A robot by definition is “an automatic device that performs functions normally ascribed to humans or a machine in the form of a human.”
The concept of robots is a very old one yet the actual word robot was invented in the 20th century from the Czechoslovakian word robota or robotnik meaning slave, servant, or forced labor. Robots don’t have to look or act like humans but they do need to be flexible so they can perform different tasks.
Early industrial robots handled radioactive material in atomic labs and were called master/slave manipulators. They were connected together with mechanical linkages and steel cables. Remote arm manipulators can now be moved by push buttons, switches or joysticks.
Current robots have advanced sensory systems that process information and appear to function as if they have brains. Their “brain” is actually a form of computerized artificial intelligence (AI). AI allows a robot to perceive conditions and decide upon a course of action based on those conditions.
A robot can include any of the following components:
effectors – “arms”, “legs”, “hands”, “feet”
sensors – parts that act like senses and can detect objects or things like heat and light and convert the object information into symbols that computers understand
computer – the brain that contains instructions called algorithms to control the robot
equipment – this includes tools and mechanical fixtures
Characteristics that make robots different from regular machinery are that robots usually function by themselves, are sensitive to their environment, adapt to variations in the environment or to errors in prior performance, are task oriented and often have the ability to try different methods to accomplish a task.
Common industrial robots are generally heavy rigid devices limited to manufacturing. They operate in precisely structured environments and perform single highly repetitive tasks under preprogrammed control. There were an estimated 720,000 industrial robots in 1998.
The History of Industrial Robotics in the Automotive Plants
In 1956, an historic meeting occurred between George Devol and Joseph Engelberger. The two met over cocktails to discuss the writings of Isaac Asimov. The result of this meeting was that Devol and Engelberger agreed to work on creating a robot together. Their first robot (the Unimate) served at a General Motors plant working with heated die-casting machines. Engelberger started a manufacturing company called Unimation, which stood for Universal Automation, the first commercial company to produce robots. Devol wrote the necessary patents for Unimation. Unimation is still in production today.
MC Welding supports a variety of robotic applications such as arc welding, spot welding, machine loading, and palletizing, which utilize robotic grippers, sealer applications, handling, riveting, toxing, laser welding, EHR camera systems etc.
Our experience with Robot Programming includes working with products such as:
Kuka, Kawasaki, Motoman, ABB, Fanuc, Unimate, Achma, Nachi.
Some of the projects our robot programmers have worked on are:
VW Fushan China
BMW Shenyang China
Audi Changchun China
VW Chengdu China
Ford Tempo Topaz, Oakville Canada
Ford Escort, South Africa and Argentina
Chrysler LH, Canada
Opel Corsa, South Africa
Ford Fiesta, South Africa
Ford Mondeo, South Africa
Ford Focus, Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, Germany
Ford Transit Genk Belgium
Ford Mondeo, Genk Belgium
Ford Fiesta, Valencia Spain,
Ford Freestar, Oakville Canada
BMW E90, South Africa
Mercedes Benz W204 South Africa
Tata Motors India
VW South Africa