Robot work volume and its comparisons

A space on which a robot can move and operate its wrist end is called as a work volume. It is also referred as the work envelope and work space. For developing a better work volume, some of the physical characteristics of a robot should be considered such as:

  • The anatomy of various robots
  • The maximum value for moving a robot joint
  • The size of the robot components like wrist, arm, and body

Comparison of work volumes with different robot configurations:

Cylindrical configuration:

A cylindrical configuration robot has an arm that has got the ability to reach horizontal and vertical directions. Moreover, it can make a rotary motion by placing the arm at the centre of the robot. As a result, this robot requires a cylindrical type of work volume for performing an operation. It is mostly used in the material handling process. One setback of this robot is that it can’t pick the tools from the floor.

Polar configuration:

The arm of a polar configuration robot does not move in up and down position on the vertical axis as done in the cylindrical configuration. It just makes the robot to rotate during the horizontal stroke by expanding the inner and outer circles. It results in the formation of an arc movement. As soon as this process finishes, the robot arm swings and gets spherical work volume. This type of robot is incorporated in the Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) for picking up the tools from the floor.

Jointed Arm configuration:

The work volume of a jointed arm configuration robot is a complex one. The wrist and elbow of a manipulator are jointly swept in the horizontal and vertical position. It works almost like a human arm. The result achieved from the jointed arm and cylindrical configuration robots are same. The major advantage of the jointed arm configuration robot is that it can move in all directions very easily and flexibly. It is used for performing machine loading and unloading operations in the CNC machines.

Cartesian co-ordinate configuration:

The Cartesian co-ordinate configuration robot arm will move in up & down directions on the horizontal axis, and in & out motions in the vertical axis. The collective movement of traverse and horizontal stroke results in the rectangular work volume. It is inflexible, and best suitable for pick and place processes.

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