“Robotics” word is simply an extension of “robots.” Robots are the product of robotics that replicate human actions and activities like calculation, analysis, and all. Robotics is technically combining technology, engineering, and science resulting in human-like machines.
Robotics follows humanoid concepts like Optimus Prime, R2-D2, and WALL-E. With in-depth integration of all those concepts and programs, robots are formed. They are machines with intellectual and high plus advanced mechanical capabilities. The scenario of robots and robotics will likely take over many human activities in the future.
For a reminder, robots are programmable machines that are a product of science and technology. They are created to help humans by mimicking their actions. The program robots are primarily made to perform monotonous tasks. At this point, advanced robots are now used to perform intricate functions beyond assisting the humans in cleaning, helping with minor tasks, etc.
Now, every robot is not exact. They all have different programs ingrained and autonomous. Some are fully human-controlled, and some are not. As robotics evolved, robots were found primarily in factories and assembling or production houses putting together a product. For instance, automotive factories use robots with solid mechanical arms to assemble car parts. We can even see creative robots in the healthcare sector and assisting humans with law enforcement.
So, in this article focusing on robotics, we will discuss what robotics technology is, the use of robotics in our life, and the four major types of robots used in different industries.
What is robotics technology?
Robotics technology is the most exciting part when science and engineering come together. Robotics is a discipline dedicated to designing and constructing mechanical robots. Different industries use different types of robots.
It is a branch of engineering that manufactures and operates robots. Its objective is to enhance and integrate the field of robotics with different sectors and industries. These intelligent programmable machines are created to assist humans in many ways possible.
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Robotics technology serves many purposes. While humans create and assemble robots, robots can later resemble a human. You cannot even fathom the robotics applications in today’s date. Something like RPA or Robotics Process Automation creates a simulation of humans’ engagement with various programs and software to perform rules-based repetitive tasks.
That being said, robotics technology keeps on expanding and evolving globally. However, the characteristics of robots are more or less consistent. Have a look at them below:
- All sorts of mechanical constructions involve robots. These mechanical aspects of a robot enable them to accomplish a task as per its purpose of creation. For instance, the wheels of Mars Rover 2020 are designed to have a firm grip on the terrains of Mars even though all are individually monitored.
- Every robot requires a certain level of computer programming. A robot needs a set of specially designed codes to be an intelligent and programmable machine. When these codes and programs are input o inserted perfectly, they get the required ability as intended.
- Electrical components are a significant part of robotics technology. They need thee to power the machinery and control it. The majority of robots run on a battery to get the required power.
With the immense improvement and development in the robotics industry, we can assume how much software programs and artificial intelligence (AI) are progressing. Thanks to these developments and continuous professional research, we will be able to see how much robotics technology or robots are capable of.
There is a high chance that robots will take over and create smart factories instead. They will help humans cross all the complex challenges. Robots will be more energy-efficient and help global supply chains gain a strong foothold in the industry.
What is the use of robotics?
If we consider the ideal technological future, robots will be everywhere, taking over every repetitive human task. Currently, robots have broad applicability in different aspects of life and industries. Robots may take various forms to assist humans in complex yet repetitive tasks, including classical humanoid robots, robotic/mechanical arms, or a robotic exoskeleton.
Warehouses and manufacturers globally used robot arms and industrial robots. These robots are made to perform or function via multiple computer algorithms and programming. A robotic system or robots will respond and operate as per the control systems, remote control manipulators, or actuators.
Wide applications of robotics technology in different industries commonly include the following:
- Home electronics
- Healthcare or bioengineering
- Computer programming and computer sciences
- Data sciences
- Artificial intelligence
- Military or law enforcement
- Mechanical engineering
Everyday activities or functions that robotics are applied include:
- Detecting landmines in war zones.
- Help tackle vast forest fires.
- Assisting in complex surgeries.
- Act as companions to humans.
- Co-bots who work and assist humans in manufacturing areas.
- Help in search and rescue missions in case of natural disasters.
- Help carry or shift items in large warehouses.
- Automatic household robots like vacuum cleaners.
Another noteworthy and significant application of robotics technology is when robotics integrates with machine learning.
The coming together of robotics and machine learning (ML) is known as Robot Learning. It is the study of techniques that help robots gain and store new data and knowledge or skills via the infused machine learning algorithms.
Robot learning has helped expand the applications of robotics technology. Robot learning enables the robots to conduct linguistic interactions with humans, grasp objects, and even categorize different things. While a human operator is needed in most cases, programmable robots with robot learning can adapt through self-exploration.
