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FOCUS ON:
INDUSTRIAL
ROBOTS
AND THE
MODERN
WORKFORCE
A compendium of technical articles from Machine Design

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Copyright 2017 by Penton Media,Inc. All rights reserved.


MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY

FOCUS ON:
INDUSTRIAL
ROBOTS
AND THE
MODERN
WORKFORCE
INTRODUCTION

The world of robotics is growing at a fast rate. More jobs


are being automated and robotic systems are leading the
way to help companies perform human-like tasks. This
e-book will serve as a guide to some of the most common
industrial robots, where the future of collaborative robots
lies, and how automation will be greatly impacted by their
implementation.

CARLOS GONZALEZ
Technology Editor
Machine Design TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1:
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS?....................................... 2
ADVANCED ROBOTIC SYSTEMS:
CHAPTER 2:
THE MANUFACTURING LABOR FORCE
OF TOMORROW.............................................. 7
CHAPTER 3: HOW TO MAKE YOUR ROBOTS MOVE............ 12
CHAPTER 4:
MOTORS AND DRIVES LEADING
THE WAY FOR ROBOTS................................... 15
CHAPTER 5: THE AUTOMATION BOOM IN MEXICO............. 19
MORE RESOURCES
FROM MACHINE DESIGN... 23

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CARLOS GONZALEZ, Technology Editor

CHAPTER 1:

WHATS THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

INDUSTRIAL
ROBOTS?
As the world of robots expands in the
industrial space, its prudent to get
to up to speed on the multiple types
available and their capabilities.

I
n todays industrial automation field, robots handle difficult, Cylindrical robots
dangerous, and repeated tasks. These jobs include the lifting of (See Fig. 3)
heavy objects, pick and placing of parts, assembly of compo- A cylindrical robot has at least one rotary joint at the base and
nents, or assisting manual labor in sorting products. Robots can at least one prismatic joint to connect the links. Along the joint
be grouped into several categories depending on their move- axis, the rotary joint uses a rotational motion; along the prismatic
ment, degrees of freedom, axes of rotation, and function. joint, it moves in a linear motion. Their movements occur within
(See Fig. 1) a cylindrical-shaped work envelope. Cylindrical robots are used
for assembly operations, handling of machine tools and die-cast
Stationary Robots machines, and spot welding.
Stationary robots are those that perform their task without
changing positions. The term stationary is more associated with Spherical robots
the base of the robot and not the whole robot. The robot moves (See Fig. 4)
above the base to perform the desired operation. These robots These are also known as polar robots. The arm is connected to
manipulate their environment by controlling the position and the base with a twisting joint, and has a combination of two rotary
orientation of an end-effector. End-effectors could be a drilling, joints and one linear joint. The axes of the combined joints form
welding, or gripper device. a polar coordinate system and operate within a spherical-shaped
work envelope. These robots are used for handling of machine
Stationary robots break down into different groups: tools, spot welding, die casting, fettling machines, and gas and arc
Cartesian/gantry robots welding.
(See Fig. 2)
Cartesian, or gantry, robots (also known as rectilinear robots) SCARA robots
have three linear joints that use the Cartesian coordinate system. (See Fig. 5)
They operate within the x-, y-, and z-axis by using linear guide SCARA robots are primarily used for assembly applications.
rails. These guide rails help translate the end-effector into the The compliant arm, which is cylindrical in design, is comprised of
correct position by moving the each linear guide rail in the two parallel joints that provide it with compliance in one selected
corresponding axis. These robots are typically used for pick- plane. These robots are used for pick-and-place work, application
and-place work, application of sealant, assembly operations, or of sealant, assembly operations, and handling of machine tools.
handling machine tools and arc welding.

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1. The chart above lists all of the different types of robots available today. (Image courtesy of Robot Park)

Cylindrical robot
Cartesian robot

Y
Z Y

2. A Cartesian robot operates in the X-, Y-, and Z-axes to reach 3. The cylindrical robot has a rotary joint along the joint axis for
its end position. rotation movement and a prismatic joint for linear motion.

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Robotic arms robots are primarily used for assembly operations, die-casting,
(See Fig. 6) fettling machines, gas and arc welding, and applying paint.
Robotic arms, or articulated robots, feature rotary joints that
can range from a simple two-joint structure to a complicated Parallel robots
structure with 10 or more joints. The arm is connected to a base (See Fig. 7)
that has a twisting joint. Rotary joints connect the links in the arm; Parallel robots are also known as delta robots. They are built
each joint is a different axis and provides an additional degree of
freedom. Industrial robotic arms have four or six axes. Such 2
1
Z2
Polar robot X1
Z0 Z1
Lin
1 k2
Link
X1
X2

X0
Z3 Z4
d3

Link 3
Y Link 0 X3 X4
Link 4
(end-effector)
YE
ZE
XE
4

5. A SCARA robot is mainly used in assembly applications due


4. With its combined rotational joint, two rotary joints, and a to the nature of its movement, such as jobs that require drilling
linear joint, the spherical robot operates in the polar coordinate or tapping assemblies.
system to achieve a spherical-shaped work envelope.
Fixed platform
Actuators

Third-axis motor cover (rear side) Second arm

Fourth axis (J4)


(+) Fourth-axis
Second arm cover cover
(+)
(+)
()
(+) ()
() Third axis (J3)
Sixth axis (J6) () Fifth axis
(J5)
Bars
First arm
(+)
Second-axis motor cover
(rear side) () Second axis (J2)
() (+)

Base First axis


(J1) End-effector
Mobile platform
6. Robotic arms are some of the most common robots used
in manufacturing today. They are essential to assembly 7. Parallel or delta robots are used often in pick-and-place
operations that require heavy lifting or dangerous movements. operations such as drug- and food-sorting jobs.

