Robotics is a term that is no longer alien to our everyday vocabulary; on the contrary, it has become so common that it attracts more and more young people.
It has been so relevant in a society that even preschool children know about it and manipulates robots.
In most responses, they describe what is related to machines with human characteristics and refer to robots they know from science fiction and the film industry.
It, as we know it today, has its origins thousands of years ago. However, facts recorded throughout history indicate that the name knew robots of automata in ancient times, and robotics was not recognized as a science. Moreover, the word robot arose long after the origin of the automata.
The notion of robotics implies a specific preconceived idea of a universal mechanical structure capable of adapting, like man, to very different types of actions, highlighting the characteristics of mobility, programming, autonomy, and multifunctionality to a greater or lesser degree.
However, it currently encompasses a wide range of devices with very diverse physical and functional features associated with their particular mechanical structure, their operational characteristics and the field of application for which they have been designed.
It is important to note that all these factors are closely related, in such a way that the configuration and behaviour of a robot determine its suitability for a given field of applications and vice versa, despite the inherent versatility of the robot concept itself.
Robotics application fields:
Injection casting was the first robotic process (1960). In this process, the material used, which is in a liquid state, is injected under pressure into a mould made up of two halves held together during the injection. The solidified part is extracted from the mould and cooled for its subsequent deburring.
In injection moulding, the robot can perform the following tasks:
The dangerousness and monotony of the loading and unloading operations of machines such as presses, stamping machines, ovens, or the possibility of using the same robot to transfer a part through different processing machines have led many companies having introduced robots in their workshops.
Loading or unloading operations are material handling operations in which the robot used to serve a production machine by transferring parts to/from the devices.
There are three cases within this category of application:
Machine Loading / Unloading: The robot loads a rough workpiece into the process and unloads an over the piece. An example of this case is a machining operation.
Machine Loading: The robot must load the raw workpiece to the machines’ materials, but the piece is extracted through another means. In a pressing operation, the robot can program load sheet metal into the press, but the finished parts fall out of the press by gravity.
Machine Unloading: The machine produces finished parts from raw materials that load directly into the device without robots’ aid. The robot unloads the domain from the device. Examples of this include die casting and plastic moulding applications.
In addition to part handling applications, there are many applications in which robots perform work directly on parts. This job generally requires the end effector of the robot to be a tool rather than a gripper.
Within this range of applications, the following stand out:
Spot Welding: This is a procedure in which two metal pieces weld in localized spots by passing a large electrical current through the welding works.
Continuous Arc Welding: Arc welding is an ongoing welding process instead of spot welding, which could be considered a discontinuous function. Continuous arc welding is used to get long joints or large welded joints in which a tight seal is often required between the two pieces of metal to be joined. The process uses a metal rod or wire-shaped electrode to deliver a high electrical current of 100 to 300 amps.
Application of Materials Painting: Most metallic materials require some form of paint finishing before delivery to the customer. The technology for applying these finishes varies in complexity, from simple manual methods to highly sophisticated automatic techniques.
Application of Adhesives and Sealants: In the automobile industry, robots frequently use to apply cords of sealant material or adhesives (window and windshield sealants, anti-corrosion material, etc.)
Deburring: It consists of removing burrs from metal or plastic parts, coming from a previous process such as casting, stamping, etc. The robotics carries a tool rendering to the request, which must follow the part’s contour, which involves many cases.
Cutting: The cutting of materials is a new and fascinating application. The robot’s reprogramming capacity and its integration into a CIM system make it ideal for transporting the cutting tool by precisely carrying out a previously defined cutting program through a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) system.
In addition to spot welding, arc welding, and those mentioned above, many other robotics applications use specialised tools as the end effector.
Some of these operations are:
There are sectors in which it is not necessary to achieve high productivity, where the tasks performed not repetitive. And there no detailed knowledge of the environment.
There is no possibility of systematizing and classifying the possible applications since they respond to isolated solutions to specific problems.
In general, the application of robotics to these sectors characterized by the lack of structure, both in the environment. And in the task to carry out, the little importance on economic profitability.
Lately, robotics are finding a large number of applications in laboratories. These effectively carry out repetitive tasks such as placing test tubes inside measuring instruments.
Robotics use to perform automated manual procedures. A typical sample preparation system consists of a robot and a lab station. It contains balances, dispensers, centrifuges, test tube racks, etc. The samples move from the robot’s laboratory station under the control of procedures of a program.
The manufacturers of these systems mention three advantages over manual operation:
Robotic technology found its first application in the nuclear industry to develop telemarketers to handle radioactive material: various remotely controlled robots and vehicles used for this purpose in places where catastrophe occur.
This robot class mostly equipped with sophisticated equipment to detect radiation levels, cameras. And even bring a mini-laboratory on board for testing. Among the various robotics applications, those of maintenance contaminate areas and waste handling stand out.
Inspection of a nuclear reactor’s steam generator tubes: Inspection and maintenance operations in the most polluted areas of a nuclear power plant are by nature long and expensive. In addition to being done manually, the exposure of the operators to radiation is a critical factor. Robotics implies a high cost due to the temporary interruption of the operation of the system.
Handling radioactive waste: The nuclear industry generates a considerable amount of radioactive waste of low contamination (clothing, paper-plastic containers) or high (remains of reactor cells, materials in direct contact with radioactive areas). The shape, size and weight of these waste are variable, and it is necessary to deposit them in special containers.
For this task, telemanipulators with mechanical connection controlled directly by an operator through a glass use or systems with remote control by radio or cable in the case of high contamination.
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