Dual Arm Robots
Industrial robots have been used for decades in manufacturing, taking over and improving many production processes. Traditional robots featuring a single robotic manipulator configuration are still the most commonly deployed. However, advancements in robotic technology has led to the development of new robotic designs, one of which is the dual arm robot.
Dual arm robots are unique in their design because instead of a single robotic arm, they have two. Their arms extend outward from either side of their robotic base. Since these robots have two arms, they tend to have more axes than single six axis robots. The number of axes for a dual arm robot can range from four up to fifteen, for an enhanced range of motion. Each arm has a specific payload capacity and reach just like single arm robots. Their arms can work separately for hyper productivity or they can work together. Ways in which dual robot arms can work together include transferring parts from arm to arm or with one arm holding a part while the other works with the part.
Dual arm robots are available in articulated, collaborative, and SCARA robot types. Many top robotic manufacturers in the world produce dual arm robots. Yaskawa Motoman was one of the first with their DIA and SDA articulated dual arm robot series. The DIA10 is commonly used for automating material handling processes. When ABB decided to venture into developing collaborative robots, they created the world’s first dual arm cobot with their YuMi robot. Kawasaki has developed two armed SCARA robots with their duAro robot series.
Applications for Dual Arm RobotsSince dual arm robots have multiple degrees of freedom, they provide increased flexibility, making them ideal for automating complex tasks. The majority of dual arm robots are used for material handling applications including robotic assembly, automated part transfer, machine tending, machine loading/unloading, and robotic packaging. Yaskawa’s SDA series is exclusively designed for assembly applications. The Motoman SDA5 is ideal for automating complex assemblies such as those used in electronic manufacturing.
The two-arm configuration allows for better part handling since parts can be passed from one arm to the other seamlessly and quickly without having to set the part down. The two-arm design provides maneuverability that is human-like with the ability to hold parts and work on them simultaneously with one robot instead of needing multiple or additional equipment.
Dual arm robot setups or master/slave setups are very common in automated welding applications. In these scenarios, there are actually 2 seperate manipulator arms working together as a pair. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic and Motoman MA1400 are commonly found set up in this manner. The slave controller does not have a main CPU and instead utilizes the master CPU. Dual arm welding robots are very usefull in robotic welding cells that have a lot of welds or require long welds that exceed the reach of the robot.
Benefits of Dual Arm RobotsDual arm robots have proven to be quite beneficial to manufacturing processes. Some of the key benefits to automating with these robots include:
- • Two-Hand Operation - Dual arm robots provide functionality that is the most similar to humans than other industrial robots. Workpieces can be repositioned and held by one arm while the other completes the work.
- • Improved Cycle Times - Cycle times can be significantly reduced with dual arm robots. These robots can handle multiple simultaneous tasks and operate at high-speeds, allowing for parts to be completed at faster rates.
- • Flexibility - Since these robots have more axes or degrees of freedom, they are able to access greater amounts of space. This means they can operate from almost any angle, which is particularly beneficial for complex workpieces.