UFactory xArm6 Review & ROS Integration

23.02.2022 19:14

Robotic Manipulators (RM) are a prominent symbol of robotics and have accelerated the growth of industries by many folds. It has become a norm for large organizations to utilize RM to increase their efficiency and expand their operations. The application area for RM in industries range from sorting systems, to assembly lines, fabrication lines, welding parts, painting things, machining metals, etc. RM are not limited to industries but are used commercially as well as domestically, e.g. inventory management, surgical operations, task-assistance, etc.

Today, we will be looking into the xARM6 robotic arm manufactured by UFACTORY. The technical specifications of the arm are given at MYBOTSHOP xARM. The xARM6 is a unique low cost, light weight robotic arm that has extensive features available ranging from multi input/output ports to changeable AC/DC control box. An especially attractive feature is its carbon fiber body. All the packages of xARM6 are open-source. Following are the links to the manuals for the xARM6.

For the gripper manuals:

The download to the software interface are available at:

The download to the software development kits are available at:

The 3D models for the robotic arms are available at:

Finally, the ROS control packages are available at:

xARM6 ROS Installation (Ubuntu 18.04) for Real Robot
 

  1. The first step to using ROS with the xARM6 is the installation of ROS melodic in to your computer system. To this follow the steps provided in ROS-melodic.
  1. The next step is to create a catkin workspace via:

    • mkdir xARM6_ws
    • cd xARM6_ws
    • mkdir src
    • cd src
  1. The next step is to clone the xARM6 ROS via:

  1. Update the dependencies of the package.

    • rosdep update
    • rosdep check --from-paths . --ignore-src --rosdistro melodic
    • Incase of dependencies not available, simply run
      • rosdep install --from-paths . --ignore-src --rosdistro melodic -y
  1. Build and source the package:

    • catkin_make
      • Incase some ros packages are missing run sudo apt-get install ros-melodic-package_name
    • source ~/xARM6_ws/devel/setup.bash
  1. Run rviz via:

    • roslaunch xarm6_moveit_config realMove_exec.launch robot_ip:=192.168.1.***
      • The ip will be written in the backside of the xARM6 control box.

         

Fig. The left gif is the xARM6 being operated by MoveIt control. The right gif is the rviz visualization. Initially a final goal state is given, the orange xARM6, then a transparent xARM6 moves to the final state from the initial state which is the planning algorithm in action, and finally, the actual xARM6 moves both in Rviz as well as the real-robot.

Comparative Analysis

Model
Company
UFACTORY xArm
FRANKA EMIKA Panda
UNIVERSAL ROBOTS UR3e
Operation
Host PC
Host PC
Host PC | Teach Pendant
ROS Control
Plug & play
Configuration required
Configuration required
I/O Ports
Multi
None
Multi
Sensor Integration
Available
None
Available
Software Development
Quick & straight forward
Minimal configuration required
Substantial configuration required
Pricing
Low
Mid
High






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