Do you know what is the best advantage of having an industrial robot? It’s not just the fact that it is more efficient, but also that it won’t take leaves! Think about it – your workforce might need a holiday, but your robot does not. Moreover, if everyone out there knows how to use it, things can be managed when a few of your labourers are absent.
There’s no doubt about the fact that these robots have drastically reduced the need for manpower to manufacture goods. Yet, if I would look from the owner’s point of view, your fixed costs will also reduce, which eventually makes the cost of goods cheaper.
What is an Industrial Robot?
We all know what a robot is – any machine that can sense, think, interpret and act like a human with the aid of programming and artificial intelligence. An industrial robot will be one that is specifically designed to manufacture goods in a factory.
These are all automated robots that can move flexibly to facilitate production. They have at least 3 or more axes for doing so.
You have different types of industrial robots that can perform different functions. For example, you have one type of robot that is programmed to only paint products. Another can simply assemble goods. For both these jobs, that is painting and assembling, you’ll need 2 different robots.
Types of Industrial Robots and Their Uses
Based on the flexibility with which a robot can perform, following are the different types of industrial robots you can buy:
This is a linear robot that works on 3 axes perpendicular to each other. These robots are usually convenient for operating drawing, milling, CNC and 3D printing machines. Additionally, you can also use them for lifting heavy objects and placing them at the right place for product assembling.
So, these robots have a very simple function of transferring objects from one place to another. If you’re working with heavy or hazardous raw materials, using these robots will prove to be much better and safer than hiring manpower.
Following are the features of a cartesian robot:
- Can take a load up to 500 kg
- Cost less
- Work with precision
- Have the ability of self-learning
Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm or SCARA is a robot that mostly moves vertically. It is a 4-axes robot and works faster than a cartesian robot. Mostly, you can use them for assembly and material handling.
Some of its features include:
- Work precisely in tasks that have to be repeated
- More flexible than cartesian robots
- Has a simple structure and configuration
- Efficient for material handling and assembly
- Can lift up to 20 kg
These are robots which have 2 or more rotary joints that enables it to move flexibly. They look very similar to a human arm. They are some of the most flexible industrial robots you’ll find, some of them having even 10 or more axes. The most common articulated robot would be an industrial robotic arm, a 6-axes robot that looks and moves very much like a human arm.
Their applications include assembly, machine loading, packaging, arc welding, lifting and placing materials, transferring parts and palletizing. A lot of them can perform more than one of these tasks too.
Features of an articulated robot are:
- Can lift objects up to 2 tonnes
- Most of them have more than 6 axes
- Can be used for multiple tasks like welding, painting, machine loading and material handling
Various Task-Specific Industrial Robots
Among the various types of robots mentioned above, most of them are designed for some very specific functions. These include:
As the name clearly suggests, these are robots specially programmed for painting objects. They are mostly used in vehicle manufacturing factories for applying spray paint on the models.
Not only does this speed-up the process of painting a car, but it also increases safety in the factory as these spray paints are harmful for humans otherwise.
Construction is one industry that hires a lot of manpower. However, today there are plenty of robots that can replace many of them. Or, you may say it makes work easier for whoever you’re hiring in your workforce because all they have to do is operate the robot.
You have remote controlled as well as autonomous vehicles that can demolish sites, lift heavy objects and place them in the right place. Many are also programmed for laying bricks, building bridges and large buildings.
One of the key line of functions involved in manufacturing is assembling materials. There are plenty of robots designed for this purpose. Mostly, you have robotic arms with 6 or more axes that can lift objects and place them in the right place.
They’re used in almost all kinds of factories, especially in automobile industries, electronics manufacturing and production of household appliances.
Most of the robots that we’ve learnt about – the robotic arm, assembly robot, painting robot and many more – all can be used in the automotive industry. This is one industry which involves transferring and assembling of heavy objects as well as painting them with sprays that have many chemicals.
Robots that are specially designed for the automotive industry usually have “eyes” that make them more efficient and automated. There’s very little controlling needed for these robots.
From Where Can You Buy an Industrial Robot?
There are plenty of industrial robot manufacturers out there who use their own technology to improve your efficiency in producing goods. I’ll be talking about 3 such big companies who are well known in the world for producing factory robots:
This is a German company manufacturing industrial robots since 1898. You can look for a Kuka robot based on the what work you want it to do. These include:
- Applying glue
- Arc welding
- Separating materials
- Material handling
- Machine loading
- Laser welding
- Transporting materials
- Spot welding
- Press linking
This is an American subsidiary of a Japanese company, Yaskawa Electronic Corporation. You’ll find plenty of applications and functions in a Motoman robot too. Including the functions performed by Kuka robots, these also help you with:
- Working in clinical labs
- Metal forming
- Machine tending
Found in 2004, this robotics company is present in Canada and India. If you’re looking for a self-driving vehicle, a hi-tech robot will be your best choice. Apart from that, they also have robots for factories and warehouses for moving and handling materials.
Which Industrial Robot is Right for You?
We’ve come across the various types of factory robots you can buy, some specific functions that they all perform and manufacturers that provide you with this highly-efficient machinery. The following factors will help you determine which type of robots you can buy:
The Goods You’re Manufacturing: If you have an automotive industry, you’ll need the best articulated automotive robots. On the other hand, if you are making plastic toys using a CNC machine, you can have a cartesian or SCARA robot, depending on the weight of the objects it will lift.
The Tasks You Want Them to Perform: To start with, you can get an industrial robot for any one purpose – perhaps lifting heavy objects. In that case, you’ll need a robotic arm that can take the weight of your objects. Usually, a multi-purpose robot is more convenient than having one that does very specific tasks.
Budget: A cartesian robot is the cheapest, followed by SCARA and articulated robots. However, when you set your budget, you need to be practical too as you cannot use a SCARA robot for construction or a cartesian robot for welding.
Are You Ready to Take a Step Forward?
There’s no doubt about the fact that with an industrial robot you can multiply your production levels drastically. It reduces your cost of production, increases safety in the workplace and ensures results with greater precision and guarantee.
Would you not start with at least one in your factory?