Human beings tire easily from performing monotonous tasks over and over again. The longer they work without taking breaks the more their accuracy diminishes and the degree of error increases.

When you think of a repetitive production task, demands total accuracy, and requires to be completed quickly then you think robotic arm. They also come in handy in instances where the safety of workers has to be put into consideration.

The uptake of robotic arms has been on a steady increase over the past three decades.  It’s been lauded as an engineering genius that is aiding manufactures to enhance production output, improve the quality of manufactured products and ensure consistency of production.

This automation has enabled industries to be versatile, gain a competitive advantage, and react to the business environmental factors fast.

Let’s find out more about how to increase productivity using robotic arms.

What are Robotic Arms?

Robotic arms mimic the human arm. It comes fitted with a shoulder, elbow, forearm, and wrist. They can do the heavy lifting, help in assembling and manufacturing, as well packaging and arranging in pallets while taking care of every minute detail.

They are automated machines designed to perform jobs that demand efficiency, high speed, and accuracy. It can be a fully functional machine operating autonomously or as a part of a bigger and more intricate machine.

A large robotic arm can be mounted on the floor while the smaller versions can be fixed on a benchtop.

Other than manufacturing, robotic arms have now been embraced in multiple segments including:

  • Laboratories
  • Automation of industries
  • Machine access
  • Testing and sample usage
  • Automated assembly
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Cosmetics
  • Aeronautics

As the years have progressed, the cost of producing robotic parts has drastically reduced. This has enabled multiple industries to acquire them and realize a huge return on investment.

Types of Robotic Arms

Today, the type of robotic arm that you go for as an industry is dependent on the roles that you require it to execute. They come with many joints as per your specifications allowing for precision. The major difference between the different types is in how their joints are made, their capability, and their mobility range.

Let’s explore the common types available in the market

  • Articulated robotic arm

While most industrial robots have four or six joints, an articulated robotic arm has a wide range even up to 10 or more. This gives room for flexibility and a wide range of motion. It is one of the most popular industrial automation robotic arms.

They can perform a variety of tasks ranging from palletizing, handling and removal of material, painting, spotting, and arc welding. Their uncanny resemblance to human hands gives room to a great deal of automation.

  • Parallel Link Arm

These come fitted with three lightweight and thin arms extending downward away from the robot body. They operate in a dome shape as they are controlled from a single end-effector. Because the motors are placed above the arms, they are very fast, precise and their operation is swift.

  • Dual Arm

They work similarly to humans in areas such as assembling, packaging, transfer of parts, and tending to machines. They have arms attached to the robotic body on each side. The arms are synchronized to work together on a similar task or independently for greater output. These have four to fifteen joints.

  • SCARA robotic arms

The Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm(SCARA) is used in high-tech production units. This includes assembling, picking, and placing applications. Its selective compliance makes it suitable for high production lines. It’s able to be highly flexible where needed while maintaining rigidity in others as required. It performs exceptionally well using lateral movements.

  • Cartesian robotic arms

Also known as rectilinear or gantry robot arms, they were built by Rene Descartes. They gained their name from the Cartesian coordinate system which uses X, Y, and Z. They are commonly used in picking and placing things on a moving straight line, for example, on a conveyor belt. The attached wrist allows it to rotate as required.

  • Cylindrical

Cylindrical arms work in a vertical and sliding (up, down, and around) movement because the arms protrude vertically to a rotating pole. It is used to help in assembling, spot-welding, and handling of the machine tools.

  • Polar robotic arms

Also known as spherical robotic arms, it functions in a spherical-shaped work envelope. This is facilitated by two revolving joints. A linear joint is screwed to the base while two revolving ones are fixed on the end of the linear joint forming a system of polar coordinates.

Where can you use robotic arms?

Robotic arms come in all shapes and sizes. They greatly increase productivity in a wide range of tasks. From those requiring critical attention to detail to big volumes of production lines.

They help you also in dangerous tasks such as picking and placing things on conveyor belts.  Before making a purchase, however, you’re advised to figure out first the jobs to be completed.

Choosing the right robotic arm

The kind of tasks that you need to be done will determine how you choose a robotic arm. As we have seen, they can assist in many functions such as welding, gripping, testing, and palletizing. There are different types and designs to choose from.

The greatest factor to consider is the degree of motion. The more agile they are, the easier it is for them to reach every nook and cranny.

To pick a robotic arm that will fully meet your company’s expectations, you need to:

  1. stipulate its tasks
  2. Select the right size
  3. Determine the expected cycle time
  4. Choose a higher payload
  5. Ease of use and assembling
  6. Accompanying accessories

Conclusion

Robotic arms have been revolutionary in helping manufacturing industries and others achieve great levels of productivity.

This is because they are fast, efficient, and accurate to a high degree. The cost of acquiring them has also significantly gone down during the past decade. This has made it easy for many industries to embrace them.

Whereas human workers are limited in how long they can work, robotic arms work around the clock. They also step in to execute tasks that are considered dangerous for a human being. This helps companies to eliminate loss through litigation cases.

Your industrial or manufacturing automation needs discussed herein should guide you to select the right robotic arm.