a robot is a machine that works automatically and can adapt to changes in its environment. Robots are an increasingly important segment of our society, performing many jobs that are too dangerous or tedious for humans.
Robots can be made from a variety of materials, including metals and plastics. Most robots are made up of 3 main parts:
- The Controller – Also known as the “brain” which is run by a computer program. The program is often very verbose, providing commands for the moving parts of the robot to follow. The controller of a robotic arm executes a set of instructions written in code called a program. The program is introduced with a teaching slope.
- Mechanical Parts – Motors, pistons, grippers, wheels, and gears that make the robot move, grip, turn, and lift. These parts are usually powered by air, water or electricity.
- The end effector connects to the robot arm and works like a hand. This part comes into direct contact with the material that the robot is handling. Some variations of an effector are a clamp, a vacuum pump, magnets, and welding torches. Some robots are capable of changing end effectors and can be programmed for different sets of tasks.
- The drive is the engine or motor that moves the links to their designated positions. The links are the sections between the joints. Industrial robot arms generally use one of the following types of drives: hydraulic, electric, or pneumatic. Hydraulic drive systems give a robot great speed and strength. An electrical system provides a robot with less speed and force. Pneumatic drive systems are used for smaller robots that have fewer axes of motion. Units should be inspected periodically for wear and replaced if necessary.
- Sensors – allow the robot to determine the sizes, shapes, spacing between objects, direction, and other relationships and properties of substances. Many robots can even identify the amount of pressure needed to apply to grab an item without crushing it. One use of these sensors is to prevent two closely working robots from bumping into each other. Sensors can also help end effectors by adjusting for part variations. Vision sensors allow a pick and place robot to differentiate between items to pick and items to ignore.
Finally, in the same way that you supply energy to your body through food and rest, robots as machines also need energy. The “motor” that moves the different parts of the robot. It is often powered by air, water pressure, or electricity.