Teach pendants are a specific type of industrial pendant. They are devices equipped with switches and dials used to control a robot's movements to and from desired points within a determined space. Teach pendants are used for motion control of automated or robotic machinery in manufacturing, processing, and medical applications. New software applications are available to enable mobile devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) to function as teach pendants.
Teach pendants are used in industrial applications to program and control automated machines or robotics that perform demanding, hazardous, or repetitive tasks. Industrial pendants are portable control devices that allow an operator to safely manipulate the actions of robotic machinery. Automated or robotic machinery is often used for material handling and assembly, welding, loading and unloading, and painting and coating tasks. Teach pendants are designed to control the robot through a teach-and-repeat technique, where the operator uses the teach pendant to program the robot for a specific task, range of motion, or speed. The operator uses the controls on the robot pendant to provide the robot with information about speed, delay times, and execution of specific functions as well as to define the robot’s physical relationship with the other machinery that may be involved in the process.
Operators can use three basic programming techniques to provide control and define the robot’s geometric coordinates: lead-through, walk-through, and off-line. Lead-through programming is the only method that uses teach pendants to program the robot with position and functional data. During lead-through programming, the operator works alongside the machine and using the teach pendant to deliver data and process parameters. In walk-through programming, the operator physically manipulates the machine itself and in off-line programming, the operator programs the robot from a computer separate from the production area. Fanuc is a popular manufacturer of industrial robots and teach pendants. A Fanuc teach pendant is a proprietary control device used with robots in many medical and manufacturing applications.