- In fixed or hard automation, the sequence of processing is fixed for one particular product Such a system can be used for mass production of a product. Its initial cost is high and any changes in product design can be incorporated with difficulty. If product has to be changed. then lot of modifications, new additions, etc. may be required and to accommodate same would be very costly and time consuming.
- In programmable automation (as with numerically controlled machines and robots), it is possible to accommodate the change in sequence of operations for new product by changing the program (set of instructions). Such a system is thus suited for batch production. For new product, not only programs have to be changed, but new tools and fixtures may have to be loaded, and machine settings changed.
- In soft or flexible automation system, no time is lost for production of one product and changing over to new product. Complete information and programs for the products desired to be produced are available in computer system and just code for new product has to be told to computer and changes in all settings, tools, etc. are done automatically. Such systems are best suited for production of large variety of spare parts for large industrial plant/process/ complex. The spares need not be stocked but the program for their production can be stored in machine. As and when a spare part is required, machine can be instructed and part produced in minimum time without losing time on setting up, loading, arranging tools and fixtures, etc. Such systems use flexible manufacturing systems with automatic tool changes, pallet fixtures, etc.
Features of Intelligent Robot:
The intelligent robot is capable of performing some of the functions and tasks carried out by human beings. It is equipped with variety of sensors with visual (computer vision) and tactile (touching) capabilities much like human, the robot observes and evaluates the immediate environment and its proximity to other objects, especially machinery, by perception and pattern recognition. It then makes appropriate decision’s for the next movement and proceeds accordingly. Because its operation is very complex, powerful computers are required to control this type of robot Significantly development are taking place in intelligent robot so that they will:
- behave more and more like humans performing tasks such as making among a variety of machines, and equipment on the shop floor and avoid collisions.
- transport the part to a machine for further processing and inspection.
- assemble the components subassemblies or a final product.
- recognize, select and properly grip the correct raw material or workpiece.