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1 Robotic handling operations(38%)

Material handling is the most popular application with
38% of operational stock of industrial robots worldwide.
This includes machine tending, palatalizing and various
operations for metal machining and plastic molding

2 Robotic Welding (29%)

This segment mostly includes spot welding and arc

welding which is mainly used by the automotive industry.
Spot welding is still more popular than arc welding but
not for long; as arc welding is becoming very popular in
the metal industry.

Industrial robots: 5 most popular

3 Robotic Assembly (10%)

Assembly operations include: fixing, press-fitting, inserting,

disassembling, etc. This category of robotic applications seems
to have decreased over the last few years, even while other
robotic applications have increased.

4 Robotic Dispensing (4%)

Here we are talking about painting, gluing, applying adhesive

sealing, spraying, etc. Only 4% of the operational robots are
doing dispensing.

5 Robotic Processing (2%)

Processing is not a big segment of industrial robots (only 2%)

and this is probably because a lot of automated machines are
available on the market to do specifically these applications.
The main application areas are mechanical, laser and water jet
Industrial Robot Applications can be divided

Material-handling applications:
Involve the movement of material or parts from one
location to another.
It include part placement, palletizing and/or
depalletizing, machine loading and unloading.
Processing Operations:
Requires the robot to manipulate a special process tool
as the end effector.
The application include spot welding, arc welding,
riveting, spray painting, machining, metal cutting,
deburring, polishing.
Assembly Applications:
Involve part-handling manipulations of a special tools
and other automatic tasks and operations.
Inspection Operations:
Require the robot to position a workpart to an
inspection device.
Involve the robot to manipulate a device or sensor to
Material Handling (MH)
MH includes any or all movements, packaging and
storage of materials, parts, assemblies, and products
Term materials include raw materials, parts,
subassemblies, and semi-finished goods
Need of handling of goods between plants
MH includes all such movements of materials from the
receipt of the raw materials to the shipment of finished
MH is a system which forms the various factors of
movement, transfer, warehousing, in-process handling,
and shipping into one interdependent cycle considering
the most economical solution for the respective plant. The
next slide demonstrates the material handling system in
the form of flow diagram.
Materials Flow Diagram
MH system in the form of Flow Diagram:
Raw mat. Transportati Receiving
supplier on at store

