Advantages of Articulated Robots

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
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.

Flexibility

One 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 Capabilities

Articulated 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.

Reliability

Another advantage of articulated robots is that they are more reliable than traditional manufacturing systems. Their enhanced precision and accuracy ensure application outcomes are consistent and do not deviate from the programmed path. Parts produced turn out uniform and without defects, significantly improving product quality. Productivity rates also become reliable and predictable since articulated robots operate continuously without delays or breaks. Reliable manufacturing methods can stabilize or even reduce costs with the elimination of errors, material waste, and long cycle times.

Easy to Maintain

Today’s articulated robots are built with fewer mechanical components and internalized cabling, easing maintenance requirements. The typical preventative maintenance for an articulated robot may be as simple as greasing its joints once every six months and changing its battery once a year. When robots are properly maintained they can operate for several years or decades and breakdowns are rare. Manufacturing companies could still be using their ABB 6640 and FANUC R-2000ib ten years from now without any stoppage. There is also less equipment to worry about maintaining since these robots eliminate the need for numerous types of machines with their multitasking capabilities.

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