App. B—Commissioned Background Papers
There can be little doubt, however, that the future will
see in- requirements
(1) for remaining competitive.
On the Role of Robotics Within Programmable Automation
Most robots are used
in manufacturing as mechanical categories of such assignments
replacements for formerly include “pick and place”,
“manipulate” and “process”.
the first involves transferring
parts together, as in assembly, and the operations, such as welding or painting efforts may be enhanced if the robot is
third involves carrying out actual
or testing. required to
The complexity of these select among several objects
through identifying key characteristics,
or if it has to sense proximity to its
or if it has to adapt its manipulative or processing efforts
to variable conditions.
Efforts to extend the range
of applications of robots mechanically guided and
controlled models to those which are programmable,
controls, and more
capable of some degree of “learning” and
equipped with feedback possessed of a wider array in the perspective of labor-
replacement objectives, developmental programs have sought to supplement the greater strength, speed, fatigue resistance and imperviousness to boredom of
robots with of location
Robots are readily vantages of
increasing such capabilities as visual discrimination, precision and movement, and sensitivity to touch, pressure and torque. have commonly taken the form of separate pieces of equipment which
movable from one location to another. mobility comparable to the relocation
This obviously yields ad-
changes in production needs.
But the performance of what have come to be
functions need not be restricted to such separate development of flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), systems, may well involve new combinations of
“built-in” instead of
robot-like functions. using a separate robot
the case of machining centers, for example, select needed tools from a rack and then
For further discussion, see B. Gold, An ation and Utilization of Computer-Aided
Improved Model Manufacturing:
for Managerial Evalu- A Report to the
National Research Council Committee on Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Washington, D. C., March 1981.