How to Get Experience With a Robotic Arm

Robotics is the field of technology concerned with the design, production, and automation of robots. A robot is a device that automatically completes difficult, frequently monotonous tasks. Robotics engineers use many technologies, including mechatronics, artificial intelligence (AI), computer science, and mechanical engineering.
Robotics is the field of technology concerned with the design, production, and automation of robots. A robot is a device that automatically completes difficult, frequently monotonous tasks. Robotics engineers use many technologies, including mechatronics, artificial intelligence (AI), computer science, and mechanical engineering.

In this article, we will provide a general overview of the role of a robotic arm in industrial applications to help you decide if robotic arms are the best option for you.

Robotic arms are one of the most recognizable types of robotic equipment in industrial environments. They often fascinate people with their amazing strength and speed, but it might be difficult to understand how to operate them for the average person.

Enormous mechanically armed robots are constantly welding and putting together the various components of cars and other motor vehicles in the automotive industry.  Without these robots, the automotive industry would struggle to keep up with demand.

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As the robotics industry gains more and more influence, and as millions of available positions start to appear in the future, choosing a career in robotics could become a significant choice for many kids and adults alike.

Moreover, a collection of robotic mechanisms are collectively referred to as "robotic arms." There are many applications for these various kinds of robots. However, each type has unique features that often allow it to be more effective than other robotic arms for particular jobs.

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How to Get Experience With a Robotic Arm

The first step to getting some experience under your belt with robotic arms is to know what different kinds of robotic arms there are and what they are used for. So let’s look at some typical robotic arms and their applications.

Classification of a Robotics Arm

A robot arm can be thought of as a chain of joints that are activated by motors, each of which moves a link in the chain. On the end of the chain, an end-effector, also known as a robot hand, can be connected. Robot arms are often categorized according to the number of degrees of freedom, like other robotic devices. 

Typically, the number of joints that move the links of the robot arm equals the number of degrees of freedom. To allow the robot hand to achieve any posture (position and orientation) in three dimensions, at least six degrees of freedom are needed.

The ability to move some links on the arm (such as the elbow up/down) while keeping the robot hand in the same position is made possible by the additional degrees of freedom. 

Given a desired position for the robot hand in three dimensions, inverse kinematics is a mathematical method that determines the configuration of an arm, often in terms of joint angles. Here are nine of the most common robotic arms.

Free photo engineer cooperation male and female technician maintenance control relay robot arm system welding with tablet laptop to control quality operate process work heavy industry 40 manufacturing factory
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1. Articulated Arms

Robotic arms with five or more joints, or degrees of freedom, are considered to have articulated arms. Numerous other kinds of robots fall under the general category of the articulated arm. A six-axis robot, for instance, has an articulated arm with six degrees of freedom. 

The widest variety of industrial robot types is those with articulating arms, which also include six-axis and collaborative robots. 

2. Six-Axis

The most common articulated arms are six-axis robots. As a result, they are currently the most widely utilized robotic arm in the industry. They make excellent all-purpose robotic arms because of their versatility. The six-axis now has an astounding variety of applications. The industrial robot that is easiest to recognize is the six-axis robot.

3. Collaborative Robot

A collaborative robotic arm is specifically designed for hybrid work. This implies that it is made to operate close to people. In hybrid work environments, certain safety elements significantly reduce risk. 

This sort of robot is relatively new, and its applications are still being researched. As more firms become aware of their advantages, collaborative robots are becoming increasingly common in the sector. Collaboratives have a promising future.

4. SCARA

Selectively compliant robot arms are known as SCARA robots. They, therefore, lack the same degree of flexibility that articulated arms enjoy. They are constrained in some ways, but they also have some advantages over articulated arm types as a result.

5. Cartesian Robots

They are rigid systems that move in a three-dimensional coordinate plane. Three linear actuators are commonly used to build these robots. In the x-axis, one actuator moves left and right. The x-axis actuator is connected to another actuator. 

In the y-axis plane, this actuator moves upward and downward. The y-axis member is connected to a final actuator, which oscillates in the z-axis plane. Robots designed for small applications are called cartesian robots.

Photo of automobile production line welding car body modern car assembly plant auto industry
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5. Cylindrical Robot Arms

These arms are built on a single arm that can move vertical members up and down. The arm is horizontally rotated by this vertical part. In order to complete the work, the arm can extend and retract. These little robots are used for quick, easy jobs and are relatively portable.