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8. The ARTI tracked robot from Transcend Robotics


exemplifies how these robots can be used to navigate difficult
terrain.

from jointed parallelograms connected to a common


base. The parallelograms move a single end of
arm tooling in a dome-shaped envelope.
They are used primarily in the food,
pharmaceutical, and electronic
industries. The robot itself is capable
of precise movement, making it ideal
for pick-and-place operations.

Wheeled Robots
Wheeled robots are vehicle-based and change their position with
the help of a drive system or track system. Such robots are easy to
construct mechanically and they have a low associated cost. Easy
to move around, these robots operate in different environments
and come in various forms, including single-wheel, two-wheeled,
three-wheeled, four-wheeled, multi-wheeled, and tracked.
(See Fig. 8)
An example of a wheeled robot is the ARTI tracked robotics
platform developed by Transcend Robotics. Targeted at unmanned
ground vehicle operation, the design can handle a large variety of
loads and scale most terrain, thanks to its patented Safeguard
Joints. The joints help stabilize the platform over difficult terrain,
ensuring that it is able to climb steps without flipping over. It can
be used in uneven terrain, as well as to transport equipment in a
warehouse or office building. The robot is customizable, meaning
users can add sensors, robotic arms, or different payloads to
complete a task. 9. DRC-Hubo won the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge
by performing complex tasks, such as driving a car and
Legged Robots opening doors. (Image courtesy of KAIST and Rainbow Co.)
Legged robots are also mobile robots, but with more complicated
movement. The robots feature motorized leg appendages to legged/quadrupedal, six-legged (six-legged hexapod), and robots
control their locomotion, allowing them to perform effectively with many legs.
on uneven ground. These robots tend to cost more, though, due (See Fig. 9)
to their complexity. Varieties of legged robots include one-legged, The DRC-Hubo robot is an example of a legged robot. It was
two-legged/bipedal (humanoids), three-legged/tri-pedal, four- a first-place finalist in the DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2015.

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11. The Kilobots are a perfect example of swarm collaborative


10. Festo designs these robotic animals in the hopes that robots. They were created in the lab of Radhika Nagpal, the
animal-like movements can be replicated using modern Fred Kavli professor of computer science at the Harvard
automation practices. By taking this route, Festo is learning School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). (Image
how to apply natures mechanics in everyday engineering. courtesy of Harvard SEAS)
(Image courtesy of Festo)
(See Fig. 11)
Hubo was required to perform complex tasks such as driving Swarm and modular robots are comprised of a series of robots.
a car, cutting holes into walls, opening doors, and negotiating Swarm robots consist of multiple smaller robots that operate
difficult and uneven terrain. The robot operates on two legs, but as cooperative modules. However, they do not create a single
benefits from being able to utilize rollers built into the knees. This united robot. Modular robots also feature multiple robots and
feature helped Hubo complete the required competition tasks in are more functional than a robotic swarm. A single module can
the shortest time. have self-mobility and operate alone. Modular robots are useful
for jobs that require significant coverage due to their versatile
Animal-based, Swarm, and Modular Robots configurations. n
(See Fig. 10)
Several robot designs are based on animal movement. Robots
that can either swim or fly are inspired by fish and birds. Robots
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created by Festo exemplify this trendthey help in the study of BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
how to use natures natural mechanics in current automation.

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CHAPTER 2:

ADVANCED
ROBOTIC SYSTEMS:
THE MANUFACTURING LABOR
FORCE OF TOMORROW
Advanced and collaborative robots are answering the call of a diminishing manufacturing labor force.

T
he automation industry is seeing a shift in its labor Labor Woes and the Future of Robots
force. As many current workers get ready to retire, a As reported by Deloitte.com and the Manufacturing Institute,
younger workforce has yet to arrive to take its place. the United States will face a labor shortage of 3.5 million workers
In response to this shortfall, the advanced robotic in the years leading up to 2025. It is predicted that 2 million of
market has grown significantly. Advanced robotic sys- those jobs will most likely go unfilled due to the skills gap. The
tems and collaborative robots are taking center stage current workforce is close to retirement; by 2025, 2.7 million
at a time when manufacturing industries need them the most. professionals will exit the manufacturing workforce.

The graph above High Robot Density in Countries Worldwide


highlights the number Number of multipurpose robots (all types) per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry
of multipurpose 600
industrial robots in 531
the manufacturing 500
industry. The leading 398
manufacturing countries 400
Average robot density worldwide: 69
in the world are all 305 301
Units

300
above the average
212
density of 69 robot 190 188
200 176 169 160
units. (Image courtesy 150 136
128 127 126 120 119 110
of the International 93 86 79
100 71
Federation of Robotics)
0
Republic of Korea

Singapore

Japan

Sweden

Taiwan

Denmark

USA

Belgium

Italy

Spain

Canada

Austria

France

Finland

Netherlands

Switzerland

Czech Republic

Australia

Slovakia

United Kingdom
Germany

Slovenia

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Baxter and Sawyer are the friendly collaborative robots, or cobots, from Rethink Robotics. They not only perform physical tasks,
but are self-learning and continuous-improvement equipment for the manufacturing line. (Image courtesy of Rethink Robotics
Inc.)

