Monthly Archives: June 2017

Industrial Robots A Marvel Of Engineering

Invention of Robots has brought about revolutionary changes in the field of industrial manufacturing. In the earlier part of the century humans were engaged in jobs, which were very dangerous and involved serious health hazards, but in 1956, Unimation a company founded by George Devol and Joseph F. Engelberger invented the first robot. These were initially used in industries where it was required that dangers involved in working should be reduced like in spot welding, die casting and forging and then gradually they were employed in areas requiring greater strength and accuracy than human beings.

Industrial Robots are automatic devices, which to an extent simulate the human behavior or more specifically human activity. Robots are important part of the science of Automation. Automation involves machines and computers that are capable of learning and performing various types of operations. The word robot has been derived from the Czech word “robota” meaning compulsory labor. The robots are used in industries to perform various functions like material handling, spot welding, spray painting, die casting, ironing, forging, assembly operations, palletizing, dispensing, testing, water jet cutting, picking and placing heavy goods etc.

Robots are made in various shapes and sizes and generally their load carrying capacity depends up on their size and strength. An average human sized robot is capable of carrying a load of more than 100 pounds and can also move it very quickly at the rate of +/-0.006 inches. One of their major advantages is that they can work continuously for days and years at a stretch without developing any fault. Due to this persistent accuracy robots are fast becoming indispensable part of various industrial set-ups. Most often these robots are used for repetitive painting, welding and operations like picking up and placing products into the machines.

The industrial robots can be programmed for performing a single function at a time and can only perform that particular function till they are reprogrammed. The cost of a robot is not very huge, but generally the cost of programming the robot is so high that instead of reprogramming it the manufacturers find it more economical to buy a new one for a different task. In simpler terms we can say that usually the cost of the robot is just a fraction of the cost of programming it.

Robots are made up of easily available materials. Steel, cast iron and aluminum are commonly used for making the arms and bases of robots. In mobile robots, rubber tires are fixed for smooth and quiet operation. Robots may be electronically operated and also laser or radio controlled. The exposed parts of the robot are enveloped with flexible neoprene sheaths and bellows.

The importance of robots in industries is increasing day by day and they constitute a very important part of the modern industries. Robots have made so many things possible, which could not be even thought of around 6 decades ago. They have taken the place of manual labor, especially in places where people worked in very dangerous and hazardous conditions like welding, die casting and forging. They have brought about revolutionary changes in the field of industrial manufacturing. According to a research conducted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe the worldwide purchase for robots is increasing at the rate of approximately 19% every year.

Hello Robot

Man has always been dependent on machines. Ranging from the crudest of sticks used as weapons for hunting to modern weapons of mass destruction, we are becoming increasingly dependent on machines. Many amongst us perceive machines as being necessary for the smooth functioning of our society.

It stands as a testament to our inventiveness that we are able to automate the many mundane aspects of our society’s functioning in order to make life easier. The next generation of machines are smarter, smaller and more energy efficient.

The evolution of electronic toys provides a striking resemblance to that of the evolution of Robotic technological advancement. From its initial stages of simple robots that are programmed to perform monotonous actions to highly sophisticated robots with artificial intelligence, we have come a long way in improving the quality of robots. Commercially, Sony and Tiger electronics have released popular ‘robo-pets’, which were highly successful. In the virtual world, automated programs built for specific purposes are popular. General consensus is that any machinery which is adaptable, can interact and manipulate its surroundings is considered as a robot. Bill gates latest vision of ‘a robot in every home’ could be as prophetic as his earlier vision of ‘a computer in every home’, which is now a true scenario.

History of Robot:

There have been rough prototypes of robots since ancient times. These included robots, which operated on steam, wind and water. Greek mathematician Arkittas had made a machine operated dove which could gain momentum using steam power. Alexander was reputed to have many self-operated machines, which were working using wind pressure and steam. In 1088, Su Sang had created a clock tower, which shows the time automatically in some part of China. In 1136 and 1206 AD a Muslim inventor named Al Zazari had developed a number of self operated machines like cooking equipments and water operated musical instrument. This human like robot had been used as a singer in boats and as an entertainer in the court of the king.

Nearly in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci had sketched a human shaped Robot. This sketch came into light in the year 1950 and was named as Leonardo Robot. This Robot was capable of sitting, shaking its hand, head and moving its jaws. This Robot design had been done like the structure of a human being. Between 1738 and 1739, Jacques Devaucanson had created different Robots of different sizes including duck robot, flute-playing Robot. The Duck robot was capable of playing with its wings. It could lengthen its neck; pick food from the visitors’ hand. During 1700, in Japan, a number of different large sized robots were designed, out of which a Robot named ‘Karakul’ was famous for being capable of offering tea. From 1799 and 1881, Japanese handicraft workers had designed a variety of Robots. In 1926, Westinghouse Electric Corporation created a large Robot called ‘Television’ which could do many complex works. Scientist Makato Nisimura had designed the Japanese robot ‘Gakutensoku’, which was the first man-sized robot. England was not far behind in these inventions. In 1948-1949, the first electronic, autonomous Robot called “Elmore and Elsi” was created by William Grey Walter had surprised the world. It was capable of detecting light and darkness and was even capable of communicating with external devices. The first modern Robot came into existence in the year 1954, created by George Davel and operated digitally. It was named ‘Uni met’ and Dave sold it to Genera motors.

