What are the Differences Between SCARA and Gantry Robots?

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
SCARA and gantry robots are both commonly used to automate assembly, material handling, picking, palletizing, and dispensing applications. Since these two types of industrial robots are used to automate similar tasks, deciding between them may seem difficult. However, there are some key differences between them. Understanding these differences will help you select the best option for your manufacturing needs.

Work Envelope

One of the biggest differences between SCARA and gantry robots is their work envelope. SCARA robots operate in a circular work envelope while gantry robots operate in a rectangular work envelope. The FANUC SR-6ia along with other SCARA robots feature a two link robotic arm. The robotic arm is flexible along the X and Y planes and rigid along the Z plane. However, SCARA’s are capable of 360 degrees of rotation around the Z plane for a circular work envelope. Gantry robots feature a robotic manipulator that is mounted to a grid system. This grid system features coordinated directions that are at right angles to one another. Because of the grid system gantry robots operate in a rectangular work envelope that allows them to move linearly along the X, Y, and Z planes.


SCARA robots can be floor or pedestal mounted with some also allowing for wall mounting. The FANUC SR-3ia is available with optional wall mounting. Gantry robots on the other hand are more limited when it comes to installation options due to their rail system. Gantry robots are mainly only mounted overhead, however, some can also be mounted below work areas.


SCARA robots feature compact footprints. Their small size does not require much space for their operation, making them ideal for those with confined work areas. Their small size allows them to be easily integrated to almost any production floor. Gantry robots feature larger footprints than SCARA robots because of their grid system. More space is needed to install a FANUC M-20ia/20T than a SCARA robot. This may make implementing a gantry robot in a smaller factory difficult.


SCARA robots are light payload robots. Most SCARA robot payloads range between 0.5 kg to 20 kg. Their light payloads limit the types of applications and workpieces they can handle. Gantry robots feature higher payloads than SCARA robots and because their rail system provides extra support, they are able to manipulate heavy loads, especially for their size. Their heavier payload capacity allows for a greater variety of workpieces and tooling.


Due to the compact size and light payload of SCARA robots, they are only suitable for working with small parts. Reaches for SCARA robots are typically 1,000 mm or less. Gantry robots are ideal for working with larger workpieces. Their robotic rail system allows them to travel 5,000 mm or more. They can easily cover the span of large workpieces.


SCARA robots are one of the fastest types of industrial robots. Their light payload and four-axis design allow for fast operation to significantly decrease cycle times. Gantry robots are fast as well, but not as speedy as SCARA robots.

Robots Done Right is the place to start when it comes to used robots. Contact us if you are interested in buying or selling a used robot.