Robots are programmable multifunctional tools. A robot has four subsystems consisting of the power system, the control system, the mechanical system, and the mechanical world interface system. The power system drives the robot arm (mechanical system), the control system directs the power system to move the robot arm or end-of-arm tooling, and the end-of-arm tooling interfaces the mechanical system (robot arm) with the world (the parts to be manipulated or processed). The power system for robot arms may be electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic. Robot control systems may be categorized according to the type of control (non-servo and servo), the type of feedback (open loop or closed loop), the resolution and accuracy, and the communications capability. Robot control systems, like computer numerical control (CNC) systems are incorporating network interfaces in their controllers. The mechanical systems being controlled are composed of links and joints. The mechanical-world interface is the link between the robot arm and its environment.
By Gary Conner
By George N Bullen FSME