Your type of manufacturing and the products that you make on your production lines will dictate the type of manufacturing robots that you can apply to optimize your business. The manufacturing robots that have been created are a result of the needs that have been created in the industry to have devices that will cut costs, reduce manual efforts, and get products out the door so that consumers can have them when they want them. Technology will continue to refine the way that manufacturing robots work, the kind of tasks that they can do, and the efficiency that they bring to overall production. The assets that manufacturing robots give to your business can be rated on a scale of importance based on the contribution that they make and your expectations of the work that they do to make your operation more efficient. When you are planning for manufacturing automation you will review the types of tasks that any given type of robot can do in relation to the types of tasks that you wish to automate in your operation. Some robots will be high on your list for selection and use, while others will not even make it to the list for consideration.
The requirements of small manufacturing for being able to effectively make products has helped technology to create robotics that are designed for the smaller production facilities. In the beginning of robotic applications in production, the devices were made for and utilized in automobile plants and other larger facilities. Now the robotics that were originally developed for such operations have been developed to be used in smaller shops. The efficiencies of automation devices have been improved and now occupy smaller footprints for production efficiencies in small manufacturing operations.
If your operation has need of moving payloads from one point to another in your manufacturing, you should consider employing the SCARA robot. This device works effectively, and can be very forgiving while it is doing the work that you require. For instance, if you have need of placing a peg into a hole during product manufacturing, this device can adjust that operation to make sure that the peg is put into the hole even if the hole is not in the exact location that it should be. Anywhere that there is a need for loading payloads, assembling products, or doing pick and place operations, this device can be considered a good candidate for the job. The footprint of these devices comes in various sizes so that almost any manufacturer can use one to assist in production. Small appliances manufacturers of various types have been using these device with great success.
Another type of robot that can be effective for a small manufacturer is the delta type. It is particularly effective in pick and place for small objects for packaging and assembly. When you talk about delta robots you are talking about speed. The ability to be very fast in combination with very accurate in repeatability makes these devices excellent for working with conveyor belts. The belts bring randomly placed objects down the line, while the delta robot is able to pick those random objects very accurately to move them to a next phase of production. Delicacy is attribute of these devices that allows them to work very quickly with flimsy or sensitive objects. These devices are great tenders for other automation machines, being able to get and end-effector in the position exactly when an another device is in need of it to continue the automation process. The sizing and efficiency built into servo-motors that are sued in these robots allow these devices to be built in whatever size range is required for production, without any loss of accuracy or speed.
Articulated robots are the ones that have characteristics that are closely related to human attributes. Each robot has a certain number of joints that rotate like a human. Some have more or less of these joints. An optimum number of joints is 6, which gives the robot six degrees of freedom. Each joint is usually driven by a servo-motor that helps the joint to turn and move to perform automation functions. Since these robots are so human-like they have a wide range of capabilities in perform automation tasks. Lifting payloads, and generally moving stuff from one place to another is a big part of the life of most articulated robots. The payloads can be anywhere from a few ounces to very heavy objects. These robots also have the speed and accuracy factor going for them. They can move very quickly and repeat tasks very accurately. Since the servo-motor technology has been refined, the motors that drive each joint in one of these robots can be very small. This makes smaller very efficient robots available for smaller manufacturers.
Generally the technology has made robots better and smaller so that any task in automation can be accomplished accurately by manufacturing robots.
John Mitchell, the author of this article, is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the uses of automation in manufacturing. The company website, http://www.provinc.net, allows companies to submit requests for quotation to automation specialists.