In 1942, when Isaac Asimov first voiced three Laws of Robotics, the smart machines co-existing in symbiosis with people seemed more of a fiction than a probable reality. Today, state-of-the-art technology opens up a breathtaking perspective of robots penetrating into our lives.
At home, the intelligent devices do the drudgery we hate—the cleaning and washing. At work, repetitive, dirty, and dangerous tasks are as easy as one-two-three for a robotic arm with servo motors. The type of engine provides accuracy, smoothness, and flexibility of motion comparable to a human limb, while excelling it at repeatability.
A robotic arm is a programmable mechanism comprising two or more segments linked by means of joints into a kinematic chain. Each joint in the chain is a servo or another motor providing either rotational or linear displacement of the segments. The number of linkages in the structure defines how many freedom degrees (DOF) it has—typically, ranging from two to the human arm maximum of seven.
A manipulator is smaller than an industrial robot, enabling flexibility of usage and relocation, as well as optimized floor space utilization. More advanced collaborative models can even work alongside people with no safety cages.
Within the general category, it is also possible to distinguish the following subtypes, corresponding to different types of provided movement:
The terminal component in the machine is an end effector intended to handle versatile jobs, depending on the type of application.
Mostly, these are unvaried and rather dull works, in particular:
Though requiring little intellectual efforts, the operations demand extra carefulness, unfailing attention, and tirelessness—a challenge when we speak about a human. At least, to maintain over extended periods without rest. Manipulators possess all the necessary qualities to meet the demands, posing viable alternative to human labour.
To become functional, an arm requires a device to furnish it with force in sufficient quantities to lift joints—an actuator. Though latest progressive findings have resulted in invention of novelty drives, such as biomotors, a typical robotics-oriented actuation mechanism is a stepper or a servo.
Biomotors are actuation solutions relying on contraction-release effects emerging in a special type of material—biometal—under voltage. Its reaction to a low-voltage impulse is slower than response of a conventional electrical motor, but its motion output possesses a quality of extra value—smoothness.
Both engines are known to ensure precise positioning over multiple work cycles, which is of critical importance for a manipulator to cope with its usual tasks. Steppers have low price and give little configuration or maintenance problems, whereas servos are more troublesome to set up and pricy. Nevertheless, servomechanisms boast properties of value in a robotic application: comprehensive motion feedback, outstanding governability, uniform and stable torque production over the entire performance curve.
In PULSE robotic solutions, servomechanisms are behind the following features and benefits:
As separate products, RDrive models can be customized to drive any other robotic solution: by varying the form factor, modifying the mountings, changing the communication type, etc.
Powering a robotic arm, servo motors aid the humanity in building a better future. In the fancy world of tomorrow, people are supposed to embrace creativity, whereas robots are to act as their fatigueless and ever-attentive collaborators. In other words, people are expected to give birth to ideas, and machines—to nurture them to the adulthood of becoming a tangible asset.
Examples are already abundant when smart machines replace people in dangerous and boring occupations, such as attending assembly lines or working with chemicals. Multiple research report considerable savings achieved through automating industrial workflows with robots.
Evolution of servomechanisms gives rise to new capabilities in robotics. Ultra-precise micromotors in robotic hands used as end effectors can already mimic minute flexes of fingers. Introduction of novelty control methods, including the brain-machine interface, hold out the promise of major breakthroughs in heavy-duty manufacturing and prosthetic medicine.
Imagine a workshop with no people around, all of them sitting in remote cabins, relaxed in comfortable chairs, and making smart mechanisms lift cargoes with just the power of their thought.
Or fancy the disabled getting a chance to enjoy unrestricted movement again!
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