An automatic operating device that can imitate certain motion functions of human hands and arms to grasp, transport objects or operate tools according to a fixed program. It can replace the heavy labor of people to realize the mechanization and automation of production, and can operate in harmful environments to protect personal safety. Therefore, it is widely used in machinery manufacturing, metallurgy, electronics, light industry and atomic energy.
The manipulator is mainly composed of hands and movement mechanisms. The hand is a part used to hold a workpiece (or tool). According to the shape, size, weight, material and operation requirements of the object to be grasped, it has a variety of structural forms, such as clamping type, holding type and adsorption type, etc. . The movement mechanism enables the hand to complete various rotations (swings), moves or compound movements to achieve prescribed actions and change the position and posture of the object being grasped. The independent movement methods such as lifting, telescoping, and rotating of the movement mechanism are called the degrees of freedom of the manipulator. In order to grab an object at any position and orientation in space, 6 degrees of freedom are required. The degree of freedom is a key parameter of the robot design. The more degrees of freedom, the greater the flexibility of the manipulator, the wider the versatility, and the more complex its structure. Generally, the dedicated manipulator has 2 to 3 degrees of freedom.
The types of manipulators can be divided into hydraulic, pneumatic, electric, and mechanical manipulators according to the driving mode; according to the scope of application, they can be divided into special manipulators and general manipulators; according to the motion trajectory control mode can be divided into point control and continuous Trajectory control manipulator, etc.
Manipulators are usually used as additional devices for machine tools or other machines, such as loading and unloading and transferring workpieces on automatic machine tools or automatic production lines, and changing tools in machining centers. Generally, there is no independent control device. Some operating devices need to be directly manipulated by humans. For example, the master-slave operator used in the atomic energy sector to handle dangerous goods is often called a manipulator.