In general, when people hear the word “robot” they immediately think of a piece of machinery that looks and acts like a human. In the world of plant operations,
“robot” brings productivity and assembly to the mind
of an operator. But even in this specific definition of the
machinery, operators often refer to the types of robots in
terms of their applications like handling robots, palletizing
robots, packaging robots, etc.
A simpler, more complete definition of robotic types can
be narrowed down to five types: Cartesian, Cylindrical,
SCARA, 6-Axis and Delta. Each industrial robot type has
specific elements that make them best-suited for different
applications. The main differentiators among them are their
speed, size and workspace. Knowledge of each operating
aspect of all five types can help machine designers choose
the best robot for their process.
The most commonly used robot type for the majority of
industrial applications is Cartesian. Plant operators often
default to this type because they are easy to use and program.
The linear movements of the Cartesian elements give the
robot a cube-shaped workspace that fits best with pick-and-
place applications and can range from 100 milimeters to tens
of meters. These robots are also a popular choice because
they are highly customizable. Customers can determine the
stroke lengths, speed and precision of the robots because
most of the parts arrive separately and are assembled by
the machine builders. That being said, one drawback to
Cartesian robots is the complexity of assembly required.
Overall, plant operators choose this robot design most often
for the flexibility in their configuration that allows them to
meet specific application needs.
Cylindrical robots are very simple and similar to Cartesian
in their axis of motion. Most Cylindrical robots are made of
two moving elements: rotary and linear actuators. Because
they have a cylindrical work envelope, machine designers
might select them for their economy of space. The robot can
be placed in the middle of a workspace and, because of its
rotation element, it can work anywhere around it. Simple
applications where materials are picked up, rotated and then
placed work best for Cylindrical robots. Installation and use
are not complex, and they come as fairly complete solutions
with minimal assembly.
SCARA robots offer a more complete solution than
the Cartesian or Cylindrical. They are all-in-one robots,
Five Types of Industrial Robots
And How To Choose The Best Fit
By Ray Marquiss