Five Axis Robots

six axis FANUC robot Motoman Six Axis robot FANUC Six Axis Robot six axis robot six axis robots

The use of industrial robots continues to be on the rise across the world. The driving force behind this continuous growth is the numerous benefits of automating with industrial robots. These benefits include increased productivity, improved product quality, lower costs, and the ability to expand manufacturing capabilities with robots. Another factor in the expansion of robotics is that they are available in various configurations, sizes, and payload capacities, making it possible for any manufacturer to find a robotic solution that is best suited for their needs. One of the characteristics industrial robots can vary on is the number of axes they are composed of.

A robotic axis represents a degree of freedom or an independent motion. Most industrial robots have between three to seven axes, with four-axis, five-axis, and six-axis robots being the most common. The more axes a robot has the greater amount of space it will be able to reach, meaning it will have more flexibility to be able to complete complex tasks. When selecting a robot, one of the main decisions that will arise will be determining how many axes you will need.

Five-axis robots are a type of articulated robot. Their configuration consists of the typical industrial robot design in which a robotic manipulator is attached to a rotating base, for example the FANUC M710ic/50H. Five-axis robots consist of five motors, two of which are located in the upper arm to allow for greater motion of the end-effector. Each axis is responsible for a specific movement, which are defined as the following for a five-axis robot:

  • • Axis One - Axis one is located in the robot base. This axis controls the left to right movement of the robotic manipulator allowing for a complete 180 degrees of movement from the center point. Axis one is responsible for moving objects along a straight line.

  • • Axis Two - Axis two is located in the lower arm of a robot. It controls the arm’s forward and backwards extensions. Axis two gives robots the ability to lift objects and move them along the x and y planes.

  • • Axis Three - Axis three connects the lower and upper arm together. It allows for expanded vertical reach by controlling the raising and lowering of the upper robot arm. Axis three can operate along the x, y, and z planes, making parts more accessible to the robot.

  • • Axis Four - Axis four is located in the upper robot arm. This axis makes changing part orientations possible through rolling wrist motions. These motions happen when axis four rotates the upper robot arm in a circular path, allowing the end-effector to adjust part positioning.

  • • Axis Five - Axis five is also located in the upper robot arm and works in conjunction with axis four for controlling the movement of the end of arm tooling. This axis produces the pitch and yaw movements of a robot’s tooling.

Five-axis robots can be deployed for a number of robotic applications. Robotic palletizing, robotic assembly, automated packaging, and automated pick and place applications are the most common since their axis configuration provides the stability and strength needed for many lifting tasks. The FANUC M410ib/140H is a popular five-axis robot for palletizing. While the FANUC LR Mate 200id/7H makes an ideal choice for those looking to automate part transferring processes.

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