Level 3
Unit No:
Guided learning hours:
42 hours


Learners will develop an understanding of the principles and operations of robots. They will learn about robot control systems, the different types of sensors and their application in a robot. Learners will also develop the skills to design and develop a program to control a robot and will understand the role and importance of legislation associated with robot technology.

Unit Learning Outcomes


Understand the operating, design and control principles of different types of robots.

Uses: in the home, in manufacturing industry, in medical applications, agricultural environments.

Principles of operation: operational characteristics and specifications; types of controller, manipulator, end effector/tooling e.g. pneumatic suction cup, hydraulic, electrical and mechanical grippers; work space organisation e.g. feed of work, robot-to-robot work, material flow and logistics.

Design principles: manipulator coordinate systems e.g. cylindrical spherical, jointed, spherical, Cartesian and Selective Compliant Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) with associated working envelope; wrist articulations e.g. yaw, pitch and roll, degrees of freedom in terms of translations and rotations; drive mechanisms e.g. mechanical (ball screws, chain/belt, gears), pneumatic, hydraulic, electrical; speed reducers/gearheads e.g. harmonic, cycloidal, parallel shaft spur gear, planetary.

Control systems: on/off and programmable-integral-derivative (PID) control; closed-loop servo controlled systems e.g. for driving one axis of a robot; input, output and feedback signals e.g. the sequence which takes place in order to perform a task; control of three axes of a robot

Sensors: sensor types e.g. tactile (microswitches/piezoelectric/strain gauge/pressure), nontactile (capacitive/inductive/light/laser), vision (inspection, identification and navigation), sensor applications e.g. safety, work-cell control, component/part inspection.

End effectors: grippers and tools e.g. parts handling/transfer, assembly, welding, paint spraying, testing.

Assessment Criteria

  • 1.1

    Explain the operating, design and control principles of different types of robots.

  • 1.2

    Explain how different sensors and end effectors are used in robots.

  • 1.3

    Analyse the benefits and limitations of using robots for routine tasks.


Understand the legal and ethical issues in the development and use of robots.

Legal, social and moral issues relating to the development and use of robots, European Civil Law Rules in Robotics, Asimov’s Laws, Zeroth Law.

Roboethics: set of rules and principles that arise from the use of robots in our homes and workplaces, including such things as safety, privacy, and responsibility.

Assessment Criteria

  • 2.1

    Explain how legislation and roboethics influence the development and use of robots.


Be able to design and develop an operating program for a robot

Operating program: program selection, start-up, test, alterations and operation, types of programming e.g. manual, walk through, teach pendant methods, off-line programming, planning robot efficient routes, writing programs using flowcharts, work-cell commands e.g. wait/signal/delay.

Assessment Criteria

  • 3.1

    Design an operating program for a robot to enable it to carry out a specific function.

  • 3.2

    Develop an operating program for a robot to enable it to carry out a specific function.


Understand hazards and health, safety and maintenance requirements associated with robots.

Health and safety requirements: relevant regulations e.g. Health and Safety at Work Act, Electricity at Work Regulations, Health and Safety Executive publications, Machine Tool Technologies Association Codes of Practice (MTA Safeguarding Codes of Practice – Industrial Robots parts 1–3), human dangers e.g. during programming, maintenance and as a result of system faults, safety barriers e.g. 'dead man's handle', hold and emergency stop buttons, pressure pads/matting surrounding robot, infra red curtains and electromagnetic field barriers.

Maintenance: inspection routines e.g. mechanical condition of all parts, environmental conditions (particulate matter, temperature, ventilation, shock, vibration, electrical noise), spare parts required to sustain continuous operation, relevant maintenance tools and test equipment, set-up and maintenance schedules.

Assessment Criteria

  • 4.1

    Explain the health and safety requirements, and maintenance procedures for the safe operation of robots.