When people think of robots, an image of a mechanical, stiff, talking, moving, human-like machine might come to mind. Robots are, in fact, computerized machines that are ultimately utilized to simplify larger scale tasks. They include control machines, computer controllers, or microprocessor based automated systems just to name a few. The ultimate goal of industrial engineering is to expedite processes; therefore, with such developed and modern technology, the manufacturing process is more efficient, cost effective, and there is almost no human error. With all its benefits the automation and robotics movement has made way for new fetes and greater prospects in economic terms for large-scale firms.
The idea behind robots and their uses has been a compilation of thoughts stewing in the minds of engineers and physicists from as early as the 1700. The first representations of these creations was in the textile production industry; i.e. Hargreaves’ spinning jenny around 1770 and Cropmton’s mule spinner that came around 1779. Once these ideas were put into action, the robot development seed was planted and its roots spread into the minds of many potential engineers. This ventured into the development of Numerical Control (NC) and Telecherics technologies in the robotic field. John Parson’s Numerical Control is a system that integrated numbers as a tool to control the machine/robot’s actions, and this led to the creation of a prototype at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1952. Soon after, a Programming language involving sequential paper punching, known as APT (Automatically Programmed Tooling) was developed to accompany the NC on its machine-controlling journey.
Telecherics involved human controlling a machine/robot over a distance by virtue of remote manipulators that translated the human’s motion to the robot’s limbs. This device was used in bomb diffusions and in handling dangerous substances like radioactive materials. With time, these machines went from total mechanical operation to mechanical operation with the addition of electronic feedback control. That being said, these devices were actually used in Atomic Energy Commission around the 1940s.
The robot is a mechanical manipulator whose motions are controlled by programming techniques very similar to those used in numerical control. Cyril Walter Kenward and George C. Devol are two names in robotic history that deserve recognition; both renound scientists built robotic devices as early as the 1950’s and had their devices patented in 1957 and 1952 respectfully. Their brilliant ideas were later driven forward, and one man in particular, Joseph F. Engelberger, was the “catalyst” to Devol’s idea when they crossed paths in 1965, when discussion of the Unimate began. By 1962, they came together once again to start the Unimation Company. Ford Motor Company put their robotic technological fetes into action in their assembly lines, which generated the use of Unimation products...