Manufacturing/fabrication Storing

Flow of parts Testing shippin

to assembly and g
line packaging
Disposal/ Warehous
recycling ers e
Robots in Material Handling
This category includes the following:
Part Placement
Palletizing and/or de-palletizing
Machine loading and/or unloading
Stacking and insertion operations
The robot must have following features to facilitate
material handling:
The manipulator must be able to lift the parts safely.
The robot must have the reach needed.
The robot must have cylindrical coordinate type.
The robots controller must have a large enough memory to
store all the programmed points so that the robot can move
from one location to another.
The robot must have the speed necessary for meeting the
transfer cycle of the operation.
Partpositioning and orientation
Gripper design
Minimum distance moved
Robot work volume
Robot weight capacity
Accuracy and repeatability
Robot configuration, degrees of freedom
and control
Machine utilization problems
Part Placement:
The basic operation in this category is the relatively simple
pick-and-place operation.
This application needs a low-technology robot of the
cylindrical coordinate type.
Only two, three, or four joints are required for most of the
Pneumatically powered robots are often utilized.
Complications Encountered in pick and place Robots:
2.Tracking a moving pick up point
3.Handling different objects/parts.
Palletizing and/or Depalletizing
The applications require robot to stack parts one on top of the
other, that is to palletize them, or to un stack parts by removing
from the top one by one, that is depalletizing them.
Example: process of taking parts from the assembly line and
stacking them on a pallet or vice versa.
The loading of cartons on to pallets is typically heavy work
and repetitive process except that location change from
carton to carton
Variation in carton is 3-dimensional.
High level programming language required which
facilitates the mathematical computation of the different pallet
In palletizing and depalletizing the robot may be called on to
load different pallets differently. Reasons for these difference
Pallets may vary in size
Different products may be loaded in to pallets
Difference in number and combination of cartoons going to
different customers.
Machine loading and/or unloading:
Robot transfers parts into and/or from a production machine.
There are three possible cases:
Machine loading in which the robot loads parts into a
production machine, but the parts are unloaded by some
other means.
Example: a press working operation, where the robot feeds sheet
blanks into the press, but the finished parts drop out of the press by
Machine loading in which the raw materials are fed into the
machine without robot assistance. The robot unloads the part
from the machine assisted by vision or no vision.
Example: bin picking, die casting, and plastic moulding.
Machine loading and unloading that involves both loading and
unloading of the work parts by the robot. The robot loads a
raw work part into the process ad unloads a finished part.
Example: Machine operation
Difference in cycle time between the robot and the production machine.
The cycle time of the machine may be relatively long compared to the
robots cycle time.
Robots have been successfully applied to accomplish the loading and
unloading function in following production operations
Die casting
Robots are used in die casting machine is to remove the part from the
machine when the door is opened.
Production rate in die casting machine ranges from about 100 to
700 openings of the die part per hour. The work tends to be hot
& repetitive.
Plastic molding
Plastic molding is a batch volume or high volume manufacturing
process and to make plastic parts to size and shape. It includes
compression molding, injection molding, blow molding and extrusion.
Robots are used to unload injection molding machines, one problem
in injection molding is the production times are considerably
longer than die casting machines causes robot to be idle.
Forging and related operations
Forging is a metal working process in which the metal is pressed or
hammered in to the desired shape. Die forging and upset forging
methods utilize the robots for loading/unloading operations.
Gripper must be designed to overcome some significant problems raised
during forging especially hot forging are:
1.The parts are hot and the gripper must be protected against these
2.The gripper must be designed to with stand the shock from the hammer
blows because the part must be held in position during forging operation.
3.The grippers must be designed to accommodate substantial changes in the
shape of the parts during forging cycle.
There are some issues which can be decided by the operator
1.The part must be heated to sufficient temperature in order to successfully
perform hot working operation.
2.Raw work parts are generally placed in the furnace randomly and selecting
the parts that are used is operators decision.
3.Another one is different parts require different hammer strokes to form final
shape this judgment is made by operator.
Machining operations
The robot used in machining operations typically include loading a raw
material in to the machine and to unload the finished part at the completion of
the machining cycle.
The following features generally contribute to the success
of the machine tool loading and unloading:
Dual gripper
Six joint motion
Good repeatability
palletizing and depalletizing capability
programming features

Stacking and insertion operation:

In the stacking process the robot places flat parts on top of

each other, where the vertical location of the drop-off
position is continuously changing with cycle time.
In the insertion process robot inserts parts into the
compartments of a divided carton.
The robot end of arm tooling is
capable of loading/unloading four
parts at a time.
Processing Operations
Processing Operations:
Robot performs a processing procedure on the part.
The robot is equipped with some type of process tooling as
its end effectors.
Manipulates the tooling relative to the working part during
the cycle.
Industrial robot applications in the processing operations
Spot welding
Continuous arc welding
Spray painting
Metal cutting and deburring operations
Various machining operations like drilling, grinding, laser and
water jet cutting, and riveting.
Spot Welding
Spot welding is a process in which contacting metal surfaces are
joined by the heat obtained from resistance to electric current
flow. Work-pieces are held together under pressure exerted by

A spot welding gun applies appropriate pressure and current

to the sheets to be welded. There are different types of welding
guns, used for different applications, available.

During the Spot welding process the welding electrodes are

exposed to severe heat and pressure. In time, these factors begin
to deform the electrodes. To restore the shape of the
electrodes, an automatic tip-dresser is used.
One problem when welding with robots is that the cables and hoses used
for current and air etc. tend to limit the capacity of movement of the robot
wrist. A solution to this problem is the swivel, which permits passage of
compressed air, cooling water, electric current and signals within a
single rotating unit.