According to Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing cost, and performance, they developed a future industry view of
Institute, the challenge will only grow as the demographics of our more than 2,600 robot-industry-country combinations and their
workforce evolve with retirements, new technological advances likelihood of adoption by the industry. Their predictions are:
requiring a higher level of training and certification, and our K-12 By 2025, robots will perform 25% of all labor tasks. This is due to
education system, which continues to lack the necessary focus on improvements in performance and reduction in costs.
STEM education. The United States along with Canada, Japan, South Korea, and
This future labor shortage does, however, present an opportunity the United Kingdom will be leading the way in robot adoption.
for robotic systems. The use of industrial robots has been around The four industries leading the charge are computer and electronic
for the last four decades. These are mostly large robotic arms products; electrical equipment and appliances; transportation
programmed to lift heavy objects, weld, paint, and perform other equipment; and machinery. They will account for 75% of all
stationary tasks. Simpler and mundane tasks (e.g., taking out the robotic installations till 2025.
trash) are performed by manual labor. This is primarily because Due to a wider adoption of robots, especially for small
of the inexpensiveness of manual labor compared to buying and manufacturers, worker output will increase by 30%.
installing robotic systems as well as the capabilities and safety of Labor cost is expected to decrease 18% to 25% in countries like
those robots. the United States, China, Germany, and Japan.
Advances in roboticsespecially collaborative robots, robotic Leading countries in robot adoption will see an improvement in
safety, and a faster return of investmenthave increased the use national cost competitiveness. For example, South Korea will see
of robots. According to a 2015 study from the Boston Consulting a 6% point improvement relative to the United States by 2025 if
Group, the current percent of industries installing advanced all other factors stay the same; driving up their manufacturing
robots are around 2% to 3% annually. They predict that this will output. High-cost countries like Russia and Brazil will see their
increase to 10% annually by 2025. relative cost competitiveness decrease.
In certain industries, the use of robots for manual labor may Manufacturing tasks will become more complex with the
see a jump of 40% or more. The price of hardware and software adoption of more robots. Low-cost laborers will be required
is projected to decrease by more than 20% within the same to master new skills and work in conjunction with the robots
timeframe. in order to succeed, and to continue working in the advanced
The study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group analyzed manufacturing plants.
21 industries in the worlds 25 leading manufacturing export
economies. This accounts for more than 90% of the global trade The Rising Role of Robots
in goods. By analyzing five common robot setups for investment, As previously mentioned, 25% of all labor tasks will be

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 2: ADVANCED ROBOTIC SYSTEMS

completed by robotic systems. Leading the charge are collaborative robots need to be a PC with arms.
robots, or cobots. In September, the International Federation of (See fig 3 and 4)
Robotics released the World Robotics Report 2016. The report Several companies are focusing on cobots. Universal Robots
predicts that between 2017 to 2019, sales of industrial robots has long been a collaborative robot company with its UR robot
will increase by 13% and that human-robot collaboration will arm series. These robots can be used right next to the operator
have a breakthrough period. This enables humans and robots to without the need for safety cages or light curtains. Now the firm is
work side-by-side safely without fences, increasing production, introducing its Universal Robots+ online store. It allows users to
efficiency, and quality. not only select their robot, but also end-effectors and accessories
Jim Lawton, chief product and marketing officer for Rethink they want to use in conjunction with the robot.
Robotics, has highlighted the importance of cobots in the Universal Robots is providing a one-stop solution with parts
engineering workplace. Lawton describes two types of labor: tasks and accessories that are guaranteed to work with the robotic
that people are well-suited for, which involves critical thinking,
dexterity, flexibility, and other qualities unique to humans; and
labor tasks that are menial and repetitive.
The latter category includes pick-and-place, sorting, and simple
filtering jobs thatwhether due to space, safety, or high
costare performed by people rather than robots. The
person became the plug, meaning that they would
take on the task of what the traditional robot
could not do, says Lawton. This is where cobots
come into play. The average age of a person
in manufacturing is 68 years old, he adds. The
younger workers entering the market are not looking
to perform these labor-intensive and menial tasks.
The benefits provided by cobots are high because they
are easy to deploy, offer safe working conditions, and are
easy to repurpose. Many small companies have
short product lifecycles or have several tasks
to be completed. In large companies, like a car
manufacturing plant, robotic arms are stationary.
According to Lawton, 65% of all robots are used
in the automotive industry.
Cobots are easy to move from job to job and
reprogrammable to suit the current needs of
the facility. The user can simply add more logic
and use it in conjunction with IoT sensors, data,
and analytics. Baxter and Sawyer from Rethink
Robotics use vision systems to implement
analytic learning. The improvement process is
done autonomously.
The cobots learning capabilities move
manufacturing lines from a reaction to prediction.
The cobots learn and manipulate the line to help
production efficiency. As Lawton noted, these

Universal Robots has turned its UR product line


into a one-stop shop for robotic equipment.
Along with purchasing a robotic arm, one can
acquire end-effectors, sensors, and software
to provide a complete robotic system. (Images
courtesy of Universal Robots)