6. Spherical or Polar

Spherical (polar) robots were the first industrial robots of the modern era. This sort of robot has a straightforward design but is less popular than it previously was. Robots that are spherical resemble cylindrical robots except that they replace the vertical linear axis with a second rotating axis. 

It has a vertical rotational axis. It was created for straightforward jobs that don't call for rapid or intricate action.

8. Parallel/Delta

High-speed robotic automation options include Parallel/Delta robots. These robots can travel at amazing speeds because of their distinctive design. A delta robot is a fantastic option for quick and light jobs.

9. Anthropomorphic

These robots are uncommon to see in workplaces. These robots feature a smiling face and two or more arms. They are frequently used in cooperative settings, where they operate close to human operators.

Cost Factors for Robotic Arms

While a very basic robotic arm kit can be purchased at various hobby based stores, they offer limited and one dimensional experience.

The price of your robotic project has a direct impact on your ROI calculation and your bottom line, so keep that in mind as you choose a project. Before committing to any robot project, it's critical to have a comprehensive understanding of your anticipated expenditures. Given that robotic arms are a diverse group of equipment, it is impossible to give a precise range. 

However, we can provide some context for your anticipated expenditures so you are better equipped to ask providers the right questions. Factors like a robotic arm, end-of-arm tooling, safety equipment, installation charges, integration costs, and maintenance costs will likely be included in the overall cost of your robot project.

These expenses might soon accumulate, and for a reasonably sized robotic arm project, a final cost estimate of roughly $100,000 USD is not unusual. To determine if a robotic arm is an appropriate choice for you, it's essential to understand these costs and their potential effects on your business.

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Let’s face it, not all of us have a hundred grand lying around. If you are passionate about robotics, there is one excellent alternative to working with and gaining experience with robotic arms, and the best part is that you will be given a certificate that you can use to directly get employment.

This course is titled Mechatronics for Equipment Maintenance Level II - Virtual Lab. You can build your skills in 40 hours through practice scenarios and problem-solving. It will This course is titled Mechatronics for Equipment Maintenance Level II - Virtual Lab. You can build your skills in 40 hours through practice scenarios and problem-solving. It will also help you prepare for a career in advanced manufacturing by teaching you about robotics, fluid power, mechanical, electrical, and motor controls. 

Advanced Application of Some Notable Robotic Arms

The Canadarm and its successor, the Canadarm2, are two examples of robotic arm projects with several degrees of freedom used in space. These robotic arms have been utilized for several activities, including the deployment and recovery of satellites from the Space Shuttle's cargo compartment and a number of other activities.

It also includes the deployment and recovery of satellites from the Space Shuttle's cargo compartment as well as the inspection of the Space Shuttle utilizing a specially designed boom with cameras and sensors connected at the end effector.

Robotic arms are also used by the Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance. Moreover, Perseverance also has a smaller sample caching arm hidden inside its body beneath the rover in its caching assembly.

Understanding When to Use Robotic Arms and When to Avoid Them

The fact that robotic arms can effectively complete the majority of jobs explains why they are so prevalent in business. Applications with specific characteristics enable robotic arms to outperform other robot types. 

High levels of dexterity are required, along with a hybrid work environment, huge payload capacity, and reach requirements. These are some characteristics of your application that can cause you to think about a robotic arm.

A distinguishing feature of articulated arm types is dexterity. Robotic arms might be an excellent fit for applications that call for a machine to twist and manipulate the product at unusual angles. Particularly, collaborative, and the six-axis articulated arms. Robotic welding is an example of this kind of application. 

Additionally, the robot must frequently travel at an angle in a number of different planes to complete this mission. For the majority of other robot kinds, this is challenging or impossible to accomplish. Due to their selective compliance, SCARAs are a robot type that may struggle in this situation. This means that not all robotic arms have this feature.

Robotic arms frequently strike a decent balance between reach and payload capacity without significantly slowing down. This enables them to do demanding jobs that call for both features. Palletizing is a good demonstration of this. 

In order to choose boxes and fill a pallet, the palletizing application frequently calls for the robot to cover a wide range of motion. Boxes that are completely full can weigh a lot. Six-axis robots are frequently able to meet this demand for both strength and range. The strength and mobility of other robot types, such as delta robots, are insufficient for carrying out these operations on a large scale.

Robots face particular challenges in hybrid workplaces. Robotic technology traditionally has to be isolated from the outside work environment since it poses some risks to human operators. Some applications need a combination of humans and robots to perform at their best. These kinds of tasks are best handled by collaborative robots.