A robot can repeatedly move the welding gun to each weld location and
position it perpendicular to the weld seam. It can also replay programmed
welding schedules. A manual welding operator is less likely to perform
as well because of the weight of the gun and monotony of the task.

Spot welding robots should have six or more axes of motion and be
capable of approaching points in the work envelope from any angle. This
permits the robot to be flexible in positioning a welding gun to weld an
Robots used in spot welding must possess certain features &
capabilities to perform the process.

i.Robot must be relatively large, it must have payload capacity to

readily manipulate the welding gun.
ii.The work volume must be adequate for size of product.
iii.The robot must be able to position & orient the welding gun in
places of product that might be difficult to access.
iv.The welding line is designed to produce several different models
of product, accordingly the robot must be able to switch from one
program to other.

Benefits that result from automation of spot welding are

1.Improved product quality.
2.Operator safety.
3.Better control over production operation.
Spot welding gun

Spot welding Robot

Continuous Arc Welding
Continuous arc welding is used to make long welding joints in which
an air tight seal is often required between the two pieces of metals
being joined.
The process uses an electrode in the form of a rod or a wire of metal
to supply the
high electric current needed for establishing the arc.
The arc between the welding rod and the metal parts to be joined
produces temperatures that are sufficiently high to form a pool of
molten metal to fuse the two
pieces together.
The working condition of the welder is typically unpleasant and
The arc from the welding process emits ultra-violet radiations
which is injurious to human vision. As a result welders are required
to wear eye protection in the form of a welding helmet with a dark
window. The dark window filters out the dangerous, but it so dark that
the welder is virtually blind while wearing the helmet except when the
arc is struck.
The high temperature created in arc welding and the resulting molten
metals are inherently dangerous.
The high electric current used to create the arc is also unsafe. Sparks

Factors that contribute to the increased rate when robots used in
batch production is the elimination of fatigue factor. Robots do not
experience fatigue in the sense that human workers do. A robot can
continue to operate in the entire shift with need of periodic rest


Improved safety and quality-of-work environment result from
removing the human operator from an uncomfortable, fatiguing and
potentially dangerous work situation.


Greater product quality in robot arc welding results from the
capability of the robot to perform the welding cycle with accuracy
and repeatability than its human counterpart.
This translates into a more consistent welding seam; one that is free
of the start-and-stop builds up of filler metal in the seam that is the
characteristic of many welds accomplished by human welders.

An industrial robot that performs welding must possess certain

features and capabilities. Some of the technical considerations in
arc welding applications are discussed in the following.






1. A related problem is that arc welding is often performed in confined

areas that are difficult to access, such as insides of tanks, pressure
vessels, and ship hulls. Humans can position in to these areas more
readily than robots.
2. One of the most difficult technical problems is the variation in the
dimensions of the parts in a batch production job. This type of
dimensional variations means that the arc-welding path to be followed
will change slightly from part to part.
3. Another technical difficulty is the variations in the edges and surfaces
to be welded together. Instead of being straight and regular, the edges
are typically irregular. This causes variations in the gap between the
parts and other problems in the way the pieces mate
together prior to the welding process.

Human welders are able to compensate for both these variations by

certain parameters in the welding process. Industrial robots provided
with sensors to monitor the variations in the welding process and the
control logic to compensate for part and weld gap irregularities.
Spray Coating
The major category of industrial painting is spray coating. This
method involves the use of spray guns to apply paint or some other
coatings to the object.

