The objective of this project was to design a robot for use in automated factories which incorporated a fixed extension with a solid locking mechanism, enabling various detachable components comprising an array of armatures for a multitude of applications to be fitted quickly. It was intended for use in agreat many scenarios, the first being a factory which welded sheet metal into several types of casings, from computer casings to electrical panels and control panels. Since the casings manufactured were of various shapes and sizes, each model required a different level of precision and; therefore, a different welding armature for maximum efficiency. It also proved to be practical in a scenario where a factory had a strict deadline on an order and one of the older-generation factory robots on the line broke - this model was quickly adapted and used to replace the older model until reparations could be made.
I began by stripping the design for the older model down to the structural components only. I then reintegrated the main actuators, working on more efficient placement and mechanical design at the same time. The question I constantly asked myself during the project was, "If this smaller part could be fitted with an actuator that allowed it to move in this direction, rather than requiring the entire machine/this entire part of the machine to move with it, would that reduce the cost of energy and/or maintenance?" It proved quite a useful design strategy and, after fitting the fixed plate which locked in the extensions with a ball-and-socket actuator allowing it to move freely without the entire machine necessarily having to follow, I adapted a slight change to the core structural concept which let the hydraulic actuators and the electrical actuators work together more efficiently. Then I drew my design in a preliminary drawing, shown below.
After building a quick, rough mock-up which demonstrated that the parts moved and interacted with each other as I had predicted, I presented the design to my client. Given his approval on the design I proceeded to add in the accessory components, such as the tracking system which ensures the symmetrical rotary actuators are rotating in unison.
The assembly of the final design, drawn on AutoCAD, is shown below.