Industrial Robot Resources
This is my list of resources for learning about industrial robotics.Â It includes the resources I know about; while I think it’s pretty broad, I am sure it is not comprehensive.
I will keep this page up to date; when I come across a new and interesting robot resource I will add it here.
- Wikipedia has a lot of good information, starting at theÂ industrial robot page.
- The Robotics Industry Association (RIA) website has a lot of resources.
- Control.com is always worth checking, especially using its search or Google (use site:control.com in your search string). .
- Some places you might not think about, but are worth checking include LinkedIn groups and youtube.
- Most important of all: be good at advanced Google searches.Â I’ve found Google to be better than Bing for technical searches.
Industrial Robot Companies
Since the RIA directory doesnâ€™t separate out the robot vendors from other suppliers, here is my list of companies that make traditional industrial robot arms:
- ABB Robots
- Adept Robotics
- Codian Robotics (does not use dedicated controller)
- Comau Robotics
- Denso Robotics
- Intelligent Actuator (IAI)
- Janome Industrial Equipement
- Kawasaki Robotics
- Kuka Robotics
- MABI Robotic
- Nachi Robotic Systems
- Precise Automation
- Robots And Design, US Rep Robocept
- Sepro America
- ST Robotics
- Staubli Robotics
- Yamaha Robotics
There are a number of PACs and motion controllers that now support entering kinematic information and using inverse kinemtics. I haven’t research this topic extensively, so I can’t comment on the level of support, and I have probably missed some controllers.
I also doubt that the controllers are truly equivalent to traditional robot controllers, especially when it comes to non-kinematic features. However, they may be a better fit for your application.
- BeckhoffÂ TwinCAT3
- Bosch Rexroth IndraMotion MLC (supports servo motors, hydraulics, and robots)
- HS Motion (Servotronix) softMC
- Omron NJ Series PACs
- Jetter (Kinematic transforms mentioned here)
- Rockwell Allen Bradley PACs
- Schneider / Elau (kinematics for SCARA, articulated, delta, etc robots; delta robots)
Collaborative robots are robots that are meant to be used in the same space as people, and have special safety precautions.
- ABB has the YuMi
- Bionic Robotics
- F&P Personal Robotics
- Fetch Robotics
- gomtec Gmbh
- Kawada Nextage
- Kuka iiwa
- pi4 Workerbot
- Precise Automation PF400
- Rethink Robotics, maker of Baxter
- Universal Robotics
Open Source and Proprietary Robot Frameworks
Most robot frameworks seem oriented towards autonomous robots, not the traditional industrial robot arm. I’m just listing a few below; for more frameworks, the Wikipedia link below is a good start.
- EMC2 is primarily a open source CNC controller, but contributors have been adding features including ladder logic and some kinematic support (e.g. for hexapod and SCARA-type robots).
- ROS (Robot Operating System)
- Open Source Robotics (Wikipedia) and Robot Software (Wikipedia)
- MS Robotic Developer Studio (MSRS)
These are robot armsÂ that, at a glance, appearÂ to be a step up from hobby robot arms, butÂ aren’t comparable to traditional industrial robots (at least, not yet).
Trade magazines can be a useful source of information, especially for keeping up with the latest products and industry hype.Â Make sure to check the author’s bio; many trade magazine articles are written by vendor employees.Â These articles often do have useful information, but you need take the author’s bias into account.Â Here are some trade magazines I’ve read:
- Automation World
- Control Design
- Control Engineering
- Motion System Design
- Vision Systems Design (yes, it’s mainly about machine vision, butÂ that includes vision for robots, and many application stories)
- Sometimes the more general trade magazines such as Machine Design and Design News have robot related articles.