Six Main Types of Robots, Their Pros, Cons, and Applications

Led by an increased desire for improved product quality, increased efficiency, increased profitability, improved working environment, continuous production rate, and prestige, many manufacturing industries are embracing the art of automating their production processes. However, when choosing the type of industrial robot that is suitable for a particular production, it is vital to consider factors such as; 

  • speed
  • load 
  • precision
  • orientation
  • duty cycle
  • travel
  • environment

Considering that there are many industrial robots for sale, having these factors in mind will help you select a suitable robot that will give you the most effective and profitable results in your manufacturing plant.

Below, we will look at the six major types of robots with their pros, cons, and applications to help you make an informed decision when buying an industrial robot for automating your production processes.

1.   Articulated Robots

In its mechanical configuration, Articulated robots usually resemble a human arm. The rotary joints that connect the arm to the links can range from two to ten joints. The arm is typically connected to a base via a twisting joint.

Each joint in the articulated robot is used to provide an additional degree of movement, making the robot have maximum flexibility. Articulated robots can be applied in various areas such as;

  • Food packaging
  • Spot welding
  • Steel cutting
  • Machine tending
  • Glass handling 
  • Arc welding
  • Automotive assembly.

Some of the advantages of articulated robots include; high speed, easy to align to various planes, and less floor space. Their main disadvantages include; complex kinematics, complicated programming, and the need to have a skilled and dedicated supervisor.

2.   Scara Robots

Also known as selective compliance assembly robot arm. This type of robot can be used in various applications such as;

  • Machine loading
  • Assembly applications
  • Palletizing
  • Semi-conductor wafers handling
  • Packaging
  • Biomed applications

Its main advantages include; exceptional repeatability and high-speed. Its limitations include; they are hard to program while offline, they are limited planar surfaces, and they also require a skilled programmer.

3.   Cartesian Robots

They are also referred to as rectilinear or gantry robots. These robots are used in pick and place operations, adhesive applications, loading and unloading, nuclear material handling, material handling, and assembly and sub-assembly.

Its main advantages include;

  • Less cost
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to program offline
  • Ability to handle heavy loads
  • Easy to operate.

Some of its limitations include;

  • Its movement is limited to only one direction at a time
  • It requires a large floorspace for its installation and functionality
  • Cylindrical robots

4.   Cylindrical Robots

Cylindrical robots are usually used in various applications such as machine loading and offloading, coating applications, transport of LCD panels, die casting, and assembly applications.

Among its many benefits, cylindrical robots are easy to install and operate, require less floor space, and the ability to carry heavy and large payloads.

Its limitations include; low accuracy and its inability to reach around obstacles.

5.   Delta Robots

Also known as parallel link robots are ideal for their high operational precision and high speed. However, these robots are limited in that they require a dedicated supervisor and are also very complicated when it comes to their operation.

Some of the areas where delta robots can be applied include; 

  • Food industry
  • Optical fiber alignment
  • Flight simulators
  • Pharmaceutical industries
  • Automobile simulators
  • Electronic industry

6.   Polar Robots

Also known as spherical robots because of their spherical work envelope. Polar robots usually can reach all around. This means that the robot can be able to reach obstacles whether they are above or below them. Polar robots also require less floor space and can handle large work volumes.

Polar robots’ main applications include; stacking and unstacking, welding, die casting, forging, welding, and material handling.

Some of its limitations include; low precision and repeatability, short vertical reach, and not common even in its new designs.

Conclusion

Whether you are in the manufacturing industry, food, and beverage industry, medicine, automotive industry, or any other field, the fact of the matter is that robots are being applied across all these various fields.

Knowing the different types of industrial robots available in the market, their applications, and their advantages and limitations can help you make a very informed choice when automating your tasks.

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