Articulated Robots vs Delta Robots
Articulated and delta robots are some of the most common types of industrial robots. They both can be used in manufacturing to automate production related processes, however, that is where their similarities end. Articulated robots and delta robots have many differences.
ConfigurationArticulated robots feature the characteristic design of industrial robots with a single robotic manipulator arm attached to a robotic base. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic is classified as an articulated robot. They range greatly in size from small robots to large robots. They can consist of as little as 2 axes or have over 10 axes. Most have between 4 to 6 axes, with 6 axis robots being the most common.
Instead of having a single robotic arm, delta robots consist of three to four robotic arms. Their arms are lightweight and slender and extend downward from the robotic base. Their arms are connected by a small tooling plate which is where the EOAT is attached. This design allows for incredibly fast speeds with the motor being housed in the main body, freeing the arms for fast, nimble movements. Delta robots can consist of 3, 4, or 6 axes. The FANUC M-2ia is a delta robot from FANUC’s Spider Series.
Payload CapacityArticulated robots come in a wide range of payload capacities. There are low payload robots starting at as little as 0.5 kg for light part handling and can go up to 20 kg. Medium payload robots are capable of payloads from over 20 kg to around 150 kg. High payload robots can handle payloads over 200 kg for heavy lifting applications. The FANUC M-900ia/600 is an incredibly strong articulated robot.
Due to the size and design of delta robots, they are limited to light payloads. Delta robot payloads start at 0.5 kg and go up to around 12 kg. Delta robots are more so designed for speed rather than strength.
ReachJust as articulated robots can vary greatly by payload, they can also vary greatly by reach. Standard articulated robot reaches typically range between 1,000 mm and 3,000 mm. Short arm articulated robots are those with a reach under 1,000 mm. While there are also extended reach robots with arms extending over 3,000 mm. The Motoman MA3100 is an extended reach robot that is ideal for large work envelopes.
Delta robots consist of shorter reaches than articulated robots. They can range from under 300 mm to a little over 1,000 mm, making them best for more compact work envelopes.
MountingMost articulated robots are floor mounted. However, depending on the robot model they can also be wall, ceiling, or tabletop mounted. Articulated robots can be mounted to tracks on the floor or overhead in the case of gantry robots.
Delta robots are typically mounted overhead, or angle mounted. This helps conserve floorspace while also providing better access to parts.
ApplicationsArticulated robots can automate most production related tasks. The most common applications for articulated robots include welding automation, automated palletizing, material handling, robotic material removal, and painting. The ABB 6640 is ideal for automating material handling tasks.
Delta robots are best for applications with light payloads, simple parts, and where speed is needed. Most delta robots are used to automate assembly, pick and place, dispensing, and part transfer processes.