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Robots In Manufacturing


Dr.AIT, Bangalore

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Robots In Manufacturing

When one first hears the word robot, the image that probably comes to mind is that of a mobile biped that is both humanoid in structure & capable of independent actions. The word ROBOT was used in 1921 by the Czech playwright, novelist, & essayist Karel Capek in his satirical drama entitled R.U.R (Rossums Universal Robots).It is derived from the Czech word ROBOTA, which literally means forced laborer or slave laborer. A robot can be defined as a programmable, self controlled device consisting of electronic, electrical, or mechanical units. The motion of robots or robot-like automates can be traced back to medieval times. Although people of that era didnt have a term to describe what we would eventually call a robot, they were nevertheless imagining mechanisms that could perform human like tasks. A Robot is both automated and intelligent. A robot used in industry does not need to resemble a human, normally those used in industry only need a single human type part, the most common part used is the arm. These manipulative arms are used for painting, simple assembly, or solder electronic components to circuit boards, even highly precise lead soldering to the die of the microprocessor. Other important uses of robotic arms are to release satellites & to grab satellites out of orbit in the space shuttle. Testing Laboratories use some of the most interesting types of robotic devices to simulate repetitive use of products & test a wide range of products for durability. One of the most important components in a robotic device is the sensor units, without them the robot would not know where to begin or end. Robotics is an applied engineering science that has been referred to as combination of machine tool technology & computer science. It includes such seemingly diverse fields as machine design, control theory, microelectronics, computer programming, artificial intelligence, human factors, & production theory. Advancements in technology will enlarge the scope of the industrial applications of robots. Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 2

Robots In Manufacturing

To describe the technology of a robot, we must define a variety of technical features about the way the robot is constructed & the way it operates. Robots work with sensors, tools & grippers, these terms must be defined. To perform this entire task the programming of robots is essential & accomplished in several ways. Safety around robots is very good, arguably better than the general run of industrial risks. This is largely due to soundly developed standards conscientiously followed and carefully engineered controls hardware, tooling and material handling. The remaining safety gains will be achieved by recognizing and overcoming human failings, in particular haste, bad work habits and lack of supervision. ISO definition of a Robot: An industrial robot is officially defined by ISO as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. The field of industrial robotics may be more practically defined as the study, design and use of robot systems for manufacturing. A typical industrial robot is fixed in position and consists principally of a powerful multi-jointed mechanical arm that is nearly as flexible as a human arm and that can be programmed to carry out intricate manipulations of components large and small.


Industrial robots exhibit varying degrees of autonomy Robots are programmed to do specific actions over & over again without variation & with a high degrees of accuracy. Other industrial robots are much more flexible as to the orientation of the object on which they are operating or even the task that has to be performed on the object itself, which the robot may even need to identify. Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 3

Robots In Manufacturing Reduced scrap rate. Increased quality & quantity. Reduced man power.


Robotics is a sophisticated technology and the successful implementation of this technology in industry is a formidable management problem as well as a technical problem. We describe the approach for implementing robotics in terms of a logical sequence of steps that a company would want to follow in order to implement a robotics program in its operations. The steps in the approach are the following: Initial familiarization with the technology Plant survey to identify potential applications Selection of the applications Selection of the robot Detailed economic analysis & capital authorization Planning & engineering the installation Installation Control over production Safety management

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Robots In Manufacturing


Typical industrial robots do jobs that are difficult, dangerous or dull. They lift heavy objects, paint, handle chemicals, and perform assembly work. They perform the same job hour after hour, day after day with precision. They don't get tired and they don't make errors associated with fatigue and so are ideally suited to performing repetitive tasks. The major categories of industrial robots by mechanical structure are:

Cartesian robot /Gantry robot: Used for pick and place work, application of sealant, assembly operations, handling machine tools and arc welding. It's a robot whose arm has three prismatic joints, whose axes are coincident with a Cartesian coordinator.

Cylindrical robot: Used for assembly operations, handling at machine tools, spot welding, and handling at die-casting machines. It's a robot whose axes form a cylindrical coordinate system.

Spherical/Polar robot: Used for handling at machine tools, spot welding, diecasting, fettling machines, gas welding and arc welding. It's a robot whose axes form a polar coordinate system.

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Robots In Manufacturing

SCARA robot: Used for pick and place work, application of sealant, assembly operations and handling machine tools. It's a robot which has two parallel rotary joints to provide compliance in a plane.

