1) Introduction to Robotic Arms
What are the robots?
The term robot may seem like a complicated thing to many people; however, the term robot simply refers to a machine that is usually programmable by a computer. This programmable machine is capable of automatically carrying out various different complex series of actions. Robots can sometimes be controlled and guided by other external means such as drones. Robots are also widely used for repetitive tasks (in for example car manufacturing companies such as TESLA). Robots are extremely important and almost vital in our modern day lives, and this explains their wide use in various different fields and domains. These programmable machines can be used in the following areas:
- Industrial Application: especially in the field of mass production in order to fasten the process of manufacturing and fabrication, big companies use robots and robotic arms instead of human workers.
- Medical Application: there are plenty of surgeons and doctors that use robots in order to perform complex Surgeries and operations.
- Military Field: These are certain robots that are used for military purposes such as drones and landmine detection.
- Bionics: as one of the most advanced and complicated fields in the whole world, bionics requires the use of robots and programmable machines.
What are Robotic Arms?
A robotic arm is simply a programmable mechanical arm that is very similar to a human arm in terms of the functionality and sometimes even looks. The robotic arm is the combination of various other smaller mechanisms and sub-assemblies. The manipulators and links are usually connected by joints that allow either the translational movement, also known as linear displacement or rotational motion. Robotic arms can be used for various different types of applications and tasks such as:
- Car Production: due to the rapid advancement of technology and the increase of competition especially in the automotive domain, robots and robotic arms are being used and adopted by various car-manufacturing companies such as BMW and TESLA.
- Packaging: big companies that do packaging of manufactured goods use Robotic Arms in order to facilitate and ease the packing process.
- Electronics: mass-produced PCBs (Printed circuit board) are manufactured using robotic arms in order to speed up the process of manufacturing.
2) Types of Robotic Arms
There are various types of robotic arms, and they can be classified and defined based on certain aspects and factors such as:
- Number of Axis: there are robotic arms that only require two axes in order to reach a point.
- Degrees of Freedom: some robotic arms can be categorized based on the degrees of freedom.
- Application: Robotic arms can also be classified based on the tasks and applications that they carry out or their field of use (such as medical field, automobile field…).
- Accuracy: not all robotic arms have the same accuracy; those who do have excellent accuracy are classified as high-end robots.
- Power source: there are usually two types of power source for robots, either electric motors or hydraulics.
However robotic arms are not always classified in this manner. Commonly, mechanical arms are also classified according to their movements in the following five categories:
- Jointed arm
3) Top largest Robotic Arms
The FANUC M-2000iA is a robotic arm that is mostly used in automated storage and retrieval systems the rigid arm design has a payload of 900 KG and vertical lifting stroke of 6.2 meters for transforming extremely heavy loads such as cars, vehicles and even trucks. This robot uses iRVision in order to read the 2D barcode, and then transforms the load to a large warehouse. FANUC M-2000iA has the highest payload, capable of supporting up to 1350 KG.
APEX Automation and Robotics
The APEX automation and robotics Company has produced a robotic arm that is considered to be one of the biggest Robotic Arms in the world. The APEX Robot collects and palletizes mine bolts with a speed rate of up to 1000 bolts per hour.
The great YASKAWA Company produces one of the largest and advanced robotic arms in the world. GP400R is a powerful Shelf Mounted Multi-Purpose Robot that is mostly used for the lifting of extremely heavy loads, and other important tasks applications such as Material Cutting, Material Handling and Press Tending. This high-performance robot has the capability of lifting loads of up to 400 KG. Thanks to its long arm, GP400R has a horizontal reach of up to 3,518 mm and a stunning vertical reach of up to almost 5,000 mm. The sheer size and high performance of this advanced robotic arm make it not only one of the largest robots in the world but also one of the most advanced mechanical arms in the whole world.
ABB has designed one of the largest and greatest robotic arms. IRB 8700 is a high-performance robust robot that requires low overall maintenance needs. IRB 8700 is made by non-hazardous materials. The robot IRB 8700 has a lifting capacity of a whopping 1000 KG with the wrist down. This makes the IRB 8700 one of the largest and strongest robotic arms ever built.
Robotic arms and robots, in general, are extremely important and necessary in our modern society. Car manufacturing companies rely on them, PCB manufacturing companies rely on them, even many hospitals around the globe rely on robotic arms in order to perform complex operations and surgeries. That’s why some doctors and engineers think of robotic arms as one of the main tools vital in almost any domain. Whether industrial or medical, it is evident that robots have brought a lot of benefits to the table.