Robot specifications are used to define certain characteristics of an industrial robot. No two industrial robots are exactly alike. Each varies depending upon payload, reach, axes, and application capabilities, among other aspects. With so many variables to consider it can make the robot selection process seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be. Understanding each robot specification will help you select the right industrial robot to allow for full optimization of your manufacturing process. The following are important to define when choosing between different types of robots:
- • Axes - A robot axis represents a degree of freedom. A degree of freedom determines an independent motion of the robot. The more axes a robot has the more flexibility or movement it will be capable of. Most industrial robots have between three to seven axes. It is important to consider the number of axes when selecting an industrial robot as it will determine its range of motion. Six-axis robots tend to be the most common since they have a high level of flexibility, making them capable of performing complex applications. More simple applications may require less range of motion, which is why the four-axis FANUC M-410ic/185 is popular for basic robotic palletizing tasks.
- • Payload - Payload capacity represents the maximum amount of weight a robot arm can tolerate. Robotic payload is typically expressed in kilograms. Payload varies greatly among industrial robots, from 0.5 kg to over 1000 kg. Considering the workpieces as well as the weight of any end-effectors integrated with the robot will help guide you to selecting a robot with an appropriate payload capacity. For instance, if your application involves palletizing boxes, the FANUC R2000ib/125L would be an ideal option with its heavy lifting capabilities.
- • Repeatability - Repeatability references a robot’s ability to return to the exact same position over and over. In other words, it defines how precise a robot may be. Repeatability is expressed in millimeters plus or minus the point of alteration to determine the robot’s margin of error. The FANUC M20ia has a repeatability of +/-0.08 mm. This means its arm will fall within 0.08 mm of the programmed position with each cycle run.
- • Reach - A robot’s reach may be broken down into two types; vertical and horizontal. Vertical reach determines the maximum height a robot arm can obtain when extended upward from its base. Horizontal reach defines the maximum distance obtained from the center of the robot base to its wrist. A robot’s reach can determine the scope of its work envelope.
- • Robot Mass - Robot mass is the weight of a robot. It is usually expressed in kilograms and references the weight of the robotic manipulator only. This can be important to consider if you are looking to mount a robot on a shelf, table, or overhead.
- • Structure - Structure refers to the type of robot. There are many types of industrial robots with the most common including articulated, delta, SCARA, and gantry. This specification is important because it determines a robot’s work envelope and functionality. Articulated robots are generally the most common used in welding automation and robotic assembly.
- • Motion Speed - Motion speed lists the degrees traveled per second to define the speed of each robotic axis. The T-Axis on the Motoman MA1400 is 610 degrees per second.
- • Motion Range - This specification defines the scope of movement for each robotic axis as expressed in degrees. The motion range on axis 6 of the ABB 4600-60 is ±400 degrees.