Knowing a glossary of the fundamental terms of robotics and automation can create a better understanding of the services we provide and also can help us understand and fulfill your needs.

Glossary and Terms:

Robotic Vocabulary and Term Definition

Algorithm: A mathematical process designed to systematically solve a problem.

AML: A Manufacturing Language. A robot programming language developed by IBM

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.

BASIC: The Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. An early computer programming language that is sometimes used with robots.

C: A general purpose programming language that is used on robots.

CAD/CAM: Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing. A computer graphics program that is used to design products.

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 Coordinates: A numerical system that describes the location of an object by numerically expressing its distance from a fixed position along three linear axes.

Continuous Path Control: A type of robot programming that has the manipulator move smoothly without stopping along its path.

Control System: A method of directing the type of path a robot takes.

Controller: The main device that processes information and carries out instructions in a robot. Also known as the processor.

Degrees of Freedom: The ability to move in a specific direction. Robots can have up to 6 degrees of freedom.

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).

E-stop: A switch that brings a robot to safe, rapid stop. Also called an emergency stop.

FORTRAN: FORmula TRANslation. A high-level programming language for robots that is also used for scientific, engineering, and mathematical applications.

Forward Kinematics: The calculating of the position or motion of each robotic link as a function of joint displacements.

Frame: A self-contained group of coordinates that describes both a robot’s position and its orientation.

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.

Inverse Kinematics: The calculating of joint displacements needed to move the end-effector to a desired position and orientation.

Joint: The location at which two or more parts of a robotic arm make contact. Joints allow parts to move in different directions.

Karel: A proprietary robot programming language developed by FANUC Robotics.

Kinematics: The science of motion without regard for the forces that cause that motion. In robotics, kinematics involves studying the mapping of coordinates in motion.

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. Also known as teach pendant programming.

Offline Programming: A programming method in which the trainer writes a program and uploads it to the robot.

Online Programming: A programming method that requires the robot to remain ON in order to learn. Also known as teach programming.

Orientation: The alignment of the robot in relation to its position, i.e., up, down, left, right.

Path: The route taken by a robot to travel from one location to another.

Pick And Place: The process of picking up an object or part in one location and placing it in another location. Pick and place robots are popular in production lines.

Point: A precise location in two or three-dimensional space.

Point to Point Control: A type of robot programming that has the manipulator reach a set point, stop, complete its task, and then move to the next set point.

Position: A robot’s location in three-dimensional space.

Processor: The main device that processes information and carries out instructions in a robot. Also known as the controller.

Programming Arm: A tool used by programmers to physically move the robot through different steps of the job process.

Proprietary Language: A programming language that has been developed privately by a manufacturer for its own brand of robots.

ROBOGUIDE: A robot simulator program developed by FANUC Robotics.

Robot Engineer: A person whose job is to design robots, develop new applications for robots, and conduct research into robot capabilities. Robot engineers typically have four years of college education and a graduate degree.

Robot Programming: The process of entering information such as velocity and travel time into the robot’s processor.

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.

Simulator: A software application that creates a virtual world in which robots can be tested.

Teach Pendant: A hand-held device that can be used to program a robot and control its movements.

Teach Pendant 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. Also known as lead-through programming.

Teach Programming: A programming method that requires the robot to remain ON in order to learn. Also known as online programming.

Tool Coordinates: A coordinate system that uses the tool at the end of the robot’s arm as the point of origin.

VAL: A robot programming language developed by Unimate.

Walk-Through Programming: A programming method in which the trainer physically moves the robot through different steps of the job process.

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.

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