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arm. An example would be the line of parts from Robotiq. The performance level safe.
company offers end-effectors, mounted cameras, and force-torque The MiR100 also has its own access point, which allows users
sensors that can help detect, scan, and move a part in place. to pull a web-browser interface for full access control. According
Not all cobots are robotic arms. The MiR100 is a multipurpose, to Ed Mullen, MiRs vice president of sales for North America,
self-automated, in-house transportation unit. The benefit of this one can operate an entire fleet of MiR100s. They work in tandem,
robot is its ability to transport supplies over any floor layout on and specific orders can be issued to dispatch the closest robot for
its own. The cobots present main targets are industrial sites and a task.
hospitals, both of which require transport of parts and medication.
The MiR100 learns the plant floor by scanning the layout into How to Integrate Robotic Enhancements
the robots computer. The cobot can plan a route now knowing the The world is getting ready to embrace robots and cobots.
floorplan. On-board sensors help it avoid people and obstacles, Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing
and can execute a re-plan route if necessary. The MiR100 is Cat 3 Automation (A3), recently testified in front of the U.S. House of
Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee
about the state of advanced robotics. Burnstein
spoke to the Subcommittee on Commerce,
Manufacturing and Trade about how robots will be
disruptive technology for many industries across
the United States.
In an interview with Machine Design, Burnstein
highlighted the automation advances of advanced
robotics, including improved productivity,
speed and flexibility of production, predictive
maintenance, less downtime, Internet of Things
(IoT) implementation with sensors, data collection,
and increasing the manufacturing industry.
Burnstein also acknowledged that because of
robotic automation, many companies have been
able to keep manufacturing within the U.S. instead
of looking abroad for production services. Last
March, A3 released Technical Specification 15066
(TS15066), a guideline for cobots. Specifically,
TS15066 highlights the design of collaborative
robot systems, including such important aspects as:
Definition of a collaborative robotic system.
Important characteristics of the safety-related
control system for collaborative operation.
Identification of factors to be considered in the
design of a collaborative robot system.
Built-in safety-related systems that can be used
effectively in a collaborative operation, along with
requirements for their effective use.
Steps in implementing a collaborative application.
Guidance on maximum allowable speeds and
minimum protective distances, as well the formula
for determining the protective separation distance.
Data to help determine threshold limit values
for power and force-limiting to avoid pain or
The MiR100 is an autonomous robotic assistant that can traverse any discomfort on the part of the human operator.
floorplan, such as a manufacturing plant or hospital floor, for the purposes of To prepare for the new role robotics will play
delivering goods and equipment. The cobot has built-in sensors for guidance in manufacturing, industries need to understand
and an access point for web-browser interface control. (Image courtesy of the global landscape. They will need a clear
MiR) understanding of the trends in robot adoption,

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including the price point and the performance capabilities, and


how these factors will change in relation to the total cost of labor.
These companies will also have to know how to benchmark the
competition and be aware of how their competitors are handling
robotic integration.
Companies will be required to stay current with technological
advances. If a firm is considering investing in robots and sees
that new gripping features or flexibility are on the way, they may
choose to hold off on investing until the right moment. Lastly,
they will need to prep the workforce and the organization. They
should also take into account how the labor force will need to
change in the next decade.
Workers will be required to learn more complex tasks. Skills such
as programming, automation implementation, and experience
with robotic systems will become crucial. These employees will
be sought out as adoption grows. Companies should also start to
adapt their facilities for robotic systems. This includes upgrading
existing networks (power and data) and adjusting handling and
operation procedures. Organizations could also start to train
their existing or incoming workforce by providing certification in
future robotic systems. n

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS AND THE MODERN WORKFORCE

RICK WOOD, Managing Director, Rollon Corp.


ALEX BONAIRE, Product Manager,
Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc.

CHAPTER 3:

HOW TO MAKE
ROBOTS MOVE
To get the most mileage of out your robot, add the dimension of mobility by incorporating a linear
seventh axis.

A
s robotics use continues to
expand across industries
from automotive and elec-
tronics to consumer goods
and plastics, system design-
ers and integrators have
more choices than ever in how to implement
these robots. According to the Robotic Indus-
tries Association, a new record was set in the
first quarter of 2016 with more than 7,400 ro-
bots valued at $402 million ordered by North
American companies alone. With regard to
applications, the largest gains occurred in spot
welding, assembly, and material handling.
Many of these tasks are accomplished by
sophisticated six-axis, articulated arm robots
that can perform highly precise operations.
However, the automation world sometimes Adding a linear seventh axis to an articulated-arm, six-axis robot can expand the
requires these robots to be mobile. This is work envelope and allow for a smaller, lower-cost robot to be used.
especially true in situations with production
sites that have limited resources. When it include load capacity, speed and acceleration details, precision
comes to moving these robots into position, the most logical and accuracy, duty cycle, and lifetime requirements. Here we will
option is to add a seventh axisa linear shuttle system that moves explore the most important considerations.
the robot to different stations to extend its operating area.
By adding a linear seventh axis, the work envelope can be Load Capacity
expanded to the point of being able to use a smaller robot to Thinking about the robots required load capacity is a great
accomplish the same work. In addition, parts can be transferred place to start, as these details will directly impact the loads that
to multiple workstations at greater distances than what is possible the actuator is required to handle as well. The robot load has two
with a static robot. In terms of efficiency, adding a seventh axis elementsdynamic and staticthat must be understood before
allows more machines and processes to be serviced with one robot, choosing the most suitable actuator.
which has the additional benefit of reducing capital costs. Static loads involve those that occur when the robot is securely
Although the idea of using a linear actuator to move a robot in place and doing its work. It is important to determine both the
into position sounds simple enough, many factors go into making center of gravity and mass of the load. Will the load be picked
sure the setup is correctly sized and specified. Some of these straight up, close to the robot body, or is an extended reach

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There are several things to


consider when designing a
seventh axis for a robotic
arm. Placement, mounting
surfaces, clearance space,
speed, and maximum load
must be designed for prior
to picking the actuator rails.

