The use of robots started decades ago in the automotive industry and they are now found in many different industries globally. Even so, their use is still largely found in the automotive industry. Robots are instrumental in the production of any kind of product today. Working with collaborative robots is easy to do as they are easy to work around and with.
In the past, manufacturers in the automotive industry had to put out cameras that would pick up every detail during production. As such, you’d find that one station had about 1- to 12 cameras. Cameras can be and are costly.
Fast forward to the present, where robots have infiltrated the automotive industry. When using cobots here, you will find that each is a camera that can move at all angles. That way, all areas needing inspection are covered by that single camera.
Benefits of robots/cobots in the automotive industry
Cobots don’t need the traditional fencing as was with conventional robots, which shows just how safe they are to work around. That is why you will find that most have been integrated to work alongside the human employee.
These robots are also compact/small and thus do not take up too much space. What’s more, they do not need to go on short breaks or holidays and can work round-the-clock. The best part is that robots excel when it comes to often performing dull and repetitive tasks. They even do this without compromising on quality.
Recent robotic advancements made.
The world of robots is experiencing an evolution from expensive, complex, and giant industrial robots to safer, more minor, and inexpensive systems. The new robots will resemble humans and be well equipped to handle tasks previously assigned to humans.
Modern robot systems also benefit from advancements made in AI (artificial intelligence). These advanced AI systems make it possible for robots to operate in an autonomous way by making decisions based on encountered situations.
Types of robotic arms
Robotic arms are any in the current market. Each arm comes with core functions and abilities that make a given robotic arm more suitable for a specific industrial environment or role.
Most robotic arms come with about six joints which are connected to seven sections. Most of these joints are computer-controlled and driven by different stepper motors. This is what makes it possible for the robotic arm to have fantastic precise hand positioning.
For the most part, the significant difference between various robotic arms is how their joints have been made to articulate. Also, they function and move in different ways when performing a task. Another difference is the framework type these robotic arms support and the footprint they need for operation and installation.
Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used automotive robots arms in the automotive industry:
- Gantry/Cartesian robotic arm
Also known as gantry or rectilinear robotic arms, these mechanical arms derive their name from the Cartesian coordinate system. These coordinates are what now give us the X, Y, and Z axes system. As such, the Cartesian robotic arm comes with three articulating joints programmed with the X, Y and Z coordinates in mind. The robot also comes with a wrist joint providing more rotational functionality.
This robot can be mounted in overhead, vertical or horizontal way. That is one of the reasons why you will find it being used in pick & place lines on conveyor belts, among other places.
- Cylindrical robotic arm
These are robotic arms that have a cylindrical coordinate system. This means their movement is programmed to take place in a cylindrical space. That is why this arm is mainly used in assembly operations and handling of machine tools.
- Spherical/polar robotic arm
This robotic arm also functions in a spherical work envelope. They are able to make spherical movements via the linear joint, two rotary joints, and a rotational joint. This robotic arm is also connected to its base through a twisty joint.
Since this robot has access to a spherical workspace, the roles it can perform are like those of a cylindrical robotic arm, i.e., arc welding, die casting, spot welding, and machine tool handling.
SCARA robot arms
The Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm is a robotic arm that is more commonly used in pick & place applications. They are able to tolerate ‘compliance’ up to a specific degree while also being rigid in other situations.
SCARA is also primarily found in modern production lines, and thanks to their selective compliance, they are most ideal for such production lines. The reason is, some placemen and assembly tasks require some tolerance in a given direction while others don’t.
Uses of robotic arms
Different robotic arms are used in various manufacturing plants. In each case, choosing the correct programmable robotic arm should involve consideration of the intended task. Some uses of robotic arms include:
- Loading: Robotic arms, some with load capacities, and the number consistently exceeds the payload’s total weight. Different robotic arms are supported by diverse designed frameworks, decreasing or increasing the available load capacity. This -load capacity must balance with the physical footprint and placement considered.
- Orientation: This is a criterion defined by the mounting and footprint positioning of the arm. Moreover, how well it will fit when placed in a space that has other equipment. Its orientation is what will determine the placement of the robotic arm.
- Speed: Robotic arms come with a manufacturer’s speed rating more-so for long-distance acceleration speed.
- Travel: There are some robots whose accuracy and tolerance can be altered in cases where arm deflection is needed. If a job requires long travel between work area and payloads, you will be able to know which robotic arm you need to use.
Robotic arms are most suitable for consistent, repetitive operations and demand high accuracy levels. They are also ideal for situations where human workers might have difficulty performing safely. One thing remains true; robotic arms are reliable, accurate, and fast. They can also be programmed collectively to achieve an infinite range of operations.