Robotics engineering is a relatively new field in engineering and I shall attempt to cover it by using my own personal experience, in designing and commissioning many applications, over the years.
This page will introduce you to robotic applications, rather than going into detail regarding the engineering of the actual robot.
There are many Robotics Companies, supplying excellent robots, for almost every application. There is really no point in designing your own robot, unless the application is highly specialized and/or a standard machine will not do the job.
Even then, it is possible to buy robot modules, that can be bolted together, thus reducing the technical risk of the project.
The job at hand, usually determines the payload and the work envelope required. Remember that the payload must always include the estimated weight of the robot gripper or end effecter.
How many axis are required to perform the assigned task? The fewer axis, the less the cost of the robot, but in some applications, it pays to have more axis than absolutely necessary. (For instance if the load to be moved is high or the environment is hostile to humans)
Maybe the most important question to be asked is -"How many different programs are required, to handle all the different scenarios?" With a servo powered robot, the more programs the better!
If you find that the task to perform is just one, then this could be an application for a pneumatic pick and place robot. These are usually less expensive and are very reliable. There disadvantages are that the strokes are fixed and NOT programmable.
The various types of robots available are discussed in detail, at this page Robotics Companies. This page will be available shortly, please check back often to see if it is finished!
The robot gripper or robotic hand is the first item to consider, on the robot.
Two types of robotic end of arm tooling come to mind, the finger gripper and the vacuum end effectors.
The finger gripper is available in many sizes, from the smallest to the very large and in various types such as parallel motion and concentric.
Vacuum end effectors are usually used for handling flat sheets of material, such as glass and metals.
We will devote a whole page to this subject, and as soon as it is available, a link will be posted here.
It is usual to provide some form of base for the robot. In the photo above the ABB robot is mounted to a flat plate. This plate is bolted to the concrete floor and the robot is then bolted to the plate. There are usually some form of leveling bolt, built into the robot base. The robot can be leveled and securely bolted to this plate.
It is sometimes necessary to provide a high base weldment, to allow the full use of the work envelope. These must be robust and be able to support the robot at full speed and payload.
Robotics engineering must also be used to control the cables and/or air lines that run from the end effecter to the control unit. The above ABB photo shows plastic conduit that is used to control the cables.
Make sure that the cables do not chafe against each other, or the robot and are clear in all positions, throughout the work envelope. Check all positions and especially the rotary moves of the end effecter and the robot's arms.
Linear motion systems come in many types and styles for almost every application. From the very basic plain bearing to the most sophisticated modular units, many are listed and discussed. These units will be needed to complete the design of the work stations, in the robot cell
This is a type of assembly machine, that is custom designed (In this case by the writer) to assemble an electronic auto part. There was a lot of robotics engineering used to complete this project!
A pneumatic robot was used to unload the finished and tested part, to a conveyor, that transported the part to a packing area.
For full details, look at this page - The Rotary Indexer.
Part marking is an essential operation today. Traceability is demanded by almost every industry and here we look at the mechanical engraving of parts that is permanent and non-removable.
The pneumatic dot peen type of machine is featured and details of a specific project are discussed.
As the photo shows, robotics engineering was used in the machine's design.
For all the details, take a look here - Direct Part Marking.
The system described above, "Direct Part Marking" was now being used full time and a method was required to automate the process and use the existing system for short run parts.
Look at this page for full details - Robotic Engineering of a Part Marking Work Cell.
A small, private, business, with less than 50 employees, had a requirement for a hose cutter. Basic business, is importing, and reselling, plastic flexible electrical conduit.
The plastic hose is imported in bulk, and cut-to-length, in house. This has been accomplished 100% manually, to date, using long benches, tape measures and a supply of manual razor knives.
The writer was hired as an automation consultant, and the end result was the purchase of the machine shown here.
This shows how diversified robotics engineering can become!
For full details of this project, take a look at this page - An Automatic Corrugated Hose Cutter.
From the simplest detail drawing job, to the most complex automation engineering. All are possible by hiring the writer to complete your next project.
Take a look at this page Engineering Consulting Services for full details, including a 'Contact Me " form.
This is maybe the best walking bipedal robot on the planet!
This has to be the state of the art in robotics engineering.