Articulated Robot: Used for assembly operations, die-casting, fettling machines, gas welding, arc welding and spray painting. It's a robot whose arm has at least three rotary joints.

Parallel robot: One use is a mobile platform handling cockpit flight simulators. It's a robot whose arms have concurrent prismatic or rotary joints.

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Robots In Manufacturing


Industrial robots have the following four major components:

1. Manipulator: This is a collection of mechanical linkages connected by joints to form an open-loop kinematics chain. Also included are gears, coupling devices, & so on. The manipulator defined by the joint-link structure generally contains three main structural elements: the arm, the wrist, & the hand.

2. The sensory devices: These elements inform the robot controller about the status of the manipulator. This can be done continuously or only at the end of a desired motion Sensors used in modern robots can be divided into two general classes: Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 7

Robots In Manufacturing Non-visual Visual

The first group includes limit switches (e.g., proximity, photoelectric, etc), position sensors (e.g., optical encoders, potentiometers, etc), velocity sensors (e.g., tachometers). The second group consists of vidicon, charge-coupled device (CCD), or charge injection device (CID) TV cameras coupled to appropriate imagedetection hardware. They are used for tracking, object recognition

3. Power Sources: a. Energy is provided to various robot actuators and their controllers as pneumatic, hydraulic, or electrical power. The robot's drives are usually mechanical combinations powered by these types of energy, and the selection is usually based upon application requirements. For example, pneumatic power (low-pressure air) is used generally for low weight carrying robots. b. Hydraulic power transmission (high-pressure oil) is usually used for medium to high force or weight applications, or where smoother motion control can be achieved than with pneumatics. Consideration should be given to potential hazards of fires from leaks if petroleum-based oils are used. c. Electrically powered robots are the most prevalent in industry. Either AC or DC electrical power is used to supply energy to electromechanical motordriven actuating mechanisms and their respective control systems. Motion control is much better, and in an emergency an electrically powered robot can be stopped or powered down more safely and faster than those with either pneumatic or hydraulic power.

4. Control systems: Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 8

Robots In Manufacturing Either auxiliary computers or embedded microprocessors are used for practically all control of industrial robots today. These perform all of the required computational functions as well as interface with and control associated sensors, grippers, tooling, and other associated peripheral equipment. The control system performs the necessary sequencing and memory functions for on-line sensing, branching, and integration of other equipment. Programming of the controllers can be done on-line or at remote off-line control stations with electronic data transfer of programs by cassette, floppy disc, or telephone modem. Self-diagnostic capability for troubleshooting and maintenance greatly reduces robot system downtime. Some robot controllers have sufficient capacity, in terms of computational ability, memory capacity, and input-output capability to serve also as system controllers and handle many other machines and processes. Programming of robot controllers and systems has not been standardized by the robotics industry; therefore, the manufacturers use their own proprietary programming languages which require special training of personnel.


Robots in manufacturing can be divided into seven categories, namely 1. Material transfer 2. Machine loading 3. Processing operation Welding Spray coating Other applications

4. Assembly 5. Inspection Material transfer: Material transfer applications are those in which the robot is used to move the work parts from one location to another. Material transfer applications are Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 9

Robots In Manufacturing often the easiest and most straight forward of robot applications. These require low level of technological sophistication. But in some situations the motion pattern becomes some what complicated such as in palletizing. Here the robot must perform tasks such as stacking multiple layers and handling fragile objects. Some of the applications include: 1. Simple pick and place operation. 2. Transfer of work parts from one conveyor to another conveyor. 3. Palletizing operations, in which the robots takes parts from a conveyor and loads onto a pallet. Machine loading: Machine loading includes operations in which the robot is required to supply a production machine with work parts and to unload finished parts from the machine. Some of the common operations where robots have been implemented to perform machine loading or unloading include the following: 1. Die casting 2. Injection molding 3. Hot forging 4. Stamping press Welding: The welding processes are a very important application area for industrial robots. The applications are divided into two basic categories: 1. Spot welding 2. Arc welding Spot welding: It is a process in which metal parts are fused together at localized points by passing a large electric current through two parts at the point of contact. The electrodes in the form of tongs can be easily mounted on the robot end effectors. The welding gun is placed at the desired location against the two pieces to be welded. When the current is applied to cause heating and fusion of two surfaces in contact weld is formed. Release and cool the welded surface. The robots used are generally huge with big welding guns which are too cumbersome for humans to handle. Five to six axes are required to achieve the required positioning and orientation. A point to point control system is used for this application. Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 10

