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Definition: industrial robot


A robotic mechanism used in the fabrication of products. The basic component is an "automation cell," which comprises one or more robots, machine tools and the interfaces between them. The cell includes a mechanism to input the material and distribute the output, as well as end of arm tooling (EOAT), which are the devices that grip the part.

Unimate at General Motors in 1961
Installed at GM's assembly line in West Trenton, New Jersey, Unimate was the first industrial robot. It was used to take heated die castings and weld them, which was not a pleasant task for humans. Invented by American entrepreneur George Devol, the robot was called Unimate for "Unimation" (universal automation).

Cartesian vs. Articulating Robots
A Cartesian robot's arm operates on two axes (x-y), whereas an articulating robot uses six axes for much greater flexibility. See IP code.