Speed Dating: Get to know 5 Types of Industrial Robots

How to choose the right industrial robot for your operation

industrial robotics

Industrial robots solve many challenges for manufacturers—like productivity, safety, maintenance and workforce challenges—and work well for jobs that are dull, dirty, dangerous or difficult. But how do you know what type of robot is right for your application? What tasks can industrial robots perform? To help you find your perfect match, let’s get to know some types of robots and how you can deploy them to boost productivity.


The Need for Speed delta robot

If speed is your need, you should get familiar with delta robots. Delta, or “Spider,” robots are designed with all arms connected to a universal base (resembling a spider). Because the motors are in the stationary base and not the robot arms, delta robots can move more quickly and are perfect for high-speed applications. They can process up to 300 parts per minute.

Think of an application where items are coming down a conveyor and need to be placed into a bin. Delta robots can more quickly and accurately pick and place those items than humans, and it frees that person up to work on something more impactful. Delta robots can only handle smaller payloads and have a limited work envelope, or area of space it can reach, so use delta robots for pick and place, sorting, dispensing, assembly and small-scale machining applications where speed is important.


Small but Cost Effective scara robot

The SCARA robot only requires a small footprint, but it is mighty productive for high-speed and high-accuracy applications. SCARA robots are versatile, as they can be mounted on the ceiling, wall or machine they are working on and have four axes of movement. They are not as fast as delta robots, but they are more accurate and for many applications, more cost effective and less expensive.

A SCARA robot can only manage smaller payloads (less than ~13lbs) and has a smaller work envelope, but its repetitive pinpoint accuracy reduces production errors to help solve quality concerns. Use a SCARA robot to sort, assemble or pick and place products.


Loves to Travel cartesian robot

Cartesian robots are mounted from above and great for moving a wide variety of payloads over large distances. They can move in a straight line up, down or sideways and can be built to a certain length. If you need to move a payload 20 feet down a line, you can build a 20-foot section for the robot to slide across. They can also be outfitted with many different arms and grippers to manipulate and transport products. Use cartesian robots for CNC milling, sorting, palletizing or picking and placing items over long distances.


Strong and Flexible six-axis robot

Six-axis robots are the best option for performing a variety of functions that require a wide range of motion. As the name implies, they have six axes of movement, and they can handle payloads from a few kilograms to a thousand kilograms. Think of an articulated robot as a human arm but stronger, as it can be equipped with different grippers and accessories to manipulate products in different ways.

Six-axis robots are great for palletizing and stack and sort applications, as they can lift and place heavy objects where they need to go. They can even be used for welding or painting. Because a six-axis robot has more joints and rotating parts, it will not operate as quickly as a SCARA robot or delta robot, but its versatility is unmatched.


The Ideal Partner collaborative robot

Not all industrial robots are used to replace a human worker. Cobots can safely be deployed on their own or right next to human workers to improve quality, consistency and safety. Cobots also have six axes of movement and can do many of the same activities as six-axis articulated robots, but they move slower and can safely work around people.

Collaborative robots are safe to work next to because they can stop performing a function faster than humans can. The slightest bump (down to 0.2 Newtons of force) will shut down a cobot before it can harm anyone in its path of motion. Cobots offer flexibility and versatility, as you can quickly and easily move, reprogram and redeploy them for different tasks. Use cobots for applications like assembly, screwdriving, welding, etc.

Do any of these industrial robots sound like your perfect match? Reach out to your account manager with questions, or speak with one of our robotics experts to learn how industrial robots will improve your productivity, quality and safety.

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chad engelkes