There are different spray coating methods include conventional

air spray, airless spray.
The conventional air spray uses compressed air mixed with
paint to atomize it in to a high velocity stream, the stream of air
and paint is directed through the nozzle at the object to be painted.
Airless spray do not uses the compressed air but the liquid paint
flows under high fluid pressure through the nozzle.
The spray coating methods when accomplished manually results in
many health hazards to the manual operators, they are
Fumes and mist in the air: not all the paint droplets attached to
the surface of the object, some remain suspended in the
atmosphere which will be sometimes toxic to the humans.
Noise from the nozzle: The spray gun nozzle produces a loud
shrill noise, prolonged exposure by humans can result in hearing
Fire hazards: Flammable paint, atomized in to fine mist mixed with
air can result in flash fires.
Spray coating operations to which robots have been applied include
painting of car bodies, engines, and other components in
automotive industry.
In most robot spray coating applications the robots are usually part
of a system that includes a conveyor for presenting the parts to the
robot and a spray booth for shielding the spraying operation from
factory environment.

Requirements of robot for spray coating applications:

1.Continuous path control: in order to continue the smooth
movement of paint operator, the robot must possess continuous
path capability.
2.Hydraulic drive: Hydraulic drive is preferred over electric drive
and pneumatic drive because in electric drive there is a danger that
a spark in electric motor may ignite the paint flumes. The motion
generated by pneumatic drive may produce jerks.
3.Manual lead through programming: The most convenient
method of teaching the robot involves lead through programming in
which the robot arm is manually pulled through the desired pattern
by a human operator who is skilled in the technique of spraying.
4.Multiple program storage: for more than one part style.
Benefits of robot spray coating:
1.Removal of operator from hazardous environment.
2.Lower energy consumption
3.Consistency of finish
4.Greater productivity

6-axis FANUC robot

for coating spray
- The term assembly means fitting together two or
more parts to form a sub assembly.
- The assembly process consists of the sequential
addition of components to a base part or existing sub
assembly to create a more complex sub assembly or a
complete product.
- Assembly operations involve a considerable amount of
handling and orienting of parts to mate them together

Assembly operations can be performed by following

1. Manual assembly
2. Automatic Assembly
3. Automatic Assembly Using Robots / Robotic Assembly
Comparison of Assembly Methods
Manual assembly requires the least capital investment
followed by the two simplest forms of robotic assembly.
Multi-station robotic assembly system compares to Automatic
system with special-purpose machines requires more capital
investment for a large production volume but less capital
investment for a moderate production volume.
Assembly cost per product is constant for manual assembly
Assembly cost per product is
Robotic assembly
decreases linearly with increasing
production volume for automatic
assembly using special-purpose
Manual assembly
Assembly cost per

In the case of robotic assembly,

assembly using the assembly cost per product
special purpose
decreases with increasing

production volume, but becomes
less economical after exceeding
Annual Production
the annual production volume at
a certain point.

Factors affecting selection of an assembly method:

