Short Arm Robots
One of the benefits of industrial robots is their long reach which allows them to cover more work area and work with larger parts than humans or other industrial machines. However, not every manufacturing application requires a robot with a longer reach. There are some scenarios where a short arm robot is best to automate a job.
Short arm robots consist of robotic manipulators with reaches that are less than most standard industrial robots. Short arm robots may have a compact footprint or be smaller in size overall. They may also be a standard size robot with a shorter arm. The FANUC Lr Mate 200id is a small robot with a short reach. While the FANUC Arcmate 100ic/12S is a standard size robot that is the short arm version of the FANUC Arcmate 100ic. FANUC offers several short arm variants to some of their popular robot models. FANUC makes recognizing short arm robots easy by adding the letter “S” to the end of the robot model name.
In general, most short arm robots will have reaches around 1,000 mm or less. Their shorter reach results in a more compact work envelope than standard industrial robots. Despite having a short reach, these robots can automate several types of robotic applications as long as they require small work envelopes. Most short arm robots are used for automating material handling, assembly, machine loading, machine tending, arc welding, dispensing, and inspection applications.
A short arm industrial robot is needed when applications involve narrow work envelopes. Short arm robots are able to easily operate within a small area. This makes them an ideal robotic automation solution for manufacturers with limited space. Not having enough workspace for an industrial robot can be one of the reasons companies hesitate to automate as they do not want to reconfigure their entire factory. However, short arm robots can easily be integrated into confined workspaces preventing an entire overhaul of a production line.
Short arm industrial robots are also popular for those with multi-robot operations. The shorter reach of these robots makes it easier to setup several of them along a production line since they operate within a compact work envelope. This reduces the chance the robots will interfere with one another and means they will need less workspace overall, making it possible for a multi-robot configuration.
Short arm robots are also ideal for robotic workcells especially if they are compact or two or more articulated robots will be operating inside the workcell. For instance, two Motoman MA1400 can be integrated inside a weld cell. Their compact work envelope will ensure they can weld effectively without interfering with each other or peripheral equipment.
Applications involving machine loading or machine tending can also benefit from automation with a short arm robot. The shorter reach allows them to smoothly load and unload parts from machinery without any obstructions. Some short arm robots are so compact they can be mounted inside machinery for automated machine tending applications.
When looking to implement robot automation, it is important to thoroughly evaluate the process you are wanting to automate. Clearly defining your application will help you determine if a short arm, standard, or extended reach robot will be best for you.