robot components

  • Can anyone help ? I am doing some research into the world of industrial robots and want to find out what makes them tick . I have eastablished the types of robot there are and who the world leading manufacturers are . I also understand some are AC motor driven and some are DC .
    What i want to know are what are the other " important electronic components" within the controller and the robot itself and which companies manufacture them ????? which manufacturers are really into robots on various levels ???


    I am not interested in sensitive information and that would be wrong to ask. Is it the various sensors or encoders or am I barking up the wrong tree ?


    Really appreciate any help here please

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  • Let us start with the motors. Older motors can use a DC brush motor. These motors can whistle while they work. They are being phased out. Today, many industrial motors are three phase AC. The motor is powered by three wires each with a sinusoidal varying current. The motor today is simple in design with only one moving part. However, these motor types only operate by induction due to a change in magnetic field in the coils. Now to make a motor move slowly, The three sinusoidal current wave forms are chopped into a bunch of segments. The chopping of the segments produces torque by induction. Since there are three wires with chopped sinusoidal current, the whistle is gone. There are other factors but I am only covering these.
    Now if you add an encoder, your motor becomes a servo system or servo.
    Lower cost servos are incremental. It outputs leading and trailing square waves to denote motion. There is also an index point that is absolute say at 0 degrees. If you keep the encoder powered at all times, one can keep track of the current position. The software can use the index point as a confirmation. For example, if the index appears at the wrong position, an error may occur.
    A more expensive version is an absolute encoder. It always gives the absolute value of the position. Many absolute encoders start over say at 0 degrees. Therefore they also require a power source such as a battery to not get lost when not in operation
    Also, absolute encoders can output other factors such as temperature and other conditional factors.
    The more severe duty robots will operate at a higher voltage say ~200-440 volts to avoid that joule heating thing.
    Some servo sets such as a robot arm may group all of the encoder signals together and transmit the data through a single bus. Some even use fiber optics for high speed data transmission. With this method, one can have three power wires for each servo and only about 5 or 6 more for all of the data feed back.


    A robot is made of three parts: servos, controller, and framework. Many companies will outsource these components. Any good servo motor brand will be found in robots and the same goes for encoders.

  • Thanks for this - very interesting and underlines the importance of the encoders Who would you say were the leading suppliers of these encoders ? Maxon ? Portescap or are there others ? I have seen a great deal about the sensors as well from other sites - who leads the way here - would be grateful for your input

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