List of robotic terms

From LabAutopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

A Labautopedia compendium of words and terms related to robotics. Click on linked terms for more detail. Refer to the Contributing section for author information.

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


Related articles



  • acceleration-level - Mathematical formulations working with the change in joint speeds with respect to time. Integrating accelerations twice provides displacements. See position-level and velocity-level.
  • analytical methods - Purely mathematical methods that do not require iteration.
  • autonomous - Operating without pre-programmed behaviors and without supervision from humans.


  • biomimetic - Mimicking natural biology


  • Collision Sensor - Robotic end effector or device that can detect a crash before or during a collision of the robot or its tool. Collision sensors send a signal back to the robot controller before or during a collision to have the robot avoid the collision or stop before or during a collision. Robotic crash protection devices are collision sensors that detect the collision during the crash. A collision sensor is also know as a robot safety joint, robot overload protection device, crash protection device, quickstop (trademark of Applied Robotics), robot safety mount, robotic clutch, and robotic collision protector.
  • Compensator - Remote Compliance Center Device from ATI using three to twelve elastomeric shear pads to aid in the insertion of peg-in-hole applications.
  • Cam - The centerline of rotation of this part is not at the geometric center making other parts pushing on it to move in and out.
  • Cartesian Robot - The axes of the three Prismatic or linear motion joints of the robot are in the same direction of a Cartesian coordinator.
  • Chassis - The parts making up a machine not including the body or casing. In the case of an automobile this would include parts such as the frame and engine but not the body surrounding these parts.
  • Closed-form - Iteration or repeated approximation to find a solution for this problem formulation.
  • Collision Sensor - A sensor that detects and informs the controller to stop the robot prior to or during a crash. Other terms for this device include crash protection device, robot safety joint, and robotic clutch among others.
  • Compensator - A remote device that involves multiple shear pads to help peg-in-hole operations. The shear pads are elastomers, also known as polymers and the device uses three to twelve of these shear pads.
  • Computer-Aided Design - (CAD) Computer software is used to develop and/or alter all aspects of design such as the end product, the system, machinery used etc.
  • Computer-Aided Manufacturing - (CAM) Computer software is used to design and/or alter the manufacturing process.
  • Conservative motion - The end-effector and joints always move in their specific route.
  • Control Device - An instrument that allows a person to have control over a robot or automated system for times such as startup or an emergency.
  • Control Program - The control information built into the robot or automated system that allows for possible behaviors. The control information is not expected to be altered.
  • Coordinated Straight Line Motion - The Tool Center Point follows a specific path allowing the axes of the robot to come to their specified end points at the same time. This allows for a smooth operation of movement.
  • Cylindrical Robot - The axes of the robot correspond to a cylindrical coordinate system.


  • Degrees of Freedom - The amount of values in a system possible of variation. A robotic joint is equal to one degree of freedom.
  • Device - Hardware used to control various parts of a system.
  • Dexterity - The measure of the robot's skill of completing specific difficult paths.
  • Digital Computer - The system of binary numbers is most commonly used as digits for calculations or operations by the computer.
  • Direct Numerical Control - (DNC) Equipment that is controlled numerically receives data inputs from a computer.
  • Direct search - Trial solutions are used to search for a numerical answer as opposed to carefully solving the derivatives.
  • Drive Power - Actuators convert this source of energy into usable energy for the robot's movement.
  • Dynamic Model - This model shows the forces causing the robot�s movement.
  • Dynamics - Analysis of the causes of motion by the sources of forces and energy.


