Robotics is one of the hottest fields in the world, driving global economy. But what is robotics, really?
There are many and varied applications for robots nowadays, replacing humans in simple to highly complex actions. There are also intangible robots that are make out of mechanical parts, which are basically just software. Robotics is a multidisciplinary field that combines design, construction and building robots that independently operate according to information received from various sensors. After having defined the actions to be performed, the robot performs them on its own.
What is the definition of a robot? According to the standard definition, robot is an automatic mechanical being that takes over people in performing various tasks. The word Robot was first mentioned in the play by Czech playwriter, Karel Čapek, ‘Rosumovi Univerzální Roboti’ (Rossum’s Universal Robots).
The first robots were industrial ones that performed a sequence of preset actions in a monotonous order, without the ability to move. The first of them was designed in 1937 by Bill Griffith P. Taylor in the US. These robots replaced the workers and people in works defined as hard, repetitive, dirty, dangerous, or boring. The first patents in the field of robotics were submitted in 1954 by George Devol. In the 1970s and 1980s, robots began to quickly enter main industrial fields, through vehicle and electronics companies such as General Motors, General Electric, and many other Japanese companies. Nowadays, industrial robots are operational mainly in plants and production lines, as well as in the computers and hi-tech industry. In fact, it is almost impossible to imagine the cellphone and smartphone industry without the crucial contribution of quick and effective robots to the production processes of those small and complicated devices that are in everyone’s pockets.
Robotics combines several fields, such as:
• Machine engineering, including designing the parts of the robot, such as arms, axes, wheels, engines, controllers, and sensors.
• Electronics, including designing the electrical circuits and wiring the sensors.
• Software engineering, including programing the robot, and creating its “brains”, allowing it to react to various situations.
Which applications does the field of robotics have?
• Industry: one of the most common uses for incorporating robotics is in the field of industry. For example, vehicle manufacturing uses robotic arms to screw, weld, paint, package, assembly, dismantling, etc. Same goes for food production factories – using industrial robots to perform various actions such as wrapping, mobilizing etc.
• Medicine: the field of robotics have significantly effected health and medicine. For instance, robotic applications in medicine help surgeons in surgery, reduce tremors etc. by the robot’s high precision and accessibility. Due to the advancement of robotics, we can now perform operations with minimal invasiveness, back surgeries, neurosurgery (biopsies), urology surgeries and cardio surgery.
• Marine robotics: one of the most promising fields within robotics is that of marine robotics. For example: researching the ocean to produce gas or for security purposes.
• Police and military: for example, using robots to dispose of bombs and suspected charges.
• Domestic service: there are robots nowadays that help keep the house clean (such as iRobot).
• Space: there are tasks that could not be performed by people in space research, not even remotely operated since the signal takes a long time to travel between earth and the location in space. Tasks such as taking samples for researched planets.
• Entertainment: there are (very expensive) robots that can be purchased for entertainment, they can communicate and even show emotions.
1. None-Servo – can move objects and place them
2. Servo – flexible and advanced, capable of performing complex movements.
3. Programmed – capable of remembering tasks and perform them in order
4. Computer programmed – a remotely operated Servo robot.
Operating a robotic system
An electric engine, a hydraulic driver and a pneumatic actuator are the most common mechanisms for operating industrial robots. The electric motors tend to be the most efficient ones while using hydraulic drivers might prove problematic in terms of maintenance and safety. Using actuators is mainly for interaction with items and external aids.
Hardware and software
Programming and defining the actions of industrial robots is made by connecting a controller to a computer. It is, in fact, a type of console. The computer is equipped with an operation system that runs an interface program and the designated applications, allowing the programming to be made for each work or task. The computer operator inputs the location and process data, among other things. Using the right programming, you can “teach” the robot to perform new and more complicated tasks, according to the products or production processes, even if those change daily.
Applications and sales
Robots are being used in various industries to move and position processed parts, quickly and with great precision. These robots are equipped with multi-jointed arms that allow them to simulate the movement of a human arm, thus being a pivotal part of the automation process. As of late 2017, there are over 2.34 million industrial robots active around the world. This is expected to increase to 3.78 million by the end of 2021. China is currently the country with the largest industrial robots’ market in the world. Over 70% of sales in the robotics market end up in industrial superpowers such as China, Japan, South Korea, US and Germany. The automobile (30%) and electronics (25%) industries are the biggest clients in this field.
Main technical parameters in robotics:
1. Number of axes: not just the common three – length, width and depth (X,Y,Z), but also three additional ones that are called Yaw, Pitch and Roll.
2. Freedom level
3. Work envelope
5. Load / cargo baring
9. Return rate
10. Motion control
11. Power source
Automation Yeruham distributes a selection of various industrial robots in Israel, with four, six and sever axes systems that fit machine feeding, material transport and more. The models are characterized by a quick work rate, shorter work cycles and increased production.