Intro to Robotics 110

This class covers the classifications, characteristics, and functions of industrial robots as well as basic safety precautions for working with robots.


Class Name:
Intro to Robotics 110
This class covers the classifications, characteristics, and functions of industrial robots as well as basic safety precautions for working with robots.
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • What Is a Robot?
  • The History of Robotics
  • The Industrial Applications of Robots
  • Basic Robot Components
  • The Parts of a Robot’s Body
  • Arm-Shaped Robots
  • Robot Coordinate Systems
  • Robotic Arm Configuration
  • Mobile Robots
  • Robots and Artificial Intelligence
  • Robot Teaching Methods
  • Robot Safety
  • Trends in Industrial Robotics
  • Careers in Robotics
  • The Pros and Cons of Robots
  • Summary


  • Define a robot.
  • Describe the history of industrial robotics.
  • Describe the industrial applications of robots.
  • Describe the basic components of a robot.
  • Describe the different parts of a robot’s body.
  • Describe robotic arms.
  • Describe the coordinate systems used to program a robot’s movement.
  • Distinguish between different robotic arm configurations.
  • Describe mobile robots.
  • Describe artificial intelligence for robots.
  • Distinguish between different robot teaching methods.
  • Describe safety precautions for working with robots.
  • Describe present and future trends in industrial robotics.
  • Describe careers in robotics.
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of using robots.