required? The robots base must be strong enough to support the important to determine the condition of the available mounting
load, and sturdy and secure enough not to tip over when the robot surface. At this point, one should consider the following:
arm reaches and moves its payload. Is the concrete thick enough to accommodate the weight and
Load weight, deflection, and center of gravity are the most load of both the robot and rail?
important factors to define when it comes to static loads. Future How many mounting points will be required given the available
use of the robot and rail must also be considered. Think about concrete?
how the robot might be used beyond the current application and Is adding more concrete an option?
plan ahead in order to accommodate higher loads. Along these Are the surfaces leveled?
lines, keep in mind that multiple robots can be mounted to the Will the target installation area allow the rail system to be leveled
same rail as needs arise, which is another factor in determining with the amount of adjustability provided?
the required load capacity. If not, consider various options for leveling and enhancing the
In terms of dynamic load, which comes into play when the mounting surface well before installation is scheduled.
robot moves along its linear path, other factors must be taken
into account. Some questions that you should ask yourself during Speed and Acceleration
design are: To match the actuator to the robot, it is vital
How big is the robot? to know the required travel speed as well
Will a workpiece be carried along to another station? as acceleration and deceleration rates.
How fast is the robot required to move? For instance:
How will the robot be positioned as it moves to its next work Will the robot be quickly
area? moved into position to
A correctly sized safety margin is another critical factor that
must be factored into the load calculation. In addition, hard stops
must be appropriately sized so that a runaway robot would be
prevented from leaving the rail if it were to run into the stop at full
speed with a full loada worst-case scenario. Once the dynamic
load details are known, an actuator may be selected to meet these
requirements.
For example, there are actuators that can move dynamic axial
load capacities from 780 to 5,510 N and stroke lengths from An actuator rail can be
100 mm to 6 m. Traditionally, the speed of travel would used to shuttle a robot
be slow due to excessive weight; however, newer back and forth. The rail
actuators can achieve speeds of up to 5 m/s. must be designed and sized
Furthermore, both lighter and heavier duty appropriately for the speed,
actuators are available to fit a wide range of length of travel, load, and work
robotic applications. environment.
While making load calculations, it is also

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 3: HOW TO MAKE ROBOTS MOVE

certain portions of the linear path for additional support. Think


about adding beams in key areas such as pickup and drop-off
points, or where the robot is required to stop and complete a
vision task such as taking a picture. The idea is to carefully define
what will occur along the robots length of travel and add rigidity
as needed to improve accuracy. If these key details are not known
or defined upfront, undersizing, or oversizing is likely to occur in
terms of choosing the correct actuator setup for the linear seventh
axis.

Duty Cycle, Lifetime, and Cable


Consider both the applications duty cycle and cycle time as a
Rollons Tecline place to start. Will the robot be used in a 24/7 operation or only
seventh-axis shuttle a few hours each day? Also think about lifetime requirements.
system for moving Does the robot need to run for two, five, or 10 years? Related
robots and heavy loads for to these questions are maintenance and lubrication issues
long distances is available with for both the robot and the linear actuators it will
recirculating ball guides or rollers travel along. Some actuators can go 20,000 km
while the driving system has been or more without re-lubrication whereas others
designed with rack and pinion. The shuttle need more regular attention.
is equipped with adjustable ties to achieve Selecting the right cable is another important
alignment even on irregular surfaces. consideration. Most standard robot cables are
not rated for repeated flexure, so keep in mind
complete a pick-and place motion or assembly task and then that optional cables often must be purchased. Cables
retracted to its original position? should be high flex, and one must account for the bend radius
Or will it move a heavy workpiece from one area to another? and rated number of flex cycles the cable can withstand before
It is extremely important to know these details before selecting failure. On top of that, the cable track mounting size and location
the actuator. While some linear actuators are designed to handle must be carefully planned in advance to ensure that all necessary
heavy loads at speeds to 5 m/s, others are meant for lighter and cabling will fit and cable track movement will not interfere with
slower operations. robotic movements.
Maintenance will also be impacted by the operating environment.
Precision and Accuracy In a dirtier setting with metal chips, sawdust, or grease, the
It is very important to define the level of precision, accuracy, actuator will need more protection, such as a sealed or hidden
and repeatability required by the application. When moving belt for felt wipers to clear debris away from the linear rails. It
a robot into position along a linear path so that it can do its is important to think about paying for the amount of protection
job, motion must be reliable and repeatable. In fact, it is the required by the application to avoid over-specifying.
applications accuracy and repeatability requirements that should
drive the selection of rail hardware. Technical Help Available
Consider that additional support beams may be necessary if In many cases, adding a linear seventh axis to an articulated
multiple robots will share a rail, so as to help prevent deflection arm, six-axis robot can expand the work envelope to the point of
during simultaneous movements. Also keep in mind that locating being able to use a smaller robot to accomplish the same work.
pins or other alignment features should be included in the rail Further, while specifying a shuttle system comprised of linear
design to give the robot a reference point for calibration. For actuators seems simple enough, it is important to define the
situations that require very high levels of positioning accuracy, application in as much detail as possible. Many actuator styles and
consider adding a linear encoder. The drive system should also sizes are available, each with unique features suited to different
be taken into account. In terms of accuracy, ball-screw-driven applications and work environments. n
actuators achieve the greatest accuracy, followed by rack-and-
pinion systems and then belt-driven units.
Another aspect to consider in terms of positioning accuracy
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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS AND THE MODERN WORKFORCE

CARLOS GONZALEZ, Technology Editor

CHAPTER 4:

THE FUTURE
OF ROBOTS
AND THE MOTORS AND
DRIVES LEADING THE WAY
Machine Design takes a look at the world of modern and future robotics and the
components being used to drive them.

R
obots are everywhere! In modern automation, they Modern Robots
are an essential tool on most plant floors. In The current trend for robotic design is small and light-
our homes, they have become cleaning tools weight. Modern engineering design stresses how import-
and personal assistance/entertainment devices. ant it is to focus on envelope size, lightweight design, and
This current trend is not dying down as robot energy efficiency. Parker Hannifin has introduced a series
manufacturers find new ways to fine-tune their of motors that help cut down on weight and envelope size.
design, creating nimbler and fast- Its frameless motor K-Series
er robots. In a recent study from does away with the main
Tractica, 6.5 million robots housing and shaft to cut
were sold in 2015. Per their down on weight. Its ideal
predictions, 100 million robots for machine designs that
will be sold worldwide within the require high performance
next five years. Currently, the types in small spaces. The motors
of robots sold are split allow for direct integration with the
5 0 / 5 0 b e t we e n i ndus- mechanical transmission device. This
trial and non-industrial. eliminates parts that add size, allows
Robots such as placement for minimum motor size per appli-
robotic arms and XY gantry cation, and gives designers the
robots are prevalent in man- advantage of reducing cost.
ufacturing and packaging, but The frameless motors contain
the future of robotic sales looks
to be for personal assistance robots. The Delta 3 is a result of the PacDrive
These robots will help us in everyday tasks product line from Schneider Electric. It
as well as assisting the elderly and helping has a minimum of three degrees of freedom
educate children. and can be used in the pharmaceutical or food
industries.