Collaborative robot technology is frequently used in material handling applications. This entails that while the robot handles the loading and unloading of the material into a machine, a human operator can put raw materials into a staging area next to the cobot. For some people, this loading and unloading may be hazardous. A safer working environment is produced by removing them from danger.

Industries and Uses for Robotic Arms

The above-mentioned robot types are used in a wide range of businesses and situations. The variety of applications for robotic arms in the industry is demonstrated by these typical industries which are electronics, food and beverage, medical sciences, plastics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, and automotive industries.

Because there are so many different industries, it makes sense that there is also a wide range of applications. Packaging, palletizing, material handling, painting, welding, assembly, inspection, cutting, and dispensing are a few of the most popular uses. Robotic arms are versatile enough to be excellent options for a wide range of applications in any sector. 

They successfully balance precision, reach, payload capacity, and speed. They can thus accomplish a variety of activities efficiently. 

These characteristics also give manufacturers the flexibility to repurpose these robots for uses other than those for which they were designed. Other types of robots might find this more challenging. This type of robot benefits greatly from the versatility that robotic arms offer.

If you are wondering how to make a robotic arm, here is how to do it with easy-to-use Intel technology.

Building Industrial Robotic Arms With Intel® Technology

Intel has the hardware, software, and ready-to-use solutions you need to create and use industrial robotic arms, including CPUs and GPUs with built-in, AI inference acceleration as well as free algorithms, middleware, and reference implementations.

The powerful computing capabilities offered by Intel® processors for IoT and embedded applications are essential for automated operation. Robotic arms can sense and comprehend their surroundings and objects thanks to Intel® RealSenseTM technology. 

In order to ensure that robotic arms can function in a variety of environments and under changing circumstances, a strong range of depth cameras is necessary.

Additionally, the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit enables developers to streamline the development process and enable a write-once, deploy-anywhere model by letting them to optimize, adjust, and run comprehensive AI inference using a built-in model optimizer, runtime, and development tools.

Companies in all sectors are under pressure to increase worker safety while also achieving new heights of production and efficiency. 

By collaborating with Intel, businesses can significantly improve their robotic arms with cutting-edge sensing technologies, AI, machine and computer vision, and edge networking to meet new productivity and performance requirements as well as give them a competitive edge in a world that is constantly changing.

Intel® Technology and Solutions for the Edge

You can design and implement edge solutions with the assistance of Intel's product line and business ecosystem. The Intel® Edge Software Hub provides prevalidated software to help you research, create, and test your edge solutions.

For the ingestion of video and time series data, Intel® Edge Insights for Industrial is available as a prevalidated, ready-to-deploy software reference design. It has AI analysis and can publish to both local and cloud applications. Additionally, because it is based on Docker, it is easy to tweak and adapt for use with apps.

A free, software-defined reference platform for industrial controls is available under the name Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial. It blends functional safety, real-time, deterministic computing, and standards-based industrial connection with administration akin to IT.

For the deployment of computer vision at the edge, Intel® Vision Products provide a wide range of general-purpose CPUs and purpose-built accelerators.

In order to power the machine vision, smart manufacturing, and industrial control systems necessary for robotics solutions, industrial automation, predictive maintenance, automated vision inspection for defect detection, and more, Intel® machine vision solutions for Industry 4.0 bring together the hardware, software, and ready-to-run solutions.

Summary

Robotic arms are perfect for tasks that need to be done repeatedly, consistently, and with a high degree of accuracy, as well as for situations where a human worker could find it difficult to do safely.

A robotic arm is comparable to a human hand. For the movement of the arm, it has a free rotating joint (rotation) and a translational joint (displacement). Typically, an electric driver (motor) or a pneumatic and hydraulic system powers this arm movement (pistons).

In addition, robotic arms may be programmed to carry out an almost unlimited variety of tasks since they are quick, precise, and dependable. Whether desktop-mounted or installed as part of a high-volume production line, industrial robotic arms are now more widely used than ever before. 

They are now frequently found across a broad range of industries and sectors, including laboratories, testing, and sample handling, manufacturing, industrial automation and automated assembly, machine feeding, and machine access.

To assist them in carrying out their given tasks, various attachments are frequently sold with robot arm assembly and construction kits. They may include grippers or suction cups as well as a variety of sensors and robotic controls that offer sophisticated environmental response capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

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