What are Robot Applications?

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
Industrial robots are one of the biggest innovations to happen to manufacturing. The FANUC Arcmate 100ic along with other articulated robots are turning manual manufacturing operations into ones that are executed automatically, drastically reducing the amount of human involvement.

The word application is often synonymous with the term industrial robot. This is because robot applications are the specific tasks industrial robots are used to perform or automate. For example, the ABB IRB 6640 can be used to weld car frames. While the FANUC LR Mate 200ic can automate the assembly of computer chips. These are just two of the nearly unlimited possibilities of robot applications. The advancements of robotic technology along with the wide variety in the designs of industrial robots leaves very few tasks that cannot be automated in manufacturing. The numerous applications of industrial robots are typically divided into three groups: material handling, processing, and assembly and inspection.

Material Handling

Material handling is one of two large robot application categories. In general, these processes involve using industrial robots to move, transfer, handle, or stack parts. Material handling applications are some of the most popular for robotic automation as they mainly involve repetitive tasks which are ideal for industrial robots. Those looking for more of a general purpose robot should consider a material handling robot as they can automate multiple types of tasks. Material handling applications will involve integrating a robot with a gripper for the EOAT. Robotic grippers allow for the handling/grasping of parts. There are several different types of grippers and the exact type needed will depend on the size and shape of parts being handled by the six axis robot.

The types of material handling applications include:

  • • Part Transfer
  • • Machine Loading/Unloading
  • • Machine Tending
  • • Packaging
  • • Pick and Place
  • • Palletizing
  • • Depalletizing
  • • Sorting
  • • Dispensing
  • • Injection Molding
  • • Press Tending
  • • Die Casting


The processing category is the other large category of robot applications. It covers a broad range of application types and features welding applications, which have become one of the more popular uses for industrial robots. Unlike material handling applications that tend to be more generalized, processing applications involve the robot performing a specialized task with task specific tooling on a workpiece. Unlike material handling applications in which the EOAT is largely dependent on the parts involved, processing application tooling is mainly determined by the task. If the Yaskawa Motoman MA1440 is automating welding then a weld torch is needed. While for painting applications a paint sprayer would need to be integrated to the FANUC Paintmate 200ia/5L.

The applications that fall under this category are:

  • • Arc Welding
  • • Spot Welding
  • • EBW
  • • Ultrasonic Welding
  • • Ultrasonic Cutting
  • • Painting
  • • Plasma Cutting
  • • Laser Cutting
  • • Laser Welding
  • • Coating
  • • Water Jetting
  • • Cutting
  • • Grinding
  • • Polishing
  • • Sanding
  • • Sealing
  • • Deburring
  • • Deflashing
  • • Routing
  • • Thermal Spray

Assembly and Inspection

The last category of robot applications includes just two types: assembly and inspection. Robotic assembly involves using industrial robots to build products. They may be used to fasten, insert, or fit workpieces together to achieve a finished product. Robotic inspection involves using industrial robots for quality control measures. Robots can inspect items for defects, measure against specific parameters, or test products to ensure quality standards are met for all items.

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