Handling in production plants requires carrying various – often very heavy or inconvenient to carry due to the size, uncomfortable handle – loads. Sometimes loads cannot even be touched due to production technology. Persons employed in the plant, according to health and safety regulations, may carry loads with a weight not exceeding 30 kg in the case of permanent employment or up to 50 kg in the case of occasional work. Loads of this type cannot be transported over distances longer than 25 m and heights not exceeding 4 m.
To relieve employees, enable more flexible transport and handling of heavier loads, as well as improve work in the plant, among others, hoists, cranes, overhead cranes and industrial manipulators are used. Among all these cranes, ergonomic industrial manipulators deserve special attention, the use of which significantly improves the efficiency, safety and comfort of work.
The mechanical structure of the manipulators is integrated with various systems of balancing the weight of the carried load. It is a tool supporting the operator who controls the manipulator directly, using the strength of his own muscles.
Industrial manipulators have been designed for smooth and precise lifting, transfer and manipulation (rotation or positioning) of loads within a limited workplace. The principle of operation of manipulators is to multiply the force used by the operator. Devices of this type have a lifting capacity of a few to over a thousand kilograms.
There are many types of industrial manipulators classification, one of the most important of which is their type of power supply. In this respect, there are electronic and pneumatic manipulators.
Structurally, we can distinguish two sections of manipulators. They are divided into a gripper responsible for grasping and manipulating the load and into structural elements enabling the transport of the grabbed load within the limited position of the manipulator arm. Manipulators typically use pneumatic actuators, electric motors, and hydraulic systems to grip and transport objects.
Load lifting systems can be made on the basis of a rigid system of arms or suspended on cables. Manipulators are mounted to floors or baseplates on the so-called columns, can be suspended on trolleys, overhead cranes, and also permanently attached to the ceiling or structure. Depending on the design of the manipulator, they are mainly used in assembly works and for rotating or positioning loads in space.
Manipulators are perfect for relieving employees in difficult and physically exhausting repetitive and continuous work, reducing the fatigue of the human factor and the risk of diseases of the skeletal and muscular system, thus improving work safety in an industrial plant.