Industrial robots are programmable, electromechanical devices used in the place of a person to perform repetitive and sometime dangerous tasks. They are often automated and capable of movement around three or more axis. Industrial robots are commonly used in applications like welding, painting, ironing, assembly, pick and place, palletizing, product inspection, and testing, all accomplished with high endurance, speed, and precision.
Robots have come a long way from the initial concept, a crane like structure that could stack wooden blocks (in 1937) to the first commercial product from Unimation (in 1956) which could be programmed to transfer objects from one point to another. The next major development was introduction of 6-axis articulated robotic arms which expanded use to more sophisticated applications such as assembly and welding. Today there are specialized robots for tasks as diverse as assembly, product inspection, material handling in warehouses, medical applications, and nuclear reactor inspection.
All robots have position control circuitry that resides on actuator boards and a system control board. Some robots, particularly those used for inspection purposes, have a camera in the place of end-of-arm tooling. Figure 1 shows the block diagram of a basic robot. Position data from the resolver as well as performance data of the stepper motor is logged in the MRAM and uploaded into edge/cloud servers to enable resumption of service in case of interruptions, predictive maintenance, and productivity/quality enhancements.