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Transilvania University, Brasov, Romania
Industrial robots are mechanical systems, which reproduce the human being’s movements with a certain precision. They are used whenever necessary in order to reduce the human exposure to danger, in order to supply more power or precision when a repetitive action is required.
Many people associate robots with the Cyborgs from science-fiction movies or from scientific literature. Until we achieve of the necessary technology for manufacturing such machineries, current technologies (Even not technology, but design on the conception phase of the product lifecycle, is responsible of the creation and the programmed intelligence of the Robots) make industrial robots in a relatively simple structure. However, movements that we deem ordinary, such as lifting a coin from the table, are much more complicated for a robot.
Robots are developed within Robotics, which is a branch of Automatics. Automatics leads to knowledge as well as to develop of machines and computers in order to compensate the human activity in the process of obtaining material goods.
The term robot proceeds from the Slavonic word robota, which means hard work. The term appeared for the first time during 1921, in the play Rossum’s Universal Robots written by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek. In the play, humanoid robots are described, which destroy their human creators – to its greatest part, this scenario is met in science fiction movies.
During the year 1938, the first mechanism for painting was designed by the Americans Willard Pollard and Harold Roselund, for the company De Vilbiss.
In 1941, the writer Isaac Asimov used for the first time the word robotics, so as to describe the technology of the robots and this way he predicted the birth of a new industrial branch.
In France, during the year 1951, Raymond Goertz designed the first articulated arm for the Atomic Energy Commission.
During the year 1954, George Devol designed the first programmable robot and this way laid the bases of the company Unimation.
In the year 1962, the company General Motors took over the first robot from Unimation and manufactured it in serial production.
In the year 1984, Joseph Engelberger set up the company Transition Robotics, subsequently named Helpmates, which develops service for the robots.
In the year 1986, Kawasaki developed and produced its own line of electrical robots.
The component parts of an industrial robot are:
Effector functions as a hand. It is connected as an arm extension. This part comes in direct contact with the material that it manipulates.
Arm of the robot is the part which places the effector in position. Its components are the articulation, the shoulder and the joint. It may vary according to size and shape.
Motor sets the mobile parts into operation.
Sensors take over information from the working environment and electronically send them to the controller.
Controller is the brain of the robot and coordinates its movements so that the component parts should function together.