Designing a Robot for Manufacturing Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Molded Grating

Designing a Robot for Manufacturing Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Molded Grating

Marcos Vinícius Ramos Carnevale (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Armando Carlos de Pina Filho (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 38
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1382-8.ch006

Abstract

The use of robotics in the industrial environment has, in general, very similar goals. Because of productivity requirements, or due to reliability, industries have been constantly equipping their floor with robots. In that sense, the chapter observed—in a fiberglass company—the chance of using a robot to execute a boring and repetitive task. The task mentioned is, actually, the manufacturing of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) molded grating. To confirm the possibility of using a robot to this job, a cost and time analysis was made about the whole molded gratings manufacturing process. Afterward, research about robotics was taken in parallel with the conception of the robot (named “roving-robot”). Calculations were made to the mechanical project of the robot. Applying computer-aided design (CAD), technical drawing and bill of materials were generated to permit the robot assembling. All of these project steps are presented in this chapter.
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Background

The Beginning of Robotics

The term “robot” has its origins at the Czech word “robota”, whose literal translation is “slave” (Brum, 2016). Karel Capek, the playwright that wrote a science fiction narrative called “Rossum’s Universal Robots”, first used this word on 1921. Then, “robot” was spread out when the writer Isaac Asimov introduced the “Three Laws of Robotics” on 1942. Nevertheless, the ambition to make machines with human being movements can be observed since antiquity – either when the Egyptians built mechanical bodies in statue shapes, or when puppets could be driven by pulley systems in Ancient Greece.

The robot control by computers became possible only on 1948, after the invention of the transistor. Six years after, George Devol applied for the first patent of an industrial robot with digitally programmable operations. The Unimate had born, and was considered the first industrial robot commercialized, after being installed at General Motors on 1961. From then on, the use of robotics has grown really fast not only in industrial environments, but also in other sectors, like services, safety, health, entertainment and household tasks.

In that way, robotics has gradually become an interdisciplinary science. According to Mccomb (2011), it embraces engineering, electronics, psychology, sociology, physics, artificial intelligence, design, programming, mechanical architecture, among others.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stepper Motor: Brushless DC electric actuator, capable of converting digital pulses into the mechanical rotation of its own shaft; widely used in projects that demand high precision and accuracy.

Cartesian Robot: Robot whose three main control axes are linear and form a right angle between them; these kind of robots move in a straight line instead of rotating.

Timing Belt: Toothed belt capable of transmitting movements in a synchronized way when connected to toothed pulleys.

Automation: The use of computerized and/or mechanical systems in order to optimize productive processes.

Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP): Composite material formed of a polymer matrix (resin) reinforced with fiberglass fibers.

FRP Molded Gratings: Gratings made of fiberglass reinforced plastic with the use of a molding equipment. These grids have bi-directional strength and a high corrosion resistance, being a great alternative to metallic products.

Roving-Robot: Name of the robot projected to automate part of the FRP molded gratings production.

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