Nonetheless, one crucial point with robotics is that any robot will perform a task intended to partake in when building. Even with wide applicabilities, robots do not possess general human-like analytical abilities.
Pros and cons of robotics applications
No doubt that robotics technology has entered several industries deeply. It has helped businesses and humans in many ways. However, we cannot deny that it is the machine only, and devices or technology-powered are bound to bring some negatives.
Benefits of robotics:
- Continuous and error-free assistance to humans.
- Can deliver necessities when an emergency occurs.
- Help nurses and doctors with basic tasks like filling pharmaceutical prescriptions and prepping IVs.
- Take over all the tiring repetitive human activities and automate manual work.
- It can work perfectly well, even in harsh environments and unpredictable situations.
Shortcomings of robotics
- Any error in the program or algorithm will create an opening for cybersecurity issues.
- The level or extent of programming restricts the robot’s activities and functionalities.
- Robots require proper maintenance and a constant power source to stay active.
- When an unexpected scenario is encountered, it will respond instantly as a precaution.
With every benefit, there always lies a part that disadvantages the user or the situation.
What are the four types of robots used in the industrial sector?
Now, robots function in two aspects- independent and dependent robots. Both these types of robots are used in manufacturing plants or manufacturing sectors. So, we will look at the four types of robots commonly used in the industrial sectors. Or rather, you can say that different types of industrial robots.
Firstly, what do you an industrial robot does? Well, what these robots do at the manufacturing plant are pick and shift, assembling, machine tending, packaging, welding, material removal, dispensing, inspection, etc.
These are the functions that most industrial robots perform. However, depending on the type of robot, the number of functionalities varies.
That being said, the four types of industrial robots are:
- Articulated robots
- SCARA robots
- Cartesian robots
- Delta robots
Below is a brief on these four types of industrial robots.
Articulated robots are the most common type of robots. These types of robots are categorized by the number of axes of rotation points. The most common articulate robot type has 6-axis. This robot is ideal for taking on tasks based on non-parallel planes like machine tending.
Articulated robots are highly flexible and dexterity. Its axes can reach unreachable human areas if used on a construction site. It works evenly in harsh environments due to its protective sleeves and sealed joints.
Since it is a sophisticated type of robot, it does cost more than other robots with similar functionalities. But, it is not ideally suitable to make high-speed applications.
Standard functions of articulated robots in manufacturing are:
- Pick and shift items
- Machine tending
- Material removal
SCRA stands for Selective Compliance articulated Robot Arm. This robot is a very cost-effective choice to operate between two parallel planes. SCARA robot is geat in vertical assembling because of its vertical rigidity. They have small footprints like babies and are seemingly lightweight.
Due to its weight, it is easy to use in crowded spaces. However, SCARA robots have fixed swing arm that often poses a disadvantage when working.
Standard functions of SCARA Robot in manufacturing are:
- Pick and shift
Cartesian robots are used for a particular application in the manufacturing plant due to their assembled numbers of linear actuators. These robots usually work in elevated positions to give the surroundings more space. That also helps to accommodate small workpieces in the area.
Cartesian robots are usually not complicated and cost-effective as they use mounting brackets and standard linear actuators. Cartesian robots are custom-made to suit the field of work in a particular industrial sector. They can design, program, and even specify the implementation.
Since they are primarily mountable, using them in a dirty environment is not suggested. Cartesian robots are also knowns as Gantry robots.
Standard functions of Cartesian robots in the manufacturing are:
- Pick and place
Another name for delta robots is spider robots. It got the name as it uses a three-base mounted motor. These motors are used to actuate control over the arms. The most basic delta robots have a 3-axis, but higher is also available.
Delta robots are usually lightweight as the munted actuators are stationed close to the base of each joint. Thus, the motion of arms becomes high-speed when dealing with light loads. The arm length from the base determines the working length of delta robots.
Standard functions that delta robots perform in manufacturing are:
- Pick and place
So, these are the four main types of robots used in the industrial sector. Besides that, the robots are typically categorized into five aspects. The above robots fall into these categories themselves.
So, the five types of general robot classifications are:
- Pre-Programmed robots
- Autonomous robots
- Humanoid robots
- Augmenting robots
- Tele-operated robots
If you are in the industrial sector, knowing the types of robots will help. So, we hope this article helps you make an informed decision.