Due to better algorithms and stronger processors, robots are now more efficient than ever before. As a result, many manufacturing tasks that were previously tedious or dangerous for humans to perform are being replaced by robots. Industrial robots like the SCARA robot, Delta robot, and other types allow manufacturers to boost their productivity while cutting costs, among many other benefits.
What is Industrial Robotics?
Industrial robots are programmable mechanical devices that carry out tasks within manufacturing settings. They are designed to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks in place of human workers. Most robots used in industrial settings are jointed structures that can take on many different configurations and operate with extreme accuracy.
In contrast to other types of robotics, industrial robots specialize in assembly line production. They have been developed to perform a multitude of strenuous tasks associated with manufacturing. While their characteristics vary according to the needs of each manufacturer, industrial robots are typically large, heavy, and placed in fixed positions within industrial plants.
Making an industrial robot requires a multitude of parts, including cables, grippers, guarding, small parts, and many other components. Computer programs executed by a controller drive industrial robots through a sequence of movements to perform their required tasks. The controller turns on the joint actuators, and signals from the joint sensors are returned to the controller for feedback purposes.
Types of Robots
Many types of robots are used in industrial settings. As a robotic system design and integration expert, Big Sky Engineering can help you understand your automation options and select the best solution for your needs. The different types of robots used in industrial environments include:
5- and 6-axis robotic arms provide speed and repeatability to diverse material handling applications. They are able to reach into deep, narrow spaces, or around tooling without interfering with peripheral equipment. Typically more flexible and adaptable than SCARA, these robots deliver high performance in packaging, inspection, and palletizing operations, among other uses. They can be wall-mounted, conventionally mounted, or attached upside down.
SCARA stands for Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm. SCARA robots feature two parallel joints that move along an X-Y plane and rotating shafts positioned vertically at the effector. SCARA robots are used in applications that require precise lateral movement and are especially well-suited for assembly applications.
Also referred to as a parallel robot, a delta robot has three arms that connect to a single base. This type of robot works in a dome shape, moving precisely and delicately even at high speeds. All three arms directly control the joint of the end effector. Delta robots are most commonly used for quick pick-and-place applications in industries like food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and electronics.
A gantry robot, otherwise known as a linear or cartesian robot, is an automated industrial system that moves along three linear axes (X, Y, and Z), giving it a three-dimensional cubic envelope of working space. Its top-down working space includes two linear paths that meet at right angles to create the working plane, or X-Y plane. When you add the third axis, or Z-axis, a depth is created that the end-of-arm tool can operate inside the cubical envelope.
Cartesian robots are popular due to the number of tasks they are able to perform. They feature adjustable speed, precision, size, and stroke length. The most common applications for these robots are in 3D printing operations or with CNC machines.
Benefits of Industrial Robots
In today’s competitive global marketplace, improving productivity and cost efficiency is more important than ever. Since industrial robots are capable of non-stop production and do not need to be closely monitored, they can significantly increase operational output and reduce lead times. In addition, because industrial robotics are designed with flexibility in mind, manufacturers can easily reposition, retool, and redeploy robots to carry out new functions. This level of system flexibility is particularly useful in mixed-volume production environments.
No matter what your industry, adopting flexible automation solutions can help you stay ahead of your competition. Businesses that incorporate industrial robots into their assembly lines also enjoy an excellent ROI due to fewer wasted materials, reduced workplace injuries, and the elimination of production inefficiencies. Some other key benefits of industrial robotics include:
- Enhanced product quality. While human workers make occasional mistakes, industrial robots execute tasks without any variability.
- Advanced data analytics. Most industrial robotics are equipped with vision technology and track detailed production data that is then uploaded to analytics applications.
- Gained floor space. Robots can be mounted on walls, ceilings, or compact, mobile bases for repositioning capabilities.
- Freeing workers to perform higher-value tasks. When robots perform tedious tasks, human workers can provide more valuable contributions that require strategy and expertise.
- Improved customer satisfaction. Reduced product variation ensures customers receive the quality they expect. Robotics also allows new products to be rolled out as quickly as possible.
Applications of Industrial Robots
Since industrial robots are highly programmable, there are numerous tasks they can perform. At Big Sky Engineering, we can help you implement a robotic solution for virtually any task. Some of the most common applications our industrial robots perform include:
- Arc Welding
- Spot Welding
- Materials Handling
- Machine Tending
- Picking, Packing, and Palletizing
- Mechanical Cutting, Grinding, Deburring, and Polishing
- Gluing, Adhesive Sealing, and Spraying Materials
The robotics used in many of these applications, such as welding and materials handling, have been developed to protect human workers from dangerous tasks. In other applications, such as painting and mechanical cutting, robotics are valuable due to their perfect execution. No matter what benefits you’re looking to achieve from incorporating robotic technology, Big Sky Engineering can help you find the perfect solution.
Industrial Robotics From Big Sky Engineering
At Big Sky Engineering, we create flexible automation solutions using the most advanced robotic technology. Whether you need a solution for robotic palletizing, conveyor systems, or another application, our team can create a superior system that addresses all of your requirements. To learn more about our industrial robotics, contact our team or request a quote today.