Robot Maintenance 355

Robot Maintenance provides an overview of the maintenance and repair of industrial robots and their components. The efficient operation of all robotic equipment depends on proper maintenance. Regular maintenance activities for industrial robots may include lubricating all moving parts, maintaining bearing and gear systems, maintaining servomotors and other power systems, caring for electrical components, and keeping all controller hardware and software updated and in working order. Utilizing preventive and predictive maintenance plans is the most efficient and cost-effective way to implement maintenance, rather than waiting until critical components break and fail.

After taking this class, users will understand the basic activities and considerations associated with robot maintenance and repairs. Robot maintenance is important for ensuring proper operation and safety within an industrial facility.

  • Difficulty Advanced

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 13

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Robot Maintenance
  • Workspace Installation
  • Lubricants
  • Bearings, Gears, and Timing Belts
  • Servomotors
  • Pneumatic System Maintenance
  • Maintenance Review
  • Controller Maintenance
  • Electrical and Power Maintenance
  • Inspection
  • Preventive Maintenance and Planning
  • Safety
  • Final Review
  • Describe general robot maintenance.
  • Describe the importance of proper robot installation.
  • Describe proper lubrication of industrial robots.
  • Describe general maintenance for robot bearings, gears, and timing belts.
  • Describe general maintenance for servomotors.
  • Describe the maintenance of pneumatic systems in robots.
  • Describe robot controller maintenance.
  • Describe electrical maintenance for industrial robots.
  • Describe inspection processes as they relate to robot maintenance.
  • Describe preventive maintenance and maintenance plans.
  • Describe safety practices for robot maintenance.
Vocabulary Term


A standardized cylindrical battery with a diameter of 14.51 mm (0.57 in.) and a length of 50.5 mm (1.99 in.). AA batteries can be used to back up power to a robot and its controller.


A sensor that detects movement and speed. Accelerometers are used to detect and measure vibration.

American National Standards Institute

ANSI. A private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates voluntary standards and systems. The American National Standards Institute is one of several organizations that standardizes relevant safety codes for robot installation.

ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012

A standard providing guidelines on robot operation and integration, including safety and maintenance. ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 is also known as the American National Standard for Industrial Robots and Robot Systems-Safety Requirements.


Self-governing. Autonomous systems can be configured to make decisions independent of human interaction.


A friction-reducing device that allows one moving part to glide past another moving part. Bearings operate using a sliding or rolling mechanism.


The generation of a current through contact and rotation of electrical components. Servomotors use either electrical or manual commutation.

computerized maintenance management system

CMMS. A technology and software package that organizes and tracks data about a company's maintenance operations. Computerized maintenance management systems are an important tool for preventive and predictive maintenance.

condition-based maintenance

A maintenance approach that involves collecting data related to machine operation in order to service a machine before maintenance issues arise. Condition-based maintenance, also known as predictive maintenance, is performed on a scheduled basis and helps prevent unscheduled downtime.


The main device that processes information and carries out instructions in a robot. The controller has a CPU or processor and provides the means for interfacing with the robot, saving programs, and processing instructions to drive the robot.


Protection against criminal or unauthorized access to computer networks, programs, and data. Cybersecurity has become a major industrial concern as networking and connectivity have increased.

D cell

A standardized cylindrical battery with a diameter of 32.1 mm (1.3 in.) and a length of 61.5 mm (2.42 in.). D cell batteries may be found in robots and their controllers.

digital twins

A virtual representation of a physical asset or part. A digital twin evolves with the asset throughout its product lifecycle.


A period of time when production stops, often due to mechanical failure or maintenance needs. Downtime can be planned or unplanned.


A device that translates rotary or linear motion into a digital signal. Encoders are mounted to the servomotor of a robot.


A type of testing that examines particles present in oil and other lubricants. Ferrography can determine if components are breaking down and if lubricants need to be replaced.


The software that allows the hardware to operate and programs to be completed. Firmware must be kept updated to protect industrial robot equipment from security threats.


A force that resists motion between two components that are in contact with each other. Friction creates heat.


A safety device that detects excessive electrical current in a system. Fuses often have components that melt in the presence of excess current to open a circuit.


A circular, toothed machine component that engages, rotates, and transmits power to another circular, toothed machine component when rotated. Gears are usually used in pairs to transmit energy and motion.


A semisolid substance composed of oil and a chemical soap or other additive. Grease is commonly used as an industrial lubricant.

industrial robots

A reprogrammable machine sometimes used in place of a person in a manufacturing setting. Industrial robots perform dangerous or repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy.

input devices

A device that allows a human being to communicate with and program a robot. Input devices include keyboards and teach pendants.

lights-out manufacturing

Fully automated manufacturing that can operate independently in a facility without any employees on site. Lights-out manufacturing allows facilities to operate for extended hours while reducing labor costs.


A lightweight, silver-white metal that is highly reactive. Lithium is often used in lubricants as a thickening agent because it is extremely dense.

lithium batteries

A battery that uses metallic lithium as the anode. Lithium batteries typically use another type of metal as the cathode.

load rating

The maximum amount of weight or resistance that a device can support safely. Load ratings are listed on the nameplate of a motor or robot.


The force or pressure placed on a component or system. Loads oppose the force exerted by robot or motor.


