Actuators for Robots in Various Facilities

Some experts believe that robots have started the fourth industrial revolution. It’s hard to disagree as robotics now have dozens of uses in various facilities around the world, such as medical, educational, and construction.

To help make a robot move, specialists use the power of linear actuators. We’ve decided to focus our attention on the use of actuators for robots in various industries this time. If you’re interested in robotics innovations and the opportunities they bring us, take a look at our examples below.

3D render of a robot trying to solve a wooden cube puzzle

How Robots Are Used in Industries

Cities are growing every day which leads to the expansion of many industries. The more buildings appear, the more management is needed to keep things in order. This is a global problem, and this is why facility management has been the target of constant innovation since the late 90s. Let’s see what exactly this means in terms of robotic development.

1. Cleaning

Robots can be equipped with special sensors allowing them to react to obstacles appearing in their way. As a result, a robot can become a great helper when you need to clean up floors or mow lawns. We know these tasks are time consuming for any person, but when you have a robotic device by your side, a lot of time and effort can be saved. And let’s not forget that sensors allow for more meticulous cleaning on any surface inside or outside the building.

In this case, robots can be used for both domestic and industrial purposes. We’ve all heard about those Roomba robots that vacuum floors. Taking into account that robots now react to their environment (windows, flower pots, furniture), it could be a great innovation for hospitals, schools, and other organizations in the near future.

2. Security

Nowadays, cameras may not be enough to make sure that a building is under proper supervision. Military services and nuclear plants have already begun to work with robots to improve this situation.

The Knightscope company has created a robotics innovation which features highly advanced scanning features. The device scans buildings using video, audio, and thermal imaging to detect any potential intruders. If there are any strangers, a robot can even warn them that police are on the way. If this technology gets approved by the majority of users, it could become a new standard for any security system.

3. Construction

Like cleaning, this is another field where robots should be able to replace humans eventually. Construction Robotics has already announced that they’re working on two new types of robots. The first one is called SAM and it can lay bricks, the second one is MULE and it can lift heavy objects. In the future, bot of these robots could help immensely with almost any type of work in construction.

Customized robotics are also starting to capture the minds of many business owners. No matter what task for your facility you have in mind, a robot can be built according to your demand. So, it’s not a surprise that robotics specialists need several types of actuators depending on what functionality they need.

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3 Main Types of Actuators Used for Robotics

As robotics’ applications on various facilities differ significantly from one another, you should know more about the three main types of actuators that make these applications possible.

  • Hydraulic actuators: They are necessary for building large, powerful robots. For example, robots like the MULE construction robot require a hydraulic actuator because they can handle the very heavy weights. Apart from that, experts can also build robots that move at a high speed and perform repetitive actions thanks to hydraulic actuators.
  • Pneumatic actuators: These are used to create smaller-sized robots. For example, specialists would work with them when building cleaning robots for domestic purposes. There are two main types of pneumatic actuators on the market: cylinders and motors.
  • Electrical actuators: The best actuator when positional accuracy is needed. They have trouble competing with other actuator types in speed or power, but they make up for that with their precision. That’s why they are the best choice for security or industrial cleaning purposes. They are also easy to install and work with.

How to Choose the Right Actuator for the Job

It’s always better to ask for some professional advice when you’re about to buy an actuator. Our team of engineers will gladly answer any questions you may have related to our actuators, but if you would like a head start, you can start to consider several key factors.

  1. Will your robot work on wheels?

In most cases, skid-steering is used to move a robot. This means that wheels on each robot’s side are able to move with a different speed or even in different directions. If this is your situation, you may opt for a gear motor for your device.

  1. If your robot works with heavy weights, does it lift or turn them?

The robot’s speed should be sacrificed for its power. The thing is, lifting loads requires a lot of energy and a strong engine inside. You should definitely consider using linear actuators in this situation. There are several types of them which we mentioned above, and you should choose the most powerful ones.

  1. Will your robot turn to 180 degrees at most?

If the answer is "yes” then you should use servo motors. These parts are the best option when you deal with a small, moving robots. You’ll find servo motors of various torques on the market, and they all usually have angular position sensors.

  1. Should your robot work with precise angles?

You can use a high-end servo motor in this case. If this is an advanced solution, it will provide you with a high-level precision. However, some technicians prefer working with stepper motors, so you should discuss the work of your robot with specialists. 

  1. Does the robot move only in the linear direction?

As the name implies, linear actuators were created specifically for straight-line movement. There are parts of various sizes on the market, so your robot’s individual characteristics play the main role.

Conclusion

Applying robotics in numerous areas of our lives allows lots of businesses to evolve and improve our everyday routines. Robotics on facilities is so versatile that it demands an individual approach to each use case. Robots in construction or security have different sets of parts inside, and Progressive Automations is here to tell you more about them. We hope we have given you a good foundation for making a choice, and we would be glad to discuss more details with you.

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