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Tomorrow’s Manufacturing Technologies Today

What Are the 4 Types of Robots Most Common in Manufacturing?


The number of manufacturing robots and assembly line robots in use today has increased dramatically. A study by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) shows that for every 10,000 employees, more than 113 units are being deployed.

While Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Germany have the greatest robot density, the US also has more than double the world average for density. More than a million robots are now being deployed annually.

Today, robots are being used in multiple industries to save time and money while producing repeatable quality. Robots also minimize downtime since they can operate 24/7 and don’t call in sick. Unlike early models, robots today are easily trainable and programmable, including sequences of movements and complex task completion.

What types of robots are being employed in manufacturing? Here are the four most common types you will find in today’s modern environments.

Articulated Robots

Articulated robots have rotary joints which allow for freedom of movement across multiple planes. These movements can mimic human motion, which makes them flexible and adaptable for production, such as assembly line robots that must pick and place parts.

Uses include:

  • Assembly
  • Arc Welding
  • Deburring, Grinding, and Milling
  • Material Handling
  • Packaging & Palletizing
  • Inspection
  • Dispensing
  • Part Transfer
  • Machine Loading
  • Pick and Place
  • Machine Tending

The most common articulated robot is a 6-axis robot that can span non-parallel planes. Articulated robots are common in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries.

SCARA Robots

A Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA) is a cost-effective choice for applications that don’t require as much flexibility as articulated robots. Lightweight with small footprints, they are ideal solutions for applications in crowded environments and are capable of fast cycle times.

Using a swing arm on parallel planes uses include:

  • Pick and place
  • Small assembly
  • Inspection
  • Laser engraving
  • Packaging
  • 3D printing
  • Dispensing
  • Soldering

SCARA robots work well when flexibility in positioning is needed. They are also more adaptable to harsh environments. SCAR robots are common in medical devices, bio-med, and many food and beverage applications.

Delta Robots

Also called spied robots, delta robots incorporate three base-mounted motors that control arms and position the robot’s limbs. Designed for high-speed, high-acceleration operations with light loads, delta robots typically have 2-3 carbon-fiber arms that extend downward from their body. The encased motor can move the arms up and down to move tooling plats across X, Y, and Z axes.

Delta robots are used in high-speed applications for:

  • Light assembly
  • Dispensing
  • Pick and place
  • Material handling
  • Part Transfer
  • Packaging
  • Inspection

Delta robots are commonly used in the food, pharmaceutical, and electronics industries.

Cartesian Robots

Cartesian robots are typically suspended above the workspace and feature three principal axes of control, linear and at right angles. Sliding joints can move arms up-down, in-out, and back-and-forth. Also called linear robots or gantry robots, they provide flexible configurations which allow for precise control over speed, stroke length, and size.

Cartesian robots are used in a variety of applications, such as:

  • CNC machine tooling
  • Packaging
  • Storage and retrieval
  • Cutting, scribing, and sorting
  • Precision spot welding
  • Stacking
  • Dispensing
  • Assembly
  • Inspection

Cartesian robots provide speed and provision with controlled movements on a straight line and work well for heavy payloads or when space is limited.

Schneider and Company for Your Robot Needs

Schneider & Company specializes in the latest technology and manufacturing products for assembly, testing and inspection, and automation. With unique production solutions designed to automate production and manufacturing processes, such as:

To discuss options for your business, talk to the automation experts at Schneider & Company today.