Materials Handling Robotics

take_me_by_the_hand_by_ashitaro-d32mfbdIndustrial automation does a lot of good things for people, from making products more affordable to reducing waste. But one of the most important jobs of automation is increasing safety for human workers.

The first robot hand, according to Brian Behm, a newly elected board member of the Robotic Industries Association, was developed by General Mills for the Manhattan Project. We’d have said General Motors rather than General Mills, and it was General Motors that first used a robotic hand on an assembly line in the 1960s, but we can believe that the need for something to handle radioactive materials without putting humans at risk was the impetus for the development of the hand.

The Standford Arm followed a couple of decades later. Like all robotic hands and arms, it used servomechanisms and sensors to do its work. By now, highly sophisticated robot hands and arms are in use for a wide range of materials handling jobs. As our ability to program robots improves, they can be used not only in nuclear environments or to handle other toxic materials, but also in situations which threaten humans with repetitive motion injuries or physical danger from stacked boxes.

The newest robotic hand is a prosthetic arm which uses sensors to allow its owner to move with brain power alone — the way that we move our natural arms. DARPA is working on the project, and the early results are impressive. Like servomotors, these prosthetic limbs operate with feedback loops.

While the obvious benefit of this new kind of robotic hand is in providing prosthesis for people who have lost hands and arms, the technology will doubtless lead to further developments in robotics and motion control in general.

We’re excited about these advances. At the same time, we’re excited to be able to keep your legacy Rexroth and Indramat units running for as long as possible. It’s an unbroken chain of technological evolution, and every part of it is worth maintaining. Give us a call when you need help with legacy servos.


One Comment

Comments are closed.

24 Hour Turnaround

Factory Repair services available with 24 hour turnaround.

Call (479) 422-0390 for immediate assistance

Support Request