Linear Industrial Robots
Linear robots are one of the common types of industrial robots. Linear robots standout from others since they move in straight lines instead of rotational movements. These industrial robots are also commonly referred to as gantry or cartesian robots.
Linear industrial robots feature a grid system with a robotic manipulator mounted on top. This grid system runs along three planes, the X, Y, and Z. The planes of the linear grid system are configured with right angles to one another. In addition, to two to three main axes that move the robot linearly, they are also configured with three sliding joints that control wrist movement. The robotic wrist of linear robots is capable of moving up and down, side to side, as well as in and out.
Since linear robots are mounted to a perpendicular grid system they operate in a cubic or rectangular work envelope. This differs from other industrial robots as most feature circular or cylindrical envelopes due to their rotational movements. Work envelopes for linear robots may be compact or expansive depending upon the length of their rail system. Grids for linear robots may range from short to quite long. Longer linear robot systems are ideal for productions involving large workpieces. A linear robot can cover the entire span of a large workpiece without stopping for repositioning, saving time and enhancing the quality of work.
Most linear robots are installed above work areas or production lines. However, they can also be installed below work areas, allowing them to operate underneath workpieces. While linear robot systems can be quite large, there is some installation flexibility allowing users to configure the system to best meet the needs of their operation. There are some linear robotic systems that are compact enough to be installed on a tabletop.
Payloads for linear robots can range from under 20 kg to over 500 kg. While the robotic manipulators of linear systems are not typically that big, they are capable of handling higher payloads. The grid system of linear robots provides extra support allowing them to handle heavier payloads for their size. Linear robots also typically feature longer reaches which are enhanced by the rail system.
Since linear robots are designed to operate in straight lines without rotational movement, they are some of the most accurate industrial robots. Their limited rotational movements also increases their repeatability. Linear robots feature some of the highest repeatabilities of all robot types.
With limited rotation and only linear movements, not all manufacturing processes will benefit from automation with a linear robot. The high repeatability of linear robots makes them best for automating highly repetitive, mundane tasks. Linear robots are ideal for automating pick and place, assembly, palletizing, sorting, packaging, and dispensing applications. Applications with minimal part orientation requirements can be successfully automated with linear robots. These robots can significantly increase productivity with their high repeatability and fast travel speeds. For highly repetitive processes, linear robots can be a more economical solution than other types of industrial robots including articulated robots.