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(1) In mining, the main mechanism of a drilling rig; designed for moving the automatic feeder and hammer drill in the face area. Manipulators are sometimes used for mounting various types of attachments that permit the lifting of support elements, charging of blast holes, and inspection of the roof. There are four basic types of manipulator designs: radial (rotary), linear, columnar, and swept-back. Manipulators have pneumatic, hydraulic, or combined drive (manual drive is sometimes used for certain auxiliary operations). Columnar and swept-back manipulators are most commonly used. For swept-back manipulators, the width and height of the face being drilled can be varied over a wide range; when using columnar manipulators the parameters are limited. Swept-back manipulators are also used as attachments mounted on loading machines.
(2) In pressure-shaping metalworking processes, a machine for performing auxiliary operations connected with changing the position of the blank.
A metal-rolling manipulator shifts the metal from one pass to another and guides it to and from the rolls; it sometimes straightens the metal if, upon emerging from the rolls, it has buckled severely enough to make further rolling difficult. Metal-rolling manipulators are used mainly at blooming mills, slabbing mills, and the breaking-down stands of section mills. In this case, they are usually two massive horizontal power side guards (manipulator heads), located parallel to the mill axis, which can be moved along the body of the roll. Each side guard is powered by a separate electric motor through a rack-and-gear drive. The side guards move at a rate of 0.5-1.0 m/sec. A turner is usually mounted on one of the guards.
Forging manipulators are used on hammers and hydraulic presses for mechanizing forging and stamping operations. The working member of the forging manipulator, powerful mechanized tongs, is designed for gripping forging stock weighing up to 150 tons. During the forging process the tongs move the stock horizontally and vertically and rotate it. The manipulator can be moved in a certain direction (on rails) or in any direction (if it has rubber-tired wheels) in the shop. This permits use of the manipulator for delivering the stock to the heating furnace, transporting the stock to the hammer or press and, after the forging process, for removing the finished forging. In the manufacture of forgings weighing more than 150 tons, the manipulator operates in conjunction with a crane and a turner, supporting one end of the forging stock. The use of manipulators with servo-operated automatic controls is promising.
(3) In nuclear engineering, devices for working with radioactive substances, to avoid direct contact of humans with the substances. With the use of a manipulator, an object located behind a shielded wall can be gripped, shifted, and turned. Mechanically operated pantograph-type manipulators (master-slave manipulators) exactly reproduce the movement of the operator’s hand. The angular orientation of the master-slave “hand” and the movements imitating clutching and gripping are transmitted hydraulically or by cables leading from the control lever to the master-slave “hand.” Manipulators with electrically interconnected master and slave arms are used for remote control over great distances from the operator.