Robots In Manufacturing Arc welding: continuous arc welding us used to provide continuous strong welds. It can be used to make air tight pressure vessels and other weldments in which strength is required. Arc welding produces harmful UV rays which are harmful to the eyes of the operator. Also high electric current and intense heat poses a hazard for the operator. A good co ordination is required by the operator for providing a good weld. This leads to worker fatigue. Hence robotic automation is employed where it is economically and technically feasible. Generally the robot is of two or more degrees of freedom and is equipped with fixtures for gripping the welding tool and wire feed mechanism. It must have a continuous path controller. It is costlier than the spot welding robot. Spray painting: It involves the application of a paint fluid directly on the object by dispersing it through a nozzle. The main hazards to humans include noxious fumes in air, risk of flash fires and noise from the spray gun nozzle. Hence robots are used on a very wide scale. The robot end effector is equipped with a nozzle accomplishes the smooth painting sequences. Jointed arm robots are most commonly used in these applications. Advantages include greater uniformity in paint finish, reduced wastage of paint and lower need of ventilation. Other applications: 1. Drilling, routing, and other machining processes. 2. Grinding 3. Water jet cutting 4. Laser cutting Assembly: Assembly involves the addition of two or more parts to form a new entity called a subassembly. The new subassembly is made secure by fastening two or more parts together using mechanical fastening techniques or joining process. The most appealing application of industrial robots for assembly is where a mixture of similar products or models is produced in the same work cell or assembly line. Examples of these kinds of products include electric motors, small appliances, and various other small mechanical and electrical products. Industrial robots used for the types of assembly operation described here are typically small, with light load capacities. In addition to the robot itself, the Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 11

Robots In Manufacturing requirements of the end effector are often demanding. The end effector may have to perform multiple functions at a single workstation to reduce the number of robots required in the cell. These multiple functions can include handling more than one part geometry and performing both as a gripper and an automatic assembly tool. Inspection: There is often a need in automated production and assembly systems to inspect the work that is supposed to be done. These inspections accomplish the following functions: (1) Making sure that a given process has been completed, (2) Ensuring that parts have been added in assembly as specified (3) Identifying flaws in raw materials and finished parts. Inspection tasks performed by robots can be divided into the following two cases: 1. The robot performs loading and unloading tasks to support an inspection or testing machine. The robot picks parts that enter the cell, loads and unloads them to carry out the inspection process, and places them at the cell output. In some cases, the inspection may result in parts sorting that must be accomplished by the robot. Depending on the quality level, the robot places the parts in different containers or on different exit conveyors. 2. The robot manipulates an inspection device, such as a mechanical probe, to test the product. This case is similar to a processing operation in which the end effector attached to the robots wrist is the inspection probe. To perform the process, the part must be presented at the workstation in the correct position and orientation, and the robot manipulates the inspection device as required.

There are two aspects of the safety issue in robotics. The first deals with the justification of robots. Historically one of the fundamental reasons for using robots in industrial applications is to remove human operators from potentially hazardous in the Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 12

Robots In Manufacturing workplace include heat, noise, fumes, and other discomforts, physical

dangers(potential injuries or even loss of limbs), radiation, toxic atmospheres, & other health hazards. The problem of removing or reducing these hazardous from the workplace has provided one of the important justification for industrial robots in applications such as welding, forging, spray painting, and die casting. Since the occupational safety & health act (OSHA) was enacted in 1971, worker safety has become a significant factor in promoting the substitution of robots for human labor in these kinds of dangerous jobs. The second aspect of the safety issue involves the potential hazards to humans posed by the robot itself. The use of robots presents a new set of possible dangers to the human worker for which precautions must be taken. There are three occasions when humans are close enough to the machine to be exposed to danger. These are: During programming of the robot During operation of the robot cell when humans work in the cell During maintenance of the robot

The types of risks encountered during these times include physical injury from collision between the human and robot, electric shock, objects(parts or tools) dropped from the robot gripper , and loose power cables or hydraulic lines on the floor. Some of these risks can be reduced with straight forward safety measures such as: Proper grounding of electrical cables to prevent shock. Raised floor platforms to cover power cables and hydraulic lines. Emergency stop is to be provided for all modes of operation. Motors should be protected from overloading. Sensing of high motor temperature in the robots must lead to stop of the operation.