The force or pressure placed on a component or system. Loads oppose the force exerted by robot or motor.


A method of protecting employees by preventing accidental machine startup through proper locking and labeling of machines during maintenance. Lockout/tagout is the common term for OSHA's Control of Hazardous Energy Standard.


A substance that reduces or prevents friction, resistance, heat, and wear during a variety of manufacturing processes. Lubricants include oil, grease, and graphite.

machine learning

The process that enables a digital system to analyze data in order to build predictive models and make decisions autonomously. Machine learning systematically solves problems using highly complex algorithms.


A device that is used to assess the quality and functionality of electrical connections. Multimeters combine the functions of an ammeter, a voltmeter, and an ohmmeter.

nondestructive testing

A category of inspection processes that evaluates properties and performance using methods that do not damage or permanently alter the equipment. Nondestructive testing methods include visual inspection, liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, eddy current testing, ultrasonic testing, and radiographic testing.


A slippery fluid commonly used as a lubricant. Both natural and synthetic oils are used in industrial applications.

path planning

Using algorithms to direct the robot's motions through space. Path planning software finds the safest and most efficient route for a robot to complete a task.

peripheral devices

A physical device connected to a wired or wireless network that performs an auxiliary function. Peripheral devices communicate with a controller.


Power created by the controlled motion of gas, usually air, under pressure. Pneumatic systems are often used to power robotic grippers, simple pick-and-place devices, and robots in which electric motors might pose a hazard.

Predictive maintenance

A maintenance approach that involves collecting data related to machine operation in order to service a machine before maintenance issues arise. Predictive maintenance, also known as condition-based maintenance, is performed on a scheduled basis and helps prevent unscheduled downtime.

presence-sensing devices

Mechanisms used to detect the location of people or objects near hazardous areas of a machine. Presence-sensing devices often use pressure-sensitive mats or light curtains.

preventive maintenance

PM. A type of maintenance performed while a component is in working order to keep it from breaking down. Preventive maintenance may include lubricating, tightening, and replacing worn parts.

reduction gears

A gear that lessens the speed of mechanical energy while increasing the torque. Reduction gears help control and stabilize robot movement.


A device that restricts current flow. Resistors produce work, such as heat, light, or mechanical motion.

safeguarding systems

Any device, barrier, or process that protects an employee from being injured by a machine. Safeguarding systems include physical barriers and presence-sensing devices.

safety fences

A type of physical barrier used to deter accidental entry into a robot's workcell. Safety fences should have signs warning of the hazards within their boundaries.

Secure Digital cards

SD cards. A memory device used in portable equipment. Secure Digital cards were developed by the Secure Digital Association (SDA).


A small motor used in robots to allow for precise movement. Servomotors are often used in several places in a robotic arm, including the elbow joint and the gripper.


The rotating part of a motor that transmits torque to the load. The shaft can become misaligned without proper maintenance.

smart manufacturing

Technologically integrated manufacturing that creates and uses data in real-time to address the needs of the factory, supplier, and customer. Smart manufacturing is an advancement of traditional manufacturing automation.

smart sensors

A device equipped with software that can detect physical changes in the environment and process them as digital signals. Smart sensors contain processors and are more advanced than standard sensors that only send on/off signals.


The coded instructions or programs that control robot hardware functions and operations. Software allows robots to perform complex tasks with autonomy.

synthetic oils

A lubricant consisting of fluid chemical compounds that are artificially made. Synthetic oils are widely available and can be manufactured by using chemically modified petroleum components.

teach pendant

A device used to control a robot during programming. Teach pendants may have control buttons, a joystick, or a touch screen.

temperature sensors

A type of sensor that measures thermal values. Temperature sensors monitor both internal robot and ambient temperatures.

time-based preventive maintenance

Service performed on equipment according to an established inspection schedule. Time-based preventive maintenance schedules can be tracked manually or with computerized maintenance management systems.

timing belts

A toothed belt that meshes with the grooves of a pulley in a synchronous belt drive. Timing belts maintain constant speed during power transmission and are commonly found in robotic arms.


A method of adjusting the controller's positioning and response to error. Controller tuning is typically achieved automatically, but can be performed manually.

ultrasonic testing

A nondestructive testing method that uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves to detect internal discontinuities and defects. During ultrasonic testing, reflected sound waves are converted into electrical signals, which technicians then evaluate for any indications.

usage-based preventive maintenance

Service performed on equipment according to a schedule based on equipment utilization and performance. Usage-based preventive maintenance can be scheduled according to length of time in use, number of product cycles, or other performance measurements.

vacuum grippers

A device that uses flexible suction cups and vacuum-controlled airflow to attach to parts. Vacuum grippers allow robots to perform tasks such as handling and moving parts.

vibration analysis

An inspection technique that measures levels of machine vibration in order to determine if the machine is functioning properly. Vibration analysis can find problems by detecting increases in vibration.


A fluid or semi-fluid substance's resistance to flow. Viscosity is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a lubricant.


Wire wrapped around a core or into a coil that is used to conduct current. Windings create the magnetic field in a motor that makes the motor work.


The area that includes a robot and any external devices or equipment that interact with the robot. Robotic workcells contain the maximum volume of space that the robot can reach.