Robot are employed in a wide assortment of applications in industry. Today, most of the applications are in manufacturing to move materials, parts, and tools of various types. Nonmanufacturing tasks include exploration of space, defense, and medical care.
At some time in the near future, a household robot may become a mass produced item, perhaps as commonplace as the automobile is today. Simple toy robot that can perform simple reprogrammable functions are already commonplace.
For the present, most industrial applications of robots can be divided into the following categories:
Material-handling and machine-loading and unloading applications – In these applications, the robot’s function is to move materials or parts from one location in the work cell to some other location.
Processing applications – This category includes spot welding, arc welding, spray painting, and other operations in which the function of the robot is to manipulate a tool to accomplish some manufacturing process in the work cell. Spot welding represents a particularly important application in the processing category.
Assembly and inspection – These are two separate operations which we include together in this category. Robotic assembly is a field in which the industry is showing great interest because of its economic potential.
Advanced applications – Rehabilitation, outer space, defense, pets, security, etc.
We examine these applications of robots, as well as the general problems associated with their installation.