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Robots In Manufacturing Collision between objects of the robots must be sensed by the sensors & it should avoid the collision it is known as obstacle avoidance. Heating up of the microprocessor or microcontroller should shut of the operation. Physical barriers should be provided to limit intrusion into work cell

Safety is an important issue in robotics as it should be in any automated production system. As previously indicated, one of the important social objectives of robots and other forms of automation is to remove humans from unsafe & uncomfortable working conditions. It would be counterproductive to this objective if the robot work cell itself proved to be unsafe during those infrequent occasions when humans must enter.

CASE STUDY ON ROBOTICS IN MANUFACTURING 1. Less time and efficient material handling: At Otis Spunkmeyer improper handling of muffins as they were being depanned from the oven was resulting in damage to the final product. The customer needed to improve handling quality while increasing handling speed. As the muffins are depanned they are conveyed to the packaging areas where two robotic pick-and-place machines are located. Three muffins are picked at a time by each robot and placed into plastic trays. The plastic trays are traveling on a conveyor alongside the muffin conveyor for a smooth operation. The movements are gentle so the muffins are not damaged and operations can handle up to 180 muffins per minute. The robot relies on Adept's integrated vision system to locate each muffin and relay its position and orientation to the controller that guides the robot to the exact location enabling it to pick up the product. The robot is controlled by an Adept MV-Controller that automatically adjusts the speed of the robot and conveyer for accuracy.

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Robots In Manufacturing

2. Solves labor shortage: Every time Minco manufacturers hire a new operator they go through a learning curve. Unfortunately, sometimes as soon as a new operator is up to speed, he leaves the company and they start all over again. Minco manufactures 260,000 fuser rollers per month to precise specifications. Robots keep labor costs down allowing Minco to compete internationally. By using robots and reducing labor costs here, they can compete with companies that make parts in China, for example. 3. Precision makes tight fit

Robots are not new to Minco's operation.

They have been using robots to load and unload parts between lathe centers. In their end finishing process, they have to load the part 10 inches deep into the draw tube. They tried it with their older version robots, but the accuracy was not good enough because it is a tight fit. Minco bought just two Staubli RX130 robots in May 2001. They did not want to make a wholesale jump into it until they could prove that it would work. The test was successful, so Minco installed 10 more robots in the fall and now they overcame the obstacles and can load that end finishing process with the robot. 4. Saves one lathe and 50% space: Staubli robots are used in work cells that finish the ends and surface of the rollers. One cell consists of three robots and five lathes normally, when the robots are running, the only human participation in this performance is the worker who stages raw material, removes full transfer totes of parts from the cell and performs quality checks. With the Staubli robots, once they get them set up, they just run. That frees up the operator to do inspections and move parts in and out of the cell, instead of having all these people loading lathes for 10 to 12 hours a shift. They've also Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 15

Robots In Manufacturing saved about 50 percent more floor space. The tightly configured cell is possible due to the robot's six-axis articulation

5. Repeatability 0.02mm (.001): Repeatability is the key to the robot's performance in this application because of how we are locating the part into the draw tube. Control the quality of the roller. They need to meet a length accuracy of less than .005 of an inch, but they are not seeing even that much variation, now they are seeing .002 or less. DIGITAL PEOPLE The number of "digital people" (artificial beings and partly artificial beings) is increasing rapidly. Robots have played an increasingly prominent role in manufacturing for the past 50 years, and about a million industrial units are in use today worldwide. Despite the wishes of robot researchers to emulate human appearance and intelligence, that simply hasn't happened. Most robots still can't see versatile and rapid object recognition is still not quite attainable. And there are very few examples of bipedal, upright walking robots such as Hondas ASIMO (Advanced Step Innovative Mobility), mostly used for research or sample demonstrations & one day they may replace us as workers in industry. THE ROLE OF DIGITAL PEOPLE IN MANUFACTURING There are some robots around the world which are like humans these robots are often called humanoid robots. Some of them are Hondas ASIMO (advanced step Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 16

Robots In Manufacturing innovative mobility), Sonys QRIO, KISMET etc. these robots have a capability recognizing a unique face & voice. Even they are capable of answering to oral commands for some extent. They have an integrated camera for visualizing an object & recognizing it this may help in the future for manufacturers. What are there abilities? They can walk smoothly. They (ASIMO)can run at a speed of 3 km/h They(ASIMO) can walk at a speed 2.5km/h They can climb/descend stairs easily. They can recognize the voice of a person. They can recognize the unique faces of a person. Even they are capable of answering few oral commands without programming.