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 4: THE FUTURE OF ROBOTS

a motor stator and rotor and come in different outer diameter sizes: 32, 44, 64, 89, and 178 mm.
They benefit from peak torque values of 0.26 Nm up to a max of 81.74 Nm and speeds of up to
5,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), with a higher speed windings of 30,000 rpm if needed.
The K-motors have a pre-installed integral commutation board; the motor and feedback
are an integrated unit. The use of rare earth magnets provides high resistance to thermal
demagnetizing and high-flux in a small volume. They are Class-H insulated for up to
155C temperature operation, meeting UL requirements. Lastly, they use high-density
copper winding for low thermal resistance and consistent performance. Weight range on
the series is a minimum 0.15 lb to a max of 13.98 lb.
The frameless motor design While the K-Series provides customization for spe-
from Parker Hannifin provides cific designs, Parker Hannifins P-Series of motors and
high torque ranges and space- drives provide flexibility. For Gantry and Cartesian
savings options by not including a robots, motors and drives need to have general-pur-
housing or shaft. pose utility and be flexible so that one prevents the
constant switching out of drives. The P-Series drives
and motors operate in a variety of machine-controlled
TOTAL INDUSTRIAL AND NON-INDUSTRIAL ROBOTICS REVENUE,
WORLD MARKETS: 2015-2020
architectures. The drives have EtherCAT connectivity
$140,000 for high-speed motion bus, USB communications for
$120,000
convenient setup, and 8 inputs/4 outputs with Ether-
CAT models. The Safe Torque Off feature for the Eth-
$100,000
Industrial erCAT models immediately cuts power to the motor,
$80,000
Non-Industrial then dynamic braking quickly brings the motor to a
$60,000 stop. The line of drives from Parker Hannifin also
($ Millions)

$40,000 has auto-tuning features. In real time, the drives can


$20,000 apply tuning via adaptive resonant filters and detect-
ing vibration peaks to dial in inertia and tuning gains.
$0
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 The P-Series motors need to be flexible, which is why
Source: Tractica
they follow the BiSS-C standard for open-source abso-
The graph above shows the predicted robot trends for the next five years lute-encoder design. Absolute encoders are becoming
based on research from Tractica. the norm for drives due to their cost-saving benefits.
Schneider Electric offers all-in-one
robotic solutions. They are add-ons
to the PacDrive product line geared

Hector can walk independently and Hector has three EC 45 flat motors on
respond to obstacles via complex each of its legs, delivering 50 watts
sensors collecting data of the of power per motor to the robotic
surrounding environment. (Image movements. (Image courtesy of Maxon
courtesy of Bielefeld University) Precision Motors)

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 4: THE FUTURE OF ROBOTS

toward providing fast and easy-to-integrate robotic solutions.


The P-series drives and The motors, drives, and robotic assembly designed by Schneider
motors are designed for Electric ease installation. Included in the PacDrive portfolio are
flexibility to accommodate the Delta 2 and Delta 3 picker mechanisms, which are available
several motors and with installed motors of the Lexium SH3 or Lexium 62 ILM fami-
prevent the constant lies. The PacDrive Delta 2 has a max load capacity of 55 lb and the
switching out of drives. Delta 3 is capable of 33.1 lb. The PacDrive Delta 3 has three or four
degrees of freedom and is IP65 rated for
pharmaceutical and food appli-
cation. The SH3 servo motors
are available in five flange siz-
es: 55, 70, 100, 140, and 205
mm. They have a nominal
torque range of 0.5 to 50.7
Nm, peak torque values of 1.5
Nm to a max of 330 Nm., and
speed of 1,500 RPM to a
The RE 40 motors used max of 8,000 RPM. The
in Romeo have iron-less Lexium SH3 servo motors
Maxon winding, which are equipped with inte-
ensures precise control and grated encoders that have
current that is proportional a single-turn (131,072
to torque. This allows the points/turn) (2) or multi-
controller to use current turn (131,072 points/turn
measurements to 4,096 turns) integrated
determine when Romeo encoders. A stainless-steel
has encountered an version of the SH3 motors,
obstacle or has collided. the SHS family, is also
(Image courtesy of available in three flange
Maxon Precision Motors) sizes: 55, 70, and 100 mm.
The Lexium 62 ILM
integrated drive and
motor bundle is compact and offers quick interconnects
and hybrid cables for signal and power level. When con-
nected, they provide automatic network configuration
and has diagnostic capabilities. The LXM62 ILM is consid-
ered plug-and-play technology due to the ease of installa-
tion. It is capable of a nominal torque range of 0.5 Nm to 12.5
Romeo comes from a Nm, a peak torque of 3.5 to 55 Nm, and speed of 1,500 RPM to a
family of robots designed max of 6,000 RPM. They are available in flange sizes of 70, 100,
by Aldebaran. The other and 140 mm. The ILM integrated drive and motors take up to 90%
two are Pepper, which less cabinet space, up to 90% less wiring time, and up to 70% less
uses wheels to roll cabling. Due to their fast installation time and cost-saving cable
around, and Nao, the handling, the ILM integrated drives are frequently used for rota-
smallest. (Image courtesy ry-capping applications.
of Aldebaran Robotics)
The Future of Robotics
As mentioned earlier, robots are leaning away from assem-
bly and automation, and shifting focus toward entertainment
and personal assistance. The robot in the image on p. 60 is
called Hector and was developed by the Biomechatronics
Research Group at Bielefeld University. The robot is about 3

