The Differences Between Articulated, Gantry, and Delta Robots
When it comes to automating with industrial robots there are many types for manufacturers to choose from. Articulated, gantry, and delta robots are three of the main types used around the world for industrial manufacturing. Below is a breakdown of some of the key differences of these robot types when it comes to design, payload, and applications.
DesignArticulated robots are the most commonly used amongst industrial manufacturers. These robot systems mimics the human arm with anywhere between two to ten or more rotary joints. These rotary joints are the robot axes that provide a flexible range of motion and circular work envelope. The robotic arm of articulated robots is attached to a base that can be floor, ceiling, wall, or overhead mounted depending upon the model type. The most common articulated robot models have between four to six axes. The FANUC M-20ia is an example of this type of industrial robot. FANUC robots are some of the top in the world with over 500,000 systems installed worldwide.
The gantry robot design features a manipulator that is mounted overhead to a linear track. Because of the track system, gantry robots have a square or rectangular work envelope. Gantry system designs allow them to operate on three linear sliding axes, the x, y, and z planes. The FANUC M-710ic/70 is one of the more popular gantry robots deployed for manufacturing.
Delta robots feature a spider-like design, which is why the FANUC M-1ia is often referred to as a spider robot. This design features a stationary main robot body with three to four slim, lightweight arms extending downward from the body. Unlike gantry and articulated robots, delta robot motors are located in their main body, freeing their arms for extremely nimble operation.
Payload CapacityOne of the reasons articulated robots are so popular for manufacturing is because of their wide range in payload capacity. Articulated robot payload can be as little as 2 kilograms to over 1,000 kilograms. Since articulated robot motors are located in the robot arm, they are more conducive for heavier payload applications The FANUC LR Mate 200id has a payload of only 7KG, whereas the FANUC M-2000ia/2300 has a payload of 2300KG.
Like articulated robots, gantry robots can handle a variety of payloads. Their payload capacities can be just a few kilograms to extremely heavy workloads exceeding 3,000 kilograms. Their rail system provides added stability allowing for heavier payloads for their size. The rail system allows for reliable movement of workloads, regardless of how heavy they may be.
Due to the size and lightweight arms of delta robots, they are limited to light payload applications such as automated pick and place. Delta robot payloads typically range from 0.5 kilograms to 12 kilograms. However, their light payload capacity allows for their speedy operation.
ApplicationsArticulated robots are capable of performing numerous types of robotic applications with their flexible range of motion. These applications include arc welding, spot welding, robotic assembly, palletizing, packaging, cutting, painting, machine loading, and machine tending among several others. Six axis robots are generally a top pick for welding automation.
Gantry robots are best suited for applications with little part orientation requirements or pre-staged workpieces since they are restricted to linear movements from their track system. These applications include pick and place, part loading, dispensing, and automated handling.
Delta robots can be deployed for robot assembly, automated dispensing, robot part transfer, and robotic packaging processes. With their fast-operating speeds, simple part geometries allow for the most success in pick and place automation with delta robots.