  • End-Effector - Any object attached to the robot flange (wrist) that serves a function. This would include robotic grippers, robotic tool changers, robotic crash protection, robotic rotary joint, robotic press tooling, compliance device, robotic paint gun, robotic deburring tool, robotic arc welding gun, robotic transgun, etc. End effector is also known as robotic peripheral, robotic accessory, robot or robotic tool, end of arm (EOA) tooling, or end-of-arm device. End effector may also be hyphenated as "end-effector."
  • Emergency Stop - This control immediately stops motion and tasks of the system by cutting off the drive power.
  • Enabling Device - The user activates the device allowing for the robot and machinery to move. When deactivated motion is stopped preventing harmful situations.
  • End-effector - The application tools located at the end of the robot's arm and are typically connected to robot flanges. (Common Misspellings: end-effecter, end-affector, end-affecter)
  • End-effector space - The area of the robot's end-effector movement with respect to its base. (Common Misspellings: end-effecter space, end-affector space, end-affecter space)
  • End-Of-Arm Tooling - (EOAT) Application tools that are located at the end of the robot arm. The quality of the EOAT greatly affects the performance of the system.
  • Energy Source - Energy is provided by conversion of various types of sources such as chemical, thermal, mechanical etc.
  • Equality constraint - The end-effector's change of position, movement and location must be equal to a certain number.
  • Error function - A number is chosen to stand for a discrepancy in the actual value and the desired value for a dependent variable.
  • Exponential Assembly - Nanorobots replicate themselves repeatedly.


  • Factory Automation - The process of integrating industrial machinery with the help of control software. This integration increases efficiency, productivity and quality while decreasing costs.
  • Fanuc - With the headquarters located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, this company provides the most automated systems such as robots to industries in North and South America. (Common Misspellings: funac, famic, faunc, fawnik, fanuf, fanuk robotics)
  • Feedback - A signal from the robot equipment about conditions as they actually exist, rather than as the computer has directed them to exist.
  • Fixed Automation - (Hard Automation) Automated, electronically controlled system for simple, straight or circular. These systems are mainly used for large production runs where little flexibility is required.
  • Flexibility - The diverse jobs that a robot is capable of executing.
  • Flexible Automation - The ability for a robot and system to be reconfigured and change product design easily. Productivity is increased due to minimized setup times.
  • Fully Constrained Robot - The number of equality constraints on the robot are equal to the number of independent joints.



  • Hazard - A possible dangerous or harmful situation.
  • Hazardous Motion - A possible dangerous or harmful motion.
  • Human-Computer Interaction - (HCI) Analysis of the relationship of computers and humans.
  • Hybrid - The robot has a combination of pick and place and servo controlled parts.


  • Industrial Equipment - Machinery capable of executing industrial operations.
  • Industrial Robot - A manipulator that is designed to perform various programmed tasks during manufacturing. Industrial robots are automated by a program that controls its duties that tend to be dangerous or difficult for humans. (Common Misspellings include: indusrtial robot, industrail robot, industrail robots, industry robot, industryial robot)
  • Industrial Robot System - A system of robots, machinery, and devices that are programmed to perform operations while incorporating an interface.
  • Industrial Robotics - The idea of incorporation of a robot system for production.
  • Inequality Constraint - A limitation of a feature that may vary such as joint movement, speed, and torque.
  • Integrator - A company that combines and coordinates separate parts or elements into a unified whole using mechanical means. (Common misspellings include: Integrater, Integreater, integreator, integratour)
  • Interface - The separation between robots and the equipment not nearby. The sensors that are required for communication between the devices use signals relaying input and output data.
  • Interlock - The control of a device starting or stopping is dependent upon the action of another device.
  • Internal Sensor - An apparatus within the manipulator arm that sends information on motion to a control unit.
  • Inverse Kinematics - Determination of a joint's overall change in position based on restrictions on the end-effector�s motion of a robot.
  • Iteration - A method of solving a problem by repeating the same procedure to find a more exact solution.


  • Jacobian - End-effector velocity is related to joint speeds by this matrix of first-order partial derivatives.
  • Joint Motion - A way to regulate the joint's movement so that all reach the specified position at the same time.
  • Joint space - The area and coordinate system the joints of the robot consume.
  • Jointed Arm Robot - The arm of the robot has two junctions allowing for rotation and enhanced movement much like a person's shoulder and elbow on their arm.