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 4: THE FUTURE OF ROBOTS

feet tall and weighs 26.5 lb. The


exoskeleton consists of carbon DRC-Hubo won the 2015 DARPA Robotics
fiber-reinforced plastic, which Challenge and the KAIST (Korea Advanced
makes it extremely lightweight. Institute of Science and Technology) and the
The purpose of the project is to Rainbow Co. were awarded $2 million in prize
achieve better control of under- money. (Image courtesy of KAIST and
lying coordination principles as Rainbow Co.)
well as to investigate the funda-
mental concepts of how to elasti-
cally control actuated driven robotic systems.
Each individual leg of the robot contains an EC 45 flat Maxon
motor, with a total of 18 motors. The EC 45 flat is a brushless motor
delivering 50 watts of power at a diameter of 45 mm. The motors
for this particularly design are custom built by Maxon, as the elas-
tomer couplings were integrated directly into the drives.
The next phase of robotics will introduce personal assistants.
Romeo, designed by French robotics company Aldebaran,
aims to be the perfect assistant for the elderly. Romeo is
almost 5 feet tall and weighs 81.6 lb. The researchers at
Aldebaran are currently testing to see how far
they can push Romeos lim-
its. The goal is to maximize
its walking ability, navigation,
and human-robot interaction.
Eventually Romeo will be able
to respond to human body and
facial expressions.
Romeo uses 37 Maxon RE 40
motors. The RE 40 motor uses
graphite brushes at 150 watts
of power. The RE 40 has a 40 The EC-4pole 30 brushless motor from
mm diameter and has nominal Maxon achieves maximum power
torque ranges of 94.9 mNm to in Hubo by being operated in
190 mNm. The motors come overload conditions in conjunction
with iron-less Maxon wind- with cooling fans. (Image courtesy
ing, ensuring excellent control of Maxon Precision Motors)
behavior.
The DRC-Hubo robot was
one of the first-place finalists of
the DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2015. The DARPA Robotics 200 watts per motor. The Hubo uses 25 of these motors, which
challenge consists of realistic scenarios such as driving a car, cut- operate at overload conditions. The robot was equipped with cool-
ting holes into walls, opening doors, and negotiating difficult and ing fans so that the motors could operate safely even in overload
uneven terrain. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and the conditions. Hubo demonstrates the closest example of how tech-
Rainbow Company built the robot in conjunction using 33 Maxon nology of today can be used to advanced and push the capabilities
motors, mainly the EC-4pole 30 brushless motor. The robot oper- of modern robotics. n
ates on two legs, but benefits from being able to utilize rollers built
into the knees. This helped Hubo complete the required competi-
tion tasks in the shortest time. The robot has an aluminum casing

to view this article online, click here

instead of plastic, stands 6 feet tall and weighs 176.4 lb. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
The EC-4pole 30 brushless motors deliver significant power at

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS AND THE MODERN WORKFORCE

CARLOS GONZALEZ, Technology Editor

CHAPTER 5:

THE AUTOMATION
BOOM IN MEXICO
Jeff Burnstein, President of A3, says Mexico may be the next global player in the automation
arena, but the international skills gap could be problematic.

L
ast year proved record-setting
for robotics in terms of or-
ders and shipments in North
America, according to the
Robotic Industries Associa-
tion (RIA). A total of 34,606
robots valued at approximately $1.9
billion were ordered in North Amer-
icaa 10% jump from 2015. Orders
for robots spiked 61% in assembly ap-
plications and spot welding saw a 24%
increase. And orders for robots in the Jeff Burnstein
food and consumer goods industry
rose by 32% in 2016.
These numbers represent North America as a whole, but some
of these results are influenced by the surge in automation in
Mexico. Consequently, companies like Festo are planning strategic
locations for shipments to Mexico and even Central America.
Festo recently published a news release stating that a facility in
Cincinnati was strategically close to the airport to support the
expected growth in Mexico, which is becoming a recognized
hub for the automotive industry. Festos new center has Foreign
Trade Zone status, making it faster and more efficient to support
customers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico from a central U.S.
location.
With automation continuing on the upswing in North
America, Machine Design talked to Jeff Burnstein, President of
the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), about what this
means for the U.S. and global competition.

What is your background? An assembly worker builds automation equipment at Festos


I have been working to promote the use of robotics, machine new facility, which is strategically located to ship parts
vision, and motion control for more than 32 years. I see automation anywhere in North America, specifically to Mexico.