Cost of assembly
Annual production volume (or production rate),
Number of individual components to be assembled in
a product
Number of different versions of a product / s
Availability of labor (with cost consideration)
Payback period
- These factors are interactive
- Impossible to have a single mathematical relationship
between these factors.
In order for a robot to perform an assembly task, the part is to be
assembled must be presented to robot. There are several ways to
accomplish this presentation function:
1. Parts located with in a specific area.(not positioned or oriented)
2. parts located at a known position (not oriented)
3. Parts located at known position and orientation.
In first case the robot is required to use some sensory input to
guide the location and to pick up the part.
In second case the robot would know where to go to get the part,
but would have to solve the orientation problem. This require the
robot to perform an additional handling operation to orient the part.
The third way of presenting the part to the robot is most common
method used. This approach requires least effort from the robot and
sensor system, but it places the largest requirement in parts
feeding system.
There are number of methods for presenting parts with known
position and orientation including the use of bowl feeders,
magazine feeders, trays and pallets.
Bowl feeders:
bowl feeders are the most common devices used to feed
individual components in Industrial Assembly Automation
Bowl feeders: consists of a bowl top with a spiral track inside
the bowl. The component parts are delivered from the bottom of
the bowl feeder up the track into the top of the feeder as the
bowl vibrates.
The base of the bowl is constructed of leaf springs and an
oscillating electromagnet which causes the bowl and track to
The vibratory motion causes the parts to be driven in the spiral
track until they reach the outlet point.
As the parts are driven on the track and approach the outlet
point they are oriented randomly and must be placed in proper
orientation for delivery.
This can be done by two methods selection and orientation.
Selection involves taking parts that are not properly oriented
and rejecting them from the track back in to the bottom of the
bowl, thus permitting parts that are properly oriented.
Orientation involves taking parts that are not oriented
properly and physically reorienting them. This can be
accomplished by means of series of obstacles located along
the track.
These obstacles allow the parts to pass through it only if they
meet certain orientation criteria.
Parts exiting the bowl feeder travel down the track to some
holding fixture
A problem arises in this type is that back pressure caused by
the parts along the track leading the holding fixture.
To limit the back pressure at the holding fixture turn off the
vibration of the bowl when ever there are large number of
parts in the track reach an undesirable level.
On-off control of the bowl feeder can easily be accomplished
by providing a sensor in the track that detects the presence
of parts.
By properly positioning the sensor the back pressure can be
controlled to smooth pickup of parts by robot.
Vibratory Bowl Feeders
Shapes of filtering traps efficiently computable
Magazine Feeder:
The use of magazine feeder is one technique in which pre
oriented parts can be received at work station.
Pre oriented means that the parts that come out of production
process already oriented. The parts of same orientation are
placed one on the top of next in to some kind of tube or
container called part magazine.
The disadvantage of this type is it will hold fewer parts than
bowl feeder, so it must be replaced and refilled frequently
requiring a greater level of human intervention at work station.
Trays & Pallets:
Trays & pallets are used where it is too expensive to use bowl
feeders and can be used for variety of different part geometries.
The parts must be located in known position and orientation
with respect to certain reference point on the device.
An issue of great importance in this type of system is that
containers must be positioned accurately at the work stations
and the parts must be positioned precisely in the containers.
Assembly operations
Assembly operations can be divided in to two categories
1. Parts mating: Two or more parts are brought in contact with each other
2. Parts joining: two parts are mated and then additional steps are taken to
ensure that the parts will maintain their relation ship with each other.
Parts mating operations include:
1. Peg in hole: this operation involves the insertion of one part( peg) in to
other part(hole). It is the most common assembly. There are two types of
peg in hole tasks are round peg in hole and square peg in hole.
with round peg in hole robot needs 5 DOF to insert the piece with square
peg in hole it needs all 6 DOF in order to mate the corners of square peg
with corners of hole.
2. Hole on peg: it is same as peg in hole. An example for this is gear on
3. Multiple peg in hole: this is another variation of peg in hole except that a
part has multiple pegs and the other part has corresponding multiple
holes. Ex: assembly of micro electric chip in to circuit board
4. Stacking: In this type of assembly several components are placed one
over the other with no pins or devices for locating parts relative to one
Part joining tasks include:
i. Fastening screws: the use of screws is a common method used in
assembly, self tapping screws are often used and this eliminates
the need to perform extra operation of tapping. There are 2 ways in
which robot can perform screw fastening operation: it can drive the
screw by advancing and simultaneously rotating its wrist or it can
manipulate a special end effectors consisting of power screw driver.
ii. Retainers: retainers can be pins inserted through several parts in
order to maintain relationship among the parts.
iii. Press fits: this is another variation of peg in hole except that the
parts mated may have interference fit.
iv. Snap fits: a snap fit involves joining of two parts in which the mating
element of the part possess a temporary interference that only
occur during joining process. When parts are pressed together one
of the parts elastically deforms to accommodate the interference.
v. Welding and other joining methods like soldering brazing etc.
vi. Adhesives: glue and similar adhesives are required to join the parts
vii.Crimping: crimping refers to the process of deforming one part to
fasten it to other part. Ex: sheet metal operations..
Series assembly system

