ISO standard 8373 defines an industrial robot as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes. In a simple phrase, industrial robotics refers to the study, design and use of robots for manufacturing. Typical applications of industrial robots include welding, painting, ironing, assembly, palletizing, product inspection, and testing.
There are a small number of commonly used robot configurations for industrial automation, including articulated robots (the original, and most common), SCARA robots and gantry robots (aka Cartesian robots, or x-y-z robots). In the context of general robotics, most types of industrial robots would fall into the category of robot arms (inherent in the use of the word manipulator in the above-mentioned ISO standard).
Industrial robot actions are determined by programmed routines that specify the direction, speed, and distance of a series of coordinated motions. For more precise guidance, robots are often assisted by machine vision systems acting as their "eyes". The setup of motions and sequences for an industrial robot is sometimes done by an operator using a teaching pendant, a handheld control and programming unit.
Manufacturers of industrial robots include: Epson Robots, Yaskawa, ABB, KUKA and FANUC
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History of Industrial Robotics
The first company to produce an industrial robot was Unimation.
A comprehensive reference on the categories and applications of industrial robotics. 1378 pages.