Job Roles



Vocabulary Term Definition
alloy A uniform mixture of two or more materials, one of which must be a metal. Industrial robots are usually composed of alloys.
American National Standards Institute An organization that oversees industry standards for commercial products and services. ANSI provides guidelines for manufacturing, installing, and safeguarding robotic systems.
articulated robot A type of robotic arm that closely resembles a human arm. The arm of an articulated robot has revolute joints and the number of joints can vary.
artificial intelligence A computer software program that contains behavior rules for robots. Artificial intelligence is one of the characteristics that distinguishes robots from other programmable machines.
assembly The process of fitting components together into a larger or completed part.
automatic guided vehicle An industrial robot that can move freely about the workspace. AGVs can take the form of carts, forklifts, or tow vehicles.
axes The plural of axis. An axis is an imaginary straight line or circle used to describe the location or movement of an object in the Cartesian coordinate system.
axis control module A component that allows a robot to move in different directions. The axis control module also controls the velocity and torque of the robotic arm.
cabinet An enclosure containing a robot's controller, axis control module, input/output module, and power supplies.
camera A device used to capture still images, such as photographs, or moving images, such as videos. Cameras give a robot vision.
cart vehicle A small AGV that can load material like a unit load carrier or pull it like a tow vehicle. Cart vehicles are usually limited to loads of no more than 2,000 lbs. (907 kg).
Cartesian coordinate system A numerical system that describes the location of an object by numerically expressing its distance from a fixed position along three linear axes.
Cartesian robot A type of robotic arm that has prismatic joints only. The linear movement of the joints gives the Cartesian robot a highly rigid structure that allows it to lift heavy objects.
clean room A room in which temperature, humidity, and air pressure are controlled and maintained at a specific level.
controller The main device that processes information and carries out instructions in a robot. Also known as the CPU, or processor.
cylindrical robot A type of robotic arm that has a combination of revolute and prismatic joints. Cylindrical robots work well in round workspaces.
degrees of freedom The available ways a component can move in three-dimensional space. Robots typically have 3 to 6 degrees of freedom.
dross A type of scum formed by oxidation at the surface of molten metals.
end-effector The end component of a robotic arm that is shaped like a hand or like a specialized tool. Also known as end-of-arm tool (EOAT).
end-of-arm tool The end component of a robotic arm that is shaped like a hand or like a specialized tool. Also known as an end-effector.
feeler A sensor on a robot that responds to touch or pressure.
fork vehicle A type of AGV that can lift and lower materials. Forks are available in different styles other than the standard dual fork.
gripper A hand-shaped end-effector designed for seizing and holding.
industrial robot A programmable mechanical device that is used in place of a person to perform dangerous or repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy.
input/output module The jack where an input/output device is physically connected to a robot. Inputs and outputs allow the robot to interact with its environment.
integrated circuit A miniaturized electronic circuit. The development of integrated circuits helped to improve the performance of industrial robots.
intelligence The ability to learn, reason, and solve problems.
joint The location at which two or more parts of a robotic arm make contact. Joints allow parts to move in different directions.
lead-through programming A programming method in which a robot is placed in "teach mode" while the trainer uses a remote teach pendant to manipulate the robot through the different steps of the job. Lead-through programming is the most common programming method.
linear joint A joint that moves in a straight line across one axis. Also known as a prismatic joint.
linear movement Movement in a straight line across one axis.
link A fastener that joins or connects the parts of a robotic arm.
lockout/tagout A method of protecting employees from accidental robot startup through proper locking and labeling of robots that are undergoing maintenance.
machine loading The process of loading raw materials into machinery for processing.
main power supply The power supply that provides voltage and current to a robot’s motor. A robot's main power supply is AC run through a transformer.
manipulator A robotic arm. A manipulator is generally mounted on a platform or suspended from a track while the arm reaches to various distances and locations.
material removal The process of removing substances or matter from a surface. Material removal processes include cutting, grinding, deburring, deflashing, polishing, waterjet cutting, and routering.
materials handling The process of loading, unloading, placing, or manipulating material. Types of material handling include machine tending, part transfer, packaging, and palletizing.
microcontroller A tiny computer that is self-sufficient.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health The federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. Also known as NIOSH.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration A government agency that helps employers reduce injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. Also known as OSHA.
off-line programming A programming method in which a trainer writes a program from a remote location and downloads it into a robot. Off-line programming can be refined with lead-through or walk-through programming.
origin The fixed, central point in the Cartesian coordinate system. The origin has a numerical value of zero.
packaging The process of assembling containers and components for shipping and storage.
palletizing The process of placing and securing containers or objects on pallets.
part transfer A type of material handling in which parts are transferred from one location to another.
personal protective equipment Any of various safety equipment that workers wear or use to prevent injury in the workplace. Safety glasses are common personal protective equipment (PPE).
pick and place The process of picking up an object or part in one location and placing it in another location.
power supply unit A separate power supply that provides DC voltage to a robot’s outputs and controller.
prismatic joint A joint that moves in a straight line across one axis. Also known as a linear joint.
revolute joint A joint that rotates around more than one axis.
right-hand rule A quick reference that shows the X-, Y-, and Z-axes. A person displays his or her right hand, and the first three fingers from the right each represent the X-, Y-, and Z-axis in order.
robot technician A person who installs, services, troubleshoots, maintains, and repairs robots and automated production systems.
robotic arm An arm-shaped robot generally mounted on a platform or suspended from a track while the arm reaches to various distances and locations. Also known as a manipulator.
SCARA robot Selective Compliance Arm for Robotic Assembly. A type of cylindrical robot that has 4 axes of movement: X, Y, Z, and Theta Z.
sensor A device that detects the presence or absence of an object, or certain properties of that object, and provides feedback. Sensors allow robots to interact with their environment.
servomotor A type of motor used in applications that require precise positioning. Servomotors can move loads in excess of 50 hp.
spherical robot A type of robotic arm that has a joint configuration that allows the robot to move in a desired direction and then extend to reach an object. A typical spherical robot has 4 to 6 revolute joints.
spray painting Applying paint with a sprayer. Spray paint applications include painting, sealing, and coating.
stepper motor A type of motor that uses a permanent magnetic field to rotate. Stepper motors can rotate forward or reverse, but they cannot move large loads.
teach pendant A hand-held device that can be used to program a robot and control its movements.
Theta Z coordinate A rotating axis that corresponds to the angle around the z-axis of the tool at the end of a SCARA robot.
tool coordinates A coordinate system that uses the tool at the end of the robot's arm as the point of origin.
tow vehicle A type of AGV that pulls trailers loaded with material. Tow vehicles are capable of pulling extremely heavy loads.
transformer A device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another, without changing the frequency.
transistor A tiny electrical device that amplifies electrical signals and switches current on and off.
tugger Another name for a tow vehicle. Tuggers pull trailers loaded with material.
unit load carrier A type of AGV that has powered decks that lift and lower to transport pallets loaded with material.
unmanned aerial vehicle A robotic airplane that can fly without an onboard pilot.
walk-through programming A programming method in which the trainer physically moves the robot through different steps of the job process.
welding A joining process that uses heat, pressure, and/or chemicals to fuse two materials together permanently. Robots are used for welding in the automotive industry.
work cell The defined area of space through which a robot can move. Also known as the work envelope.
work envelope The defined area of space through which a robot can move. Also known as the work cell.
world coordinates A coordinate system that uses the robot’s mounting base as a point of origin.
X-axis The linear axis representing side-to-side movement in a robot.
Y-axis The linear axis representing back and forth movement in a robot.
Z-axis The linear axis that represents up and down movement in a robot.