What is the Most Common Type of Robot?

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic
While there are several different types of industrial robots, there is one that remains the most common and that is the articulated robot. Articulated robots are those that resemble the human arm and are the most recognizable type of industrial robot arm. Often the mention of the term industrial robotic arm brings upon the image of the single robotic arm machine operating on a production line.

Characteristics of an Articulated Robot

One of the main characteristics of the Yaskawa MA1440 and other articulated six axis robots is the single robotic manipulator that is designed to mimic the human arm. Their robot manipulator features a shoulder, elbow, and wrist. The wrist is where the end-effector is integrated. While the shoulder connects to the main portion of the robotic body. The body of the articulated robot is attached to a rotating base.

Another characteristic of articulated factory robots is they are comprised of rotary joints. Their rotary joints are the main feature of articulated robots as these joints are the key to their motion. Articulated robots can vary from two axes to ten or more. However, most industrial articulated robots have between four to six axes. Six-axis articulated robots are the most common since they have a full range of motion. With six axes, the FANUC Lr Mate 200ic can reach a unit of space from any angle. Six-axis articulated units have a robot range of motion that is most similar to the human arm, making them ideal for taking over tasks from other workers.

The wide work envelope of articulated handling robots is another important characteristic. Their wide robotic work envelope is due to the motion provided by their rotary joints. The ABB IRB 4400/L10 is able to access the majority of its work envelope. Being able to maximize the amount of usable space for a manufacturing robot arm is a big advantage.

Why are Articulated Robots so Common?

One of the reasons articulated robots remain the most common type of industrial robot is due to their versatility. Articulated robots are capable of automating most production related processes. Their multiple degrees of freedom means they are unlikely to be limited in motion. Articulated robots also come in a wide variety of payloads, reaches, and sizes. Small articulated robots can automate light payload processes. While larger articulated robots are ideal for working with heavy or large parts. Other robot types are more limited in their design which restricts their uses. The wide variety of articulated robot configurations makes it more likely users will be able to automate with them.

Most articulated robots are multipurpose with the ability to automate several types of applications. The FANUC M-20ia can be used to automate material handling, assembly, or material removal processes. Articulated robots can be used for multiple projects. When parts or processes change they can easily adapt to those changes and be redeployed. The FANUC M-10ia may be used for assembly and then reprogrammed for automated dispensing should production needs change. Articulated robots are a long term manufacturing solution, allowing manufacturers to get the most value from their investment.

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