February 11, 2012

One of the most fascinating technologies to emerge during the last two decades is the science of robotics.  As we all know, robotics requires the combination of multiple disciplines; i.e. mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, computer programming, etc. to produce mechanisms that handle repetitive assembly and process operations.   I have had the great pleasure of specifying and installing robotic equipment, and in doing so, have become aware of their great versatility when applied to manufacturing environments.    Improvements in computer hardware and software have made possible these remarkable advances in this technology with an ever-increasing number of applications.  A fascinating application is the use of robots to perform precise surgical procedures with the surgeon being in the next room, or the next state or a completely different country.   I can only imagine where the technology will be in another fifty years. 

There are four (4) basic robotic types, as follows: 1.) Cartesian, 2.) SCARA, 3.) Articulated and 4.) Delta/parallel.  Let’s now take a very brief look at all four.


The Cartesian kinematic solution is highly configurable as the platform includes everything from a single degree of freedom or unidirectional travel, to numerous axes of motion.   Generally, three axis of movement; “X”,”Y” and “Z”, provide acceptable travel to accomplish a given task with the substrate being stationary throughout the process.    The Cartesian robot I just installed is responsible for “laying down” a ribbon of silicone on a small aluminized metal bracket.  This bracket, with adhesive, is then applied to a plate of tempered glass.   When completely dry, the assembly demonstrates 300 PSI of tensile pressure and with significant cost reductions as compared to double-sided pressure sensitive tape.   A representative JPEG is given below to demonstrate the basic configuration. 



This type of robot can be programmed to perform rapid movements with considerable accuracy; i.e. ± 0.005 inches.  Also, it is one of the simplest robotic systems to program.


The SCARA type robotic system offers a cylindrical work envelope.  This system typically offers higher speeds for picking, placing and handling when compared to the Cartesian system.  For this reason, the SCARA type is sometimes called a “pick and place” robot.  This class of robot is capable of handling components weighing up to 10 kilos or more with extremely high repeatability.   A photograph of the SCARA-type is as follows:

As you can see from the JPEG, the major movement is circular and around a supporting column with at least four degrees of freedom; i.e. “X”, “Y”, “Z” and “R”, with “R” being a rotation of the shaft supporting the work head.  One GREAT caution, the system must be positioned in a fashion so that personnel will not be impacted by the arm as it moves through various cycles.  I found this out the hard way.  A barrier should be integral to the “hardware” to protect operators when operations are being performed. 


Articulated robots have a spherical work envelope with the greatest level of flexibility due to the increased number of degrees of freedom (DOF).   These robots offer an extremely wide range of solutions including the ability to maneuver 1000 kilos or more.   These are the big boys that deliver great precision, with great speed and a high degree of flexibility.  With this flexibility comes the need for more “elegant” programming and much higher attention to safety.


This type of robotic system utilizes a parallelogram and produces three purely transitional degrees of freedom.  Base-mounted motors and low-mass links allow for exceptionally fast accelerations and therefore greater throughput when compared to their peer groups.   The robot is an overhead- mounted solution that maximizes its access but also minimizes the footprint.  They are designed to offer very low maintenance and allow for high-speed handling of light-weight products.   As mentioned, this is a fascinating technology adn one that s with us for years to come.  As with any useful process, we have only scratched the surface relative to what might be in store as far as developments and advancements.


6 Responses to “R2D2—WHERE ARE YOU?”

  1. NeilKukura Says:

    Some truly great info , Gladiola I found this. “Ours is a world where people don’t know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it.” by Donald Robert Perry Marquis.


    • cielotech Says:

      Many many thanks for reading my blog and sending the very kind words of encouragement. I love to write but it truly is a LABOR of love.

      Take care.
      Bob J.


  2. I have been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i’m satisfied to convey that I’ve a very just right uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I such a lot indubitably will make sure to do not omit this site and provides it a look regularly.


    • cielotech Says:

      Great and thank you so much for taking a look at my blog. Robotics is a fascination of mine and I have specified and installed several systems as a part of my engineering consulting work. I intend to do additional writing as time goes buy so please take a look if you can.

      Again, many thanks,


  3. cielotech Says:

    Thank you so much for the very kind comments. I definitely will “come on over” and will be a frequentl flyer.

    Take care. Bob J


  4. Terrific paintings! This is the kind of info that should be shared around the net. Disgrace on the search engines for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thank you =)


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