THE REAL THING by Isaac Asimov Back in 1939, when I was still a teenager, I began to write (and publish) a series of stories about robots which, for the first time in science fiction, were pictured as having been deliberately engineered to do their job safely. They were not intended to be creaky Gothic menaces, nor outlets for mawkish sentiment. They were simply well-designed machines. Beginning in 1942, I crystallized this notion in what I called 'The Three Laws of Robotics' and, in 1950, nine of my robot stories were collected into a book, I, Robot. I did not at that time seriously believe that I would live to see robots in action and robotics becoming a booming industry .... Yet here we are, better yet, I am alive to see it. But then, why shouldn't they be with us? Robots fulfil an important role in industry. They do simple and repetitive jobs more steadily, more reliably, and more uncomplainingly than a human being could - or should. Does a robot displace a human being? Certainly, but he does so at a job that, simply because a robot can do it, is beneath the dignity of a human being; a job that is no more than mindless drudgery. Better and more human jobs can be found for human beings - and should.
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Table of Contents1 Fundamentals and management.- 1. Robot use in manufacturing.- Evolution of industrial robots.- Near relations of the robot.- Robot cost versus human labor.- Die casting an early success story for industrial robots.- Robots versus special-purpose automation.- 2. Robot anatomy.- Robot classification.- Arm geometry.- Drive systems.- Dynamic performance and accuracy.- 3. End effectors: hands, grippers, pickups and tools.- Methods of grasping.- Mechanical grippers.- Vacuum systems.- Magnetic pickups.- Tools.- 4 Matching robots to the workplace.- orientation.- Interlocks and sequence control.- Workplace layout.- 5. Reliability, maintenance and safety.- Environmental factors in robot systems.- Designing robots for industrial environments.- Reliability targets.- Theoretical reliability assessment.- Maintenance needs and economics.- Safety levels and precautions.- 6. Organizing to support robotics.- Example of manufacturer’s training system.- How General Electric built an in-house capability.- Work force acceptance of robots.- 7. Robot economics.- Checklist of economic factors: costs and benefits.- Project appraisal by the payback method.- Return on investment evaluation.- Areas of cost exposure.- 8. Sociological impact of robots.- Quality of working life.- Attitudes to robots.- Effect on employment.- 9. Future capabilities.- Future attributes of robots.- Commentary on future attributes.- Priorities in attribute development.- Interaction with technologies.- Future applications.- II Application studies.- 10. Die casting applications.- Outline of die casting operation.- Robots in die casting.- Further considerations for robot die casting.- 11. Spot welding applications.- Outline of spot welding operation.- Robots in spot welding.- Planning a robot spot welding line.- 12. Arc welding applications.- Arc welding process.- Robots in arc welding.- Programming the robot.- Choice of robots for arc welding.- Case example of arc welding robot.- Flame cutting: a related application.- 13. Investment casting applications.- The investment casting process.- Mold making by robot.- Basic programs for robot mold making.- Case example at Pratt & Whitney.- 14. Forging applications.- Forging processes.- The working environment of the forging process.- Robots in forging.- 15. Press work applications.- Press operations.- Current applications of robots in the press shop.- Outlook for further robot handling of press work.- 16. Spray painting applications.- Paint behavior and the technique of painting.- The spray painting environment.- Automation in the paint spraying industry.- Robots in paint spraying.- Outlook for robot painting in the automotive industry.- Benefits analysis of robot painting.- 17. Plastic molding applications.- Plastic molding processes.- Opportunities for robot applications.- Current robot use in plastic molding.- 18. Applications in foundry practice.- The casting process.- Robots in the foundry.- Applying robots to the fettling operation.- 19. Machine tool loading applications.- Development of automation in the machine shop.- Robot applications to machine tools.- Robot attributes for machine tool applications.- 20. Heat treatment applications.- Heat treatment processes.- Robots in heat treatment.- 21. Applications for deburring metal parts.- Demands of the deburring operation.- Robot requirements for deburring.- 22. Palletizing applications.- Robot use to achieve optimal pallet loading.- Depalletizing by robot.- 23. Applications in brick manufacture.- The brick manufacture process.- The robot contribution to brickmaking.- 24. Applications in glass manufacture.- Outline of glass manufacturing process.- Robot handling of sheet glass.- Robot handling of fragile glass products.- Appendix: List of principal robot manufacturers.