Robots Are Everywhere

In 1965 Lost in Space was a very popular show. And one of the most popular characters was “Robot B9” otherwise known as “Robot”. Clever writing back then.  But even before Robot, there was Rosie.  That faithful, trusted, hardworking housekeeping robot owned by the Jetsons. Both were depictions of the future. What can be… will be.  You know, they were ahead of their time by only a few decades – not millenniums.

Robots today can vacuum our carpets, play the piano, perform surgery, destroy you at ping pong, or in Japan, actually be your family pet.  But in our industrial world, I would say they are even more impressive – and necessary.robot blog

We’ve seen the robotics on the automotive assembly lines but in actuality what precision manufacturing process today doesn’t use robotics.

In a story last month by NBC News, China will have more robots in production facilities than any other country by 2017.  Today, South Korea has 437 robots for every 10,000 manufacturing workers. The US has 152.  That’s a lot of robots!

Reliability becomes essential. These are mechanical and electronic beings.  Components pieced together by very smart people to do very specific tasks often without supervision.  Turn them on, let them go.  The don’t take breaks. They run multiple shifts. Like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep on going.  …or at least they are expected to.  That’s where my world comes in. SEALS.  Testing seals for robotic applications have led to some interesting results.  Not all seals are created equal.  Some look alike. Generically they appear the same. But little nuances in design and material can be the difference between a robot running all through the night, or having its Servo motor overheat and die. Thus stopping production and requiring expensive repair.

At ESP we know seals. We know seals for Robotics.  Lip loads, speeds, temperatures all affect a seal lasting 500 hours or 10,000 hours. Yes, 10,000 hours. Materials act differently from NBR’s and HNBR’s to FKM’s and acrylics compounds.  Robots for assembly, cutting, sawing… the opportunities are endless for robotic applications and the requirements are only going to become more demanding for performance and cost effectiveness.  Let ESP help you in your robotic seal design.


Don Grawe is Director of Seal Markets for ESP International. He has over 20 years of experience in the seal industry serving the OEM industrial marketplace. You can learn more about ESP International at

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