How to Build a Robot

Fancy building a robot? From personal experience, I can tell you it is no easy walk in the park. Nor a half effort will bring you there. It takes knowledge from mechanical, electronics, programming (IT, Internet Technology) and even perseverance.

When doing robots for the first time. You will want to keep it very simple. This is because factors like project timeline, costs and expenses, troubleshooting will arise indefinitely. They can very well affect the progress of building a robot.

For the mechanical side, you will have to design the structure. Structure comprises individual components which make up the particular robot. Popular types of robots are usually of vehicle type, or sometimes the more specific one; the robotic arm (a challenging first project to do). Vehicle type of robots usually have their own methods of transportation, in this case, wheels.

The wheels are then driven by motors. Servo motors are usually used, for their accuracy and more precise control than their favourite cousins, ‘DC’ motors. What you need to know is the degree of servo motors can be controlled while ‘DC’ motors can only turn continuously in clockwise and anti clockwise direction. That, is how a robot moves.

Then, you need electronics to control these motors. To save money, you would want to build your own ‘motherboard’. The motherboard is composed of a ‘microcontroller’ and many other electronic parts (resistor, transistor, wires, etc). Think of the motherboard, the electronics, as the brains for your robot.

Consequently, you will also need to program the ‘microcontroller’. To do this, many people use programmers to upload programs into the ‘microcontroller’. Otherwise, use the programmer to upload a ‘bootloader program (hex file format)’ first, then in future, you do not need the programmer to upload programs into the ‘microcontroller’. Instead, you could just upload by using a simple connection (‘USB’ to serial cable, ‘USB’ to mini ‘USB’ cable, etc). Programming languages (‘C language’, ‘Processing’, ‘Assembly Language’, etc) need to be written first on an ‘IDE’ (Integrated Development Environment) program on the computer.

Generally, the points discussed above; mechanical, electronics, programming should be able to point you in the correct direction and mindset. Also note that it is the norm to spend hundreds alone on a single project. As a motor will usually cost $10 to $40. Good luck.

Electronic Component Products From the Best Name Brands

Harting USA was founded in 1986 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois and has been based in Elgin, Illinois since 1998. The company develops, manufactures and sells electrical and electronic connectors, device terminations, back-plane, network components as well as cable harnesses for networks or machinery, or for power and data application in factories. Today the company currently employs a workforce of more than 3,500 employees worldwide with 40 subsidiary companies and representative in 27 countries. The company has various industry partnerships including: American Public Transportation Association, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Telecommunication Industry Association, Open Device Net Vendors Association, VME bus International Trade Association, Professional Lighting and Sound Association, PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Railway Supply Institute (RSI), Railway System Suppliers, Inc. (RSSI), Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), Profited & Profit bus International (PI). Their product lines consist of Han Industrial Connectors, Communication Solutions, Ethernet Switches, Board Level Connectivity, I/O Connectors Incl. tools and accessories, 3D Micron/MD, Ha-VIS RFID, and Harting Current Sensors.

JAE Electronics – Industry-best Supplier of Electronic Components and Systems:

JAE Electronics designs, manufactures, and markets, electronic connectors, and electronics parent company, Japan Aviation Electronics Industries, Ltd. (JAE) a globally orientated supplier of electronic components, fiber optic connectors, LCD monitor connectors, waterproof electrical connectors and other digital systems. The company was established in the United States in 1977. Ever since the opening of the company, JAE Electronics has increased its marketing efforts in the United States and has opened a manufacturing facility in Palatine, Oregon. JAE is located in the Irvine Spectrum in Southern California. The parent company, Japan Aviation Electronics Industries is a globally oriented supplier of electronic components and systems.

Parallax Inc – Carved a Niche in the Electronics Industry with Innovative, Unique and Economical Solutions:

Parallax Inc is a privately held company in Rocklin, California. They design, manufacture, and sell BASIC stamp micro-controllers, micro-controllers, accessories, educational robot kits, and educational curriculum. The company was established in 1987 and is headquartered in Rocklin, California. The products the company carries are micro-controllers, robotics, sensors, books, cables/converters, components, data, development boards, displays, Ethernet, The memory products that the company carries are propeller memory card, micro-SD card holder SMD, push-pull, micro-SD holder SMD hinged, 1G micro-SD card, memory stick data logger, SD card adapter kit, micro-SD card adapter. The micro-controllers that the company carries are basic stamp, propeller, and propeller 2. Parallax is widely known for their robots, which their line consists of scribbler 2, activity Bot, Boe-Bot, shield-Bod, Sumo-Bot, Elev-8 quad copter, Eddie Robot Platform, and made USA Robot Platform.