This question came up as a follow-up question to a recent blog about robotics and automation…
Would a part diverter be classified as robotics or automation?
The general rule I always follow is: If it is programmable, it is a robot… if not, it is automation.
Therefore, if the diverter acted as a sort device where acceptable parts were sent one way, while defective or questionable parts were sent another way based on process or inspection data, then it could be considered robotics. If a sensor was just placed on a conveyor to sense different parts and automatically divert of orient parts in a specific manner, then it might be considered automation.
Under such a definition, a simple device such as a sprue picker which needs to be mechanically adjusted to alter the speed, length, and movement of the arm might be considered automation.