Single workstation
The series system requires a dozen robots plus a part transfer
system to perform some basic assembly sequence.
In case of intermittent transfer system the failure of single
component will cause the entire system to stop.
Use of non synchronous transfer would reduce the
interdependence of the stations on one another.
Work cell controller: A programmable controller was used as the
work cell controller for this application the functions include:
Interlocking to detect part present at each station.
Controlling the movement of the pallet fixtures through the
Confirming the correctness of the assembly.
Synchronizing robot operations
Selecting robot functions
Providing system status display
Controlling tests & inspections.
Informing the operator when to refill the magazines and
Types of robots by
Industrial robots - Industrial robots are robots
used in an industrial manufacturing environment.
Usually these are articulated arms specifically
developed for such applications as welding, material
handling, painting and others. If we judge purely by
application this type could also include some
automated guided vehicles and other robots.

Domestic or household robots - Robots used at

home. This type of robots includes many quite
different devices such as robotic vacuum cleaners,
robotic pool cleaners, sweepers, gutter cleaners and
other robots that can do different chores. Also, some
surveillance and telepresence robots could be
regarded as household robots if used in that
Medical robots - Robots used in medicine and
medical institutions. First and foremost - surgery
robots. Also, some automated guided vehicles
and maybe lifting aides.
Service robots - Robots that dont fall into other
types by usage. These could be different data
gathering robots, robots made to show off
technologies, robots used for research, etc.
Military robots - Robots used in military. This
type of robots includes bomb disposal robots,
different transportation robots, reconnaissance
drones. Often robots initially created for military
purposes can be used in law enforcement, search
and rescue and other related fields.
*Entertainment robots - These are robots used
for entertainment. This is a very broad category. It
starts with toy robots such as robosapien or the
running alarm clock and ends with real
heavyweights such as articulated robot arms used
as motion simulators.
*Space robots - single out robots used in space as
a separate type. This type would include robots
used on the International Space Station, Canadarm
that was used in Shuttles, as well as Mars rovers
and other robots used in space.

*Hobby and competition robots - Robots that

you create. Line followers, sumo-bots, robots made
just for fun and robots made for competition.
see a press photograph of the Sojourner mobile
robot that ultimately explored the surface of Mars.
This is more of an R/C car than a robot as it was
completely remote controlled from Earth.
The Sojourner is a 6-wheeled
vehicle of a rocker bogie design
which allows the traverse of
obstacles a wheel diameter
(13cm) in size. Each wheel is
independently actuated and
geared (2000:1). The front and
rear wheels are independently
steerable, providing the
capability for the vehicle to turn
in place. The vehicle has a top
speed of 0.4m/min.
Space Robotics: SpaceClimber (Photo:
Studio Banck GmbH & Co. KG)

Underwater Robotics: CManipulator

(Photo: Jan Albiez, DFKI GmbH)
Todays Robots
Industrial robots perform many factory jobs
Todays Robots
Medical Robots
Assist with surgery
Transport materials
Dispense medicine

Lt. Col. Charles Reilly performs laser eye surgery on

Senior Airman John Paul Marsh Aug. 23 at the newly
opened Defense Department Joint Warfighter
Refractive Surgery Center at Lackland Air Force
Base, Texas.

The mobile robot (left) can roll to a

patient's bedside and enable two-way,
real time communication between a
physician and a patient, patient's
family, other physicians, and nurses.
Photo by Army Institute of Surgical
Todays Robots
Todays Robots
Household Robots
Mow lawn
Image Resources
Air Force Photos (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2008,
from media_search.asp?

Honda Walk Assist (2008). Retrieved April 27, 2009,


U.S. Department of Defense (2006). Retrieved

November 100, 2008, from newsarticle.aspx?