What Type of Robot Do I Need?

When specifying a robot for an application there are many different things that need to be considered. What space is available? What is the robot going to be lifting? What speeds need to be achieved? What environment is it in? How accurate does the robot need to be when picking and placing the item? These are just a few of the question that need to be answered before you will be able to select the best robot for your application.

The best place to start is to analyse exactly what you want the robot to do. What are you trying to achieve by installing a robot? What space have you got available? What does the throughput need to be to make the project viable?

Below we explain in more detail what the different types of robot are, and what applications they are most suited to.


Collaborative robots

Collaborative robots have been designed to allow a human to work alongside them without the need for guarding. They are typically slower than industrial robots and have a lower payload. However, they have the benefits of force monitoring, and the fact that they often don’t need guarding.

Some of the more common uses for collaborative robots include; pick and place, machine tending, gluing, dispensing, welding, polishing, grinding, de-burring, assembly, painting, coating, dipping.

Introducing cobots to your production process does not only have the benefit of reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries occurring, but can also have the added impact of reducing wastage of consumables in such as glue, fasteners etc.


Industrial robots

There are four main subcategories of industrial robot, each of which is explained in more detail below.

Robotic Arm

Probably the most common type of pick and place robot is the robotic arm type. They typically come as 5 axis robots for standard pick and place applications in a horizontal plane, or 6 axis robots for more complex applications where the products needs twisting from the horizontal. Robotic arms are able to work with a high degree of accuracy at high speeds, and are able to take high payloads.

Some of the most common applications for industrial robots include: welding, material handling, machine tending, painting, pick and place, packing, palletising, assembly, cutting, grinding, de-burring, polishing, gluing, adhesive sealing, and spraying materials.

Cartesian Robot

Cartesian robots are also known as linear or gantry robots. They are a very common type of pick and place robot that used to be cheaper, but is now not so commonly installed apart from for injection moulding machine applications. The advantages of a Cartesian robot is that they have high positional accuracy and can handle heavy loads. However, the disadvantage of a Cartesian robot is that movement is limited to only one direction at a time.

Applications that suit Cartesian robots include pick and place operations, loading and unloading, material handling, assembly and sub-assembly, and adhesive applications.

Delta Robot

Delta robots are mounted above the workspace and are typically used for high speed pick and place, or product transfer applications. The advantages of delta robots are their high speed and high operational accuracy.

Scara Robot

Scara robots, also known as fast pick robots, are an excellent option for fast pick and place applications; with cycle times as fast as 150 cycles per minute. Fast pick robots can also be used in packaging and assembly processes as well.


Robot Grippers

As robots can handle such a wide variety of products, the gripper on a robot is usually custom made to suit the application. However, there are four main types of gripper; vacuum, pneumatic, hydraulic and servo-electric.


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