  • Kawasaki Robots - Producer of the original Industrial Robot in 1969 in Japan.
  • Kinematic Influence Coefficients - The number of input joints affects movement of the robot and the response of the system due to the affect on complex and coupled nonlinear differential equations.
  • Kinematics - Analysis of motion by leaving out information of forces.


  • LaGrange multipliers - Use allows for an unconstrained problem with performance criteria as opposed to a constrained problem with equality constraints.
  • Limiting Device - A separate apparatus that places a restriction on the maximum envelope. This restriction occurs by terminating motion of the robot.
  • Linearly Dependent - Numbers or functions related by addition, subtraction or multiplying by a scalar.


  • Maintenance - Ensuring that robots and manufacturing systems are working properly and repairing any problems observed.
  • Manipulator - Allows for movement of a part through multiple joints on the mechanical device also known as the arm of the robot.
  • Manual Programming - The user physically sets specific tasks and limits on the robot.
  • Manufacturing Robot - A mechanical device that uses automation to transform raw materials into finished goods for sale.
  • Maximum Envelope Space - The largest area that all parts of the robot cover with its various movements.
  • Mechanical - Use of machines and apparatuses.
  • Mechanization - Integration of machinery and equipment into manufacturing processes.
  • Mobile Robot - A type of robot with its own engine or power able to move without constraints on its path.
  • Moment - The measure of rotation about a reference object when a force is applied. When a reference point is used, the moment is the cross product of the amount of force and the perpendicular distance between the point and the line of force. When a reference line is used, the moment is the cross product of amount of force and the shortest distance between the line and the point where the force is applied. When a reference plane is used, the moment is the cross product of the amount of force and the perpendicular distance from the plane to the point where the force is applied.
  • Motion axis - The line defining the axis of motion either linear or rotary, of a segment of a manipulator.
  • Motoman - A manufacturer of multiple robots with the abilities to perform various tasks. (Common misspellings include: Motorman, Motormen, Motomen, Motormans, Motomans)
  • Muting - Turning off the presence-sensing safeguarding device during a part of robot operation.


  • Nanotechnology - (Molecular Manufacturing) The science of studying and inventing products on the small scale of the molecular level.
  • Normalize - The process of relating factors into similar magnitudes by scaling.
  • Numerical methods - Analytical procedures or heuristics repeatedly used by a computer to find a solution.


  • Off-Line Programming - A way to store procedure information for a robot on a computer to be used in the future.
  • On-Line Programming - The computer program controls the robot as the information and procedures are inputted into the computer.
  • Operating Envelope Space - The part of the restricted envelope taken up during the specified robots movements.
  • Operator - This person begins and ends processes the robot performs while observing to ensure proper procedures are occurring.
  • Optimization - Process of finding the best values for the independent variables within a function, which is most commonly the maximum or minimum value.


  • Palletizing - Used to move parts onto a pallet to be transported.
  • Parallel Robot - The linear or rotation joints of the robot's arms match each other in position and direction.
  • Pendant - A movable mechanism allowing the user to guide the robot's operation in the restricted envelope.
  • Performance Criteria - Evaluation of the robot's operations determined by kinematic and dynamic models.
  • Pick and Place Robot - A type of robot that moves parts from one place to another.
  • Plant Description - Information on the motion and forces of the robot.
  • Point-To-Point Motion - The user specifies points for the robot to follow along the path. The movement is point to point as opposed to a continuous motion.
  • Position-Level - The measure of the overall change in location of a joint. This can also be found by the double integration of acceleration-level and single integration of velocity-level. Refer to acceleration-level and velocity-level.
  • Positional Assembly - Molecular scale production through the use of component automation.
  • Presence-Sensing Safeguarding Device - A mechanism used to sense and detect when an object enters a given area.
  • Productivity - A measure of the amount of manufactured product compared to the amount of input material.
  • Program - Noun: A set of tasks to be performed by a robot controller or computer in order to control a system. Verb: To code a computer with a set of procedures or to provide information and tasks for a system to perform.
  • Programmable Logic Controller - (PLC) A device that allows for control of the equipment used for production. The user has more control with this device since it can provide the status of performance of the robots.
  • Pseudoinverse - The inversion of a non square matrix used with joint speeds to minimize the magnitude of a vector.



