Advantages of Articulated Robots
Articulated robots are extremely versatile, which may be why they are the most common type of factory robot. Their rotary joint configuration featuring a robotic arm connected to a rotating base is one of the most recognizable robotic designs. These industrial robots can range from having anywhere from two axes to ten or more, providing a wide scope in their range of motion capabilities. Companies often choose articulated robots for their automation needs since they offer many key advantages for the optimization of manufacturing processes.
FlexibilityOne advantage of automating with robots is their flexibility. Articulated robots can easily adapt to process changes or variations through programming or integration with robot vision systems. Four-axis, five-axis, and six-axis articulated robots provide enhanced dexterity for the ability to re-orientate parts while operating. A FANUC M710ic/50 is able to pick up an object and rotate the part with its wrist so it is placed in the correct direction onto a conveyor. If parts enter a workcell upside down, a Motoman MH24 can adjust them itself instead of requiring assistance from workers or other machinery. Articulated robots allow for the flexibility to shift or rotate parts during operation, unlike hard automation systems which are inflexible and do not allow for process changes. In addition, six-axis articulated robots provide a larger work envelope, allowing them the ability to reach all angles, work with a variety of workpieces, and handle complex tasks.
Multi-Application CapabilitiesArticulated robots are capable of performing multiple types of robotic applications. The FANUC M710ic/20L is able to perform robotic assembly, welding automation, and automated pick and place applications. With multi-application capabilities, articulated robots streamline manufacturing since one robot can be used to complete multiple tasks, reducing the total number of components needed for manufacturing.
Articulated robots are a cost-effective investment since they can be redeployed should product lines change. Fixed manufacturing machines are only capable of performing one specific task, making them impossible to repurpose should manufacturing needs evolve. Other types of robots, such as non-articulated gantry robots, do not provide as wide of an application scope as articulated ones do. Non-articulated gantry robots care mainly limited to simple pick and place applications whereas articulated gantry robots can be used to automate machine tending or robotic welding.