Robot Primer 1: Introduction
A Programmer’s Introduction To Industrial Robots
Since many books and articles on industrial robotics have already been written, why I am spending time writing this? Because I am frustrated by the existing material. The books are typically textbooks or academic books, going into the nuances of robot control theory or painting a broad overview. In the magazines and on-line, Iâ€™ve seen marketing white papers and application stories, which can be useful, but donâ€™t go into depth.
Iâ€™ve sub-titled this series A Programmerâ€™s Introduction To Industrial Robots because I am writing from a software developerâ€™s point of view and my goal is to give some idea of what industrial robots can do, not to write an authoritative text.Â (I’m using Robot Primer for the title because that’s its short but still gives the basic idea).
My robotic experience has been using Adept and Denso robots to do precision assembly and test. I donâ€™t claim to be a robot expert, but I did have to do some uncommon operations and thus become familiar with Adept and Denso tech support. I had good experiences with both companiesâ€™ robots and technical support, and would use them again, but Iâ€™ve also heard good things about other vendors.
I view robots as an alternative to other automation options such ball screw stages, pneumatic cylinders, and such, not a replacement for people. This view probably reflects my Silicon Valley background.
Since I am most familiar with Denso robots I might be a little biased towards them, but most of what I cover should be applicable to other manufacturers.
I am only going to cover tradition robotic arms with controllers (such as SCARA and articulated robots), not autonomous robots, mobile robots, etc.
The goal of this series is to provide a basic understanding of industrial robots, with an emphasis on the controllerâ€™s programming and capabilities, so that by the end you should have an idea of when a robot might be a good choice, and then can do more in-depth research on your own.