These robots are slowly emerging as a DIGITAL PEOPLE; we can see the robots that we had seen in the science fiction movies which are more intelligent, more powerful, and more interactive with the people in future years to come. These DIGITAL PEOPLE may replace us in the manufacturing industry one day & this may lead to revolutionize the way we lived. Although this sounds like a dream this is not far from truth. Its not impossible it is mission possible. Robot workers versus human workers The question whether it is ethically and morally responsible to manufacture robot workers -is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to robots and artificial intelligence. There are no easy answers here. The debate has been going for some time and there are several possible outcomes. The argument that robot workers take jobs from human workers is true. It is also true that these jobs are generally repetitive jobs, monotonous and often hazardous to human workers. Is it wrong then to replace humans with robots in these cases? It isn't if there are enough other jobs Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 17

Robots In Manufacturing these humans can turn to. It is if it leaves thousands of people out of work altogether. These are the simple answers:

Economics, capitalism and socialism A more detailed answer lies in the progress and development of countries as well as advances in science and technology. The wealthier countries have enjoyed rapid advancement in science and technology, enabling them to automate many facets of society. In combination with a high standard of education these countries have a reduced need for uneducated workers that are willing to do repetitive work such as factory work. And as even the uneducated nationals of these countries have been subject to improved wealth many refuse to do these jobs. In this scenario the options for manufacturers are limited. One option is to keep the factories local and "employ" robots to do the work at a reduced cost - and often higher efficiency compared to human workers - to keep the profit line. Another option is to stimulate uneducated migrant workers from other countries to come and do these jobs in semi-automated factories. This causes all sorts of social and financial difficulties. A third option, which is more often seen these days, is to combine the above two - move the factory to a low income country and employ robot workers. In this scenario human workers lose out all around. Government failure Corporate economics stipulate to manufacture a product as cheaply as possible and the profit margin remains as high as possible. That is the capitalistic point of view and often the only one that counts. While this is fine for a corporate philosophy, governments, on the other hand, have the responsibility to look after their citizens and maintain a level of socialism so that everyone has a job and benefits from the general wealth. This also reduces the burden of welfare costs - taking care of those who cannot, for whatever reason, take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately many governments these days have become capitalistic in their policies and, instead Dr.AIT, Bangalore Page 18

Robots In Manufacturing of looking after their citizens and reducing their own overhead as much as possible, have come to see the citizenry as a source of income for themselves and over-tax them, placing an additional financial burden on an already shrinking income. In addition governments are often catering to large corporations for more income, disregarding the workers' needs, and ultimately the workers have become victims of a two-pronged attack on their independence. And this not only applies to uneducated or factory workers. The middle classes are increasingly under duress in the wealthier nations as their jobs too are leaving the country to nations in development where these jobs can be done more cheaply. So what does all this have to do with the ethical issue of robots in the workplace? Quite a lot, in fact. The obvious fact that robot workers are cheaper, more efficient and do not complain or require expensive social systems is a dangerous development for a growing world population without means to support themselves or their families. CONCLUSION Although it will be years before we understand the ultimate technological limits for robots and bionic implants, we can already draw some conclusions:

The population of established types of industrial robots has grown eightfold or more in the last 20 years and will have an increasing impact on manufacturing industries.

The latest extensions in robotic capabilities offer new opportunities for household and entertainment robots, with enormous growth projected in the near future, and may offer new manufacturing uses.

We have discussed the technology, programming, and applications of the robot in the future smarter, mobile robots will be used to manufacture products more cheaply, build bridges more safely, explore outer space, and search under the sea, help doctors in patient care, assist homemakers with domestic chores. A substantial opportunity exists in the technology of robots to relieve people from boring, repetitive, hazardous, and unpleasant work in all forms of human labor. There is a social value as well as commercial value of robotics is obvious. Properly applied, the robots can accomplish routine, undesirable work better than

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Robots In Manufacturing humans and at lower cost. As the technology advances more & more people learn how to use robots.

Bibliography:Industrial robotics: Mikell P.Groover, 2001 Prentice hall India Websites:

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