  • Reach - The distance from the center of the robot to the fullest extension of the robotic arm. The work envelope is determined from this distance.
  • Rebuild - Improvements are made to parts of the robots to return it to its original appearance, performance and life expectancy as closely as possible.
  • Redundancy - The number of independent variables is more than the number of constraints.
  • Reliability - A measure of the robot's end-effector's ability to perform similar operations multiple times based on similar operating conditions.
  • Remanufacture - To improve and advance robots in order to meet current standards.
  • Remote Compliance Center - (RCC) Used to decouple linear and rotational motion. All compliance structures have a center though the remote compliance center is projected outward.
  • Repair - To renew a robotic system by fixing any problems that have occurred to ensure proper operation.
  • Repeatability - The variability of the end-effector's position and orientation as the robot makes the same moves under the same conditions (load, temp, etc.)
  • Resolved-rate - Determining the joint's overall changed in velocity over time based on restrictions of the end-effector�s motion.
  • Restricted Envelope Space - A part of the maximum envelope in which the distance determines the boundaries the robot moves after the limiting device is activated.
  • Robot - A piece of equipment with the capability to be programmed to perform quick and accurate operations multiple times. (Common Misspellings: robotiks, roboticks, rowbot)
  • Robot Manufacturer - Creates, builds and/or sells robots and robotic equipment. (Common Misspellings: robot manufacterur, robot manufacturor, robot manufacterur, robot manufacterer, robotiks manufacturer, roboticks manufacturer)
  • Robot simulation - To imitate and observe processes through a model of the system.
  • Robot System Integrator - A business that merges robots, peripherals, and manufacturing machinery into a production system that functions as a single unit to perform manufacturing tasks.
  • Robotic Deburring Tool - A tool used to remove material such as burrs, sharp edges, or fins off metal parts. (Common Misspellings: robotiks deburring, oboticks deburring)
  • Robotic Rotary Joint - (Robotic Rotary Union, Robot Slip Ring) Consisting of a stationary part connected to the arm of the robot and a rotating part connected to the wrist and tool allowing for electrical and pneumatic cables to stay in place while cables required for the tool are free to rotate. Electricity is provided by the used of a slip ring. (Common Misspellings: robotiks rotary joint, roboticks rotary joint)
  • Robotic Self-Motion - The robot maintains the position of the end-effector while allowing other parts on the robot to move.
  • Robotic Tool Changer - Component with two mating parts (master and tool) that have been designed to lock together automatically (normally using pneumatic pressure) and are able to pass utilities (e.g. electrical signals, pneumatic supply, water, etc.). The master side of the tool changer mounts to a robot, or other structure. The tool side of the tool changer mounts to tooling, such as grippers, welders, or deburring tools. A robotic tool changer is also known as an automatic tool changer, robot tool changer, robot coupler, robotic coupler, and robotic connector.
  • RobotWorx - Company in central Ohio that provides new and used robot sales, integration, and robot service to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Specializes in Motoman, Fanuc, Panasonic, Nachi, and ABB robots. (Common Misspellings: RobotWorks, RobotWork, RoboWorx, RoboWorks, RoboWork, Robot Worx)
  • Rotational Motion - Describes circular movement with respect to the axis.


