Robot Drive Systems

A robot will require a drive system for moving their arm, wrist, and body. A drive system is usually used to determine the capacity of a robot. For actuating the robot joints, there are three different types of drive systems available such as:

  • Electric drive system,
  • Hydraulic drive system, and
  • Pneumatic drive system.

The most importantly used two types of drive systems are electric and hydraulic.

Electric Drive System:

The electric drive systems are capable of moving robots with high power or speed. The actuation of this type of robot can be done by either DC servo motors or DC stepping motors. It can be well suited for rotational joints and as well as linear joints. The electric drive system will be perfect for small robots and precise applications. Most importantly, it has got greater accuracy and repeatability. The one disadvantage of this system is that it is slightly costlier. An example for this type of drive system is Maker 110 robot.

Hydraulic Drive System:

The hydraulic drive systems are completely meant for the large sized robots. It can deliver high power or speed than the electric drive systems. This drive system can be used for both linear and rotational joints. The rotary motions are provided by the rotary vane actuators, while the linear motions are produced by hydraulic pistons. The leakage of hydraulic oils is considered as the major disadvantage of this drive. An example for the hydraulic drive system is Unimate 2000 series robot.

Pneumatic Drive System:

The pneumatic drive systems are especially used for the small type robots, which have less than five degrees of freedom. It has the ability to offer fine accuracy and speed. This drive system can produce rotary movements by actuating the rotary actuators. The translational movements of sliding joints can also be provided by operating the piston. The price of this system is less when compared to the hydraulic drive. The drawback of this system is that it will not be a perfect selection for the faster operations.

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