are popularly used in assembly operations, handling parts in the tools, and spot-welding applications where the prismatic and rotary joints give it a linear and rotational motion.
Spherical/Polar Robotic Arms
The spherical robotic arms operate in a spherical workspace or a possible movement locus. Its operations are achieved via a collective rotational joint, linear joint, and two rotary joints. This robotic arm is linked to its foundation through a warped joint and the ensuing spherical workspace to execute the same roles as the cylindrical robotic arm.
Scara Robotic Arms
Scara (Selective Compliance Assembly/Articulated Robot Arm) is popularly used in pick and place and assembly applications. These units can withstand a limited amount of flexibility in the robotics context within some axes while being solid in others.
Often, Scara robotic arms are used in high technology manufacturing lines due to their selective compliance ability. Some level of flexibility is required in selected directions for some placement and assembly tasks. This capability facilitates the positioning of components into restricted spaces without damaging or binding any of the parts.
During the automation and installation of robotic arms, a logistics manager is tasked with choosing the ideal robotic arm type that meets the company’s needs. They should consider the layout of the warehouse, load type, flow of goods, and picking volume to select the ideal unit. While robots enhance operational efficiency, they should also guarantee employee safety.