  • Safeguard - Protects workers from hazardous situations through physical barriers or guidelines to follow.
  • Safety Procedure - A set of instructions to help avoid harmful or dangerous situations.
  • Scale - Changing magnitude by linear operation, i.e. multiplying by a scalar.
  • SCARA Robot - A type of robot consisting of two concurrent joints that rotate and meet certain needs within the same plane.
  • Self-Assembly - A branch of nanotechnology in which objects, devices, and systems form structures without external prodding.
  • Self-Replication - Systems and devices in nanotechnology that make copies of themselves on their own.
  • Sensor - A device that responds to physical stimuli (such as heat, light, sound, pressure, magnetism, motion, etc.) and transmits the resulting signal or data for providing a measurement, operating a control, or both.
  • Serial robot - A type of robot that consists of one series of joints united with links.
  • Service - To improve, restore, and keep at proper working standards.
  • Shear Pads - Compliance pads that have layers of rubber metal stacked at heights from 0.5 to 1.5 inches. The stacking of rubber metal layers provides soft lateral compliance and high axial compliance. This high ratio of axial to lateral compliance provides the means to project a compliance center.
  • Shoulder - The joint of the robot's manipulator arm connected to the base.
  • Simulation - Modeling a situation through mathematics or computer programming.
  • Single Point of Control - Operations of the robot are controlled solely by one source.
  • Singularity - A point in the robot's movement where the joints become redundant.
  • Slow Speed Control - The robot's velocity of movement is decreased enough that the user can remove material or stop motion completely.
  • Software - A written program used by the computer to instruct the hardware to perform certain tasks.
  • Solenoid - A coil containing a moveable iron core. The core moves as the electrical current moves through the coil.
  • Spherical Robot - Consisting of three joints allowing for movement among a polar coordinate system.
  • Start-up - Providing power to a robot or system to begin operations.
  • Statics - Analysis of forces without motion.
  • Swing - A robot's rotational movement with respect to its centerline.
  • Systems Integrators - A company or person, which has the ability and knowledge to integrate the various parts of a robot welding system. System integrators are used to establish the requirements of a welding application and integrate the required equipment accordingly.


  • Teach - The generation and storage of a series of positional data points affected by moving the robot arm through a path of intended motions.
  • Teach Mode - The control state that allows the generation and storage of positional data points affected by moving the robot arm through a path of intended motions.
  • Test Automation - Software used to perform tests to observe various information about a system.
  • Tool Center Point - (TCP) The central axis of the tool movement.
  • Trigger Point - The moment a component moves to a different state.
  • Turnkey Project - A project in which a separate entity is responsible for setting up a plant or equipment and putting it into operation. (Common misspellings: turn-key, turn-key project)
  • Two-norm - The length of the vector which is found by summing the squares of the lengths then taking the square root of that number.



  • Velocity-level - The measure of variation of joint position over time. Single integration yields the overall change in position. Single differentiation yields the change in joint speed over time. Refer to acceleration-level and position-level.
  • Vertical Stroke - The amount of vertical motion of a robot arm from one elevation to the other.


  • Work Cell - Pieces of equipment within close proximity that all work on the same part.
  • Work Envelope - The boundary of space a robot can perform operations.
  • Work in Progress - An accounting term used to express the value of material taken up continuously by the work process.
  • Work Station - A place that the parts move to in order to be worked on.
  • Workspace - The area the robot can reach to perform operations. A portion of the maximum reach space.
  • Wrist - The end-effector is connected to this joint on the manipulator arm.


  • XYZ Coordinates - A reference to the most common names given to the lines forming a Cartesian solid.


  • Yaw - The side-to-side motion of the end-effector's rotation at an axis.


Contributing to this article

All entries should be entered under the proper alphabetical heading as a bullet item.  The term or word being defined should be in Bold.  The brief definition should be in normal text.  If a definition of more than two lines is needed, please create a new page using the term or word being defined as the page title, and place the more full description or definition on that page.  Also feel free to link to non-LabAutopedia web references.  Refer to the help page Creating a page and  Editing a page for information about these editing operations.  Please keep all entries as factual and vendor-neutral as possible. 

Click [+] for other articles on 
Lists(18 P)
The Market Place for Lab Automation & Screening  The Market Place
Click [+] for other articles on 
Transport systems(2 C, 3 P)
The Market Place for Lab Automation & Screening  Robots-Automated Systems