Robotic Arms in Manufacturing: New Technologies Drive Growth
Collaborative robots, 3D vision, and advanced gripper technologies to broaden application scope
A robotic arm is a programmable mechanical arm that consists of actuators placed at the joints to enable different functions and handle varying payloads, similar to how the human arm works. Some common activities performed by robotic arms include: picking and placing, sorting, welding, screwing, machine tending, painting, and injection molding. In general, robotic arms are viewed as “industrial robots” and carry out repetitive as well as dangerous processes; they complete certain tasks faster and more efficiently than humans do and are designed to perform with higher accuracy.
The automotive industry has experienced the highest adoption volume as several manufacturers are using robots to carry out welding, picking-and-placing, material handling, and machine-tending applications. However, the need for automation in manufacturing to meet mass production and customer demands and to lower worker strain triggered the adoption of robotic arms in other industries, such as healthcare and oil and gas.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are a subset of industrial robotic arms that are, however, better equipped (integrated with sophisticated vision technology, sensors, and artificial intelligence [AI]) to carry out the precise handling of materials, such as working with semiconductors.
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