Assembly-line Robots

Nov. 15, 2002
Some joint-design considerations are universal; others vary with the assembly methods used.

Some joint-design considerations are universal; others vary with the assembly methods used.

Each joining technique has particular design requirements, while certain joint requirements may suggest a particular joining technique. Design for assembly, automation, and fastener selection impose their own requirements.

Bolting is a common fastening method, for example, but welding may reduce the weight of an assembly. Naturally, joints designed for the two techniques would differ greatly. However, all joint designs must consider characteristics such as load conditions, assembly efficiency, operating environment, overhaul and maintenance, and the materials used.

Products that need robotic assembly can be analyzed in the same way as manually and automatically assembled products. Robotics are important in electronics assembly, both for insertion-type and surface-mount PCBs. Robotics are also used for mechanical-component assembly, but this is limited mainly to complex parts made of many components and weighing only a few pounds, such as electric motors and gear reducers. However, assembly robots capable of larger payloads are becoming available.

Another assembly area where robots are applied is that of dispensing, including such tasks as adhesive application and forming seals and gaskets. These jobs typically require less precision than PCB or motor assembly.

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