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 5: AUTOMATION BOOM IN MEXICO

changing all facets of our lives for the better, creating new and grew 25% relative to 2015.
better jobs, giving us higher-quality and lower-priced products,
and helping us live longer and healthier. What does this foreshadow, or what can we expect from these
numbers?
How fast is Mexican automation growing? These numbers reinforce the vital role played by automation in
With the worlds 11th largest economy, Mexico is home to a vast spurring economic growth in North American manufacturing and
array of industries, including substantial automotive and aerospace services industries in 2016. We think this is only the beginning.
manufacturing sectors. In 2015, industry-wide sales of robots in As automation spreads around the world, companies everywhere
Mexico almost tripled to 6,320 units, exceeding $243 million. A3 will get more competitive, prices of products will come down,
is embracing Mexicos broad-based growth and potential with quality will go up, and demand will go up. For example, years ago
this new association, which will help support Mexicos rapidly you may have had one TV in your house. Today, due to reduced
growing automation industry. Automation investments can also cost and increased quality, you might have five. I expect to see
help increase the number of well-paying jobs in Mexico, which has this happen with more products as automation becomes more
high rates of engineering graduation per capita. prevalent around the world.
As things become cheaper, people will buy more and this will
How fast is automation growing in North America? drive employment. Automation represents a strategic area for the
We [A3] just announced that 2016 North American robotics global economy going forward, as it brings accelerated growth
industry orders and shipments once again broke all-time records. based on smarter, more mobile, and more collaborative robots in
In 2016, 34,606 robots valued at approximately $1.9 billion were the coming years.
ordered in North America, representing growth of 10% in units
over 2015. The automotive industry experienced another strong What is being produced in Mexico, or what are its markets?
year with orders growing 17%. Units shipped to North American The automotive, aerospace, and food and beverage industries
customers also grew by 10%, with 30,875 robots valued at $1.8 are strong growth areas. With the boom of Mexican automation,
billion shipped in 2016. Shipments into the automotive market its inherently increasing growth in any company that works with
robotics or more advanced automation in the region, too. In the
past, some companies may have avoided Mexico, or only used it

Universal Robots introduced its collaborative robots at Expo Epson displays its robots at distributor Grupo Kopars booth at
Manufactura in Monterrey, Mexico. Expo Manufactura.

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 5: AUTOMATION BOOM IN MEXICO

for a cheap labor. However, the automation in Mexico is becoming


more advanced, with processes rivaling any other country. I was at
Expo Manufactura in Monterrey, Mexico [Feb. 7-9], and there was
a lot of the same robotics and advanced systems you would see in
any show in the U.S.
This growth is also from multiple countries. Mexico has 10
free-trade agreements with 45 countries. U.S. companies that
manufacture in Mexico can export tax-free to 45 countries that are
not tax-free from the U.S.

What are the drivers pushing the Mexican automation market?


An increasing focus on efficiency improvement is one of the
primary drivers of automation in Mexico. Industrial control
devices are making it possible for organizations to standardize
their production activities while cutting costs, reducing waste and
improving safety.

Will this be a trend and will this move more U.S. jobs to Mexico?
A robust automation industry in Mexico will create jobs and

The biennial Automate event convened this year at Chicagos


McCormick Place. Omrons Adept mobile robot shows off advanced material
handling by piloting the aisles of the show floor in Mexico.

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MACHINE DESIGN LIBRARY CHAPTER 5: AUTOMATION BOOM IN MEXICO

broaden the Mexican middle class, providing the means and A3 Mexico is dedicated to helping Mexican companies attain the
incentives for individuals to participate in Mexicos growing advantages of automation so that they can compete more effectively
economy. As Mexican purchasing power increases, it provides an on a global stage, resulting in economic improvements and safer,
expanding market for U.S. exporters. A strong Mexico is a robust better conditions for workers. As a leading proponent of robotics,
and stable trading partner with its neighbors. U.S. companies vision technology, motion control, and motors worldwide, A3 is
will continue to automate as well, to help both small and large helping develop the Mexican market for automation equipment
corporations be more globally competitive so that they can grow suppliers along with system integrators. Its also helping to develop
and fill new jobs in the U.S. better processes in Mexico that can improve product quality,
consistency, and output to meet consumer demands.
What does Mexico need to advance its automationbasic CNC
or more advanced robotics, and machine vision? What do you think the role of automation and robotics is
Automation will allow Mexican companies to boost worker globally?
safety, reduce costs, decrease cycle time, improve quality, utilize Automation, which includes robotics, is coming front and
space more efficiently, reduce waste, and stay competitive. A3 center on the world stage, and has the potential to impact the
Mexico will promote the benefits of automation while facilitating global economy. As societies move forward, we have to embrace
gatherings and interchange between stakeholders and members the changes and innovations introduced by technology and
of the automation community in Mexico. Mexicos robust automation and learn to evolve with it. Todays automation
engineering and technical education programs throughout the technologieslike every other technological revolution in the
country will lead to continued progress and expertise in advanced pastwill change jobs and their required skills, and present
robotics, machine vision, etc. opportunities for brand new jobs. Workers must begin now to
While robots are popular, the biggest challenge is finding prepare for that future, and governments and industries need to
trained people who know how to set up and run the automated support that preparation.
tools that are showing up in the Mexican factories. They need
highly trained, quality system integrators. This skills gap is an How will automation increase the standard of living globally,
international problem. We are moving less brawn and more or will it just help us make more stuff faster with less people?
brain. Some skills will take a four-year degree, but most of it will Automation fundamentally changes everything and improves
be setting up and running the machines that can be taught in a the standard of living globally. Its not just about efficiency
technical school or a community college. and productivity in manufacturing. Automation is speeding the
development of new drugs and medical processes, improving
How is A3 helping this movement? surgical outcomes, and allowing products to be shipped faster.
A3 is embracing Mexicos growth and potential by forming a In the future, automation will even be saving lives on freeways
new association geared to this booming market. A3 is a global and helping seniors and disabled individuals live more satisfying,
umbrella association for three leading industry associations independent lives. n
that collectively form an ecosystem of automation: the Robotic
Industries Association (RIA), Advancing Vision + Imaging (AIA),
and the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). In
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addition, every other year we host the Automate show. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Technological

CHOOSING
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todays vehicles
3D Printed Electronics

show no signs

HOSE focused
of stopping. p12

Hoses & Connectors

ASSEMBLIES

Instruments & Controls

Consider these factors before


selecting or replacing hydraulic
hoses and couplings p48
JUNE 2017 Vol. 89, No. 6

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