Industrial robots can handle a wide variety of applications such as machine tending, material handling, material removal, and welding. With different types of industrial robots in the market, choosing one that would fit your business needs best can be challenging.
If you have been in the industry for quite some time, picking one would be easier. But for companies that are new to the world of robotic automation, robotic vocabulary can be confusing to them. This blog aims to help beginners learn about the basic terms in robotics and factors they need to look at when selecting their first industrial robot.
The first thing you need to consider is the tasks that you want your robot to do for you. Understanding the type of processes you want to automate in your production line will guide you in choosing the right robot. For pick and place applications, Scara robots would be ideal if you want a compact robot.
If you want a high-speed machine that will help you place small items, Delta robots would be ideal for you. Do you want your robots to work alongside your human workers? We recommend collaborative robots, also known as cobots. Cobots are smaller compared to industrial robots and are safer for human workers compared to industrial robots.
Take note that our discussion will only be about industrial robots. Nowadays, industrial robot manufacturers, like EVS Robot Arms, always have a robot suitable for each application. It is just a matter of identifying the one that meets your requirements.
The second factor you need to consider is the robot’s mass. If you need to put your robot on a bench or rail, you have to check the robot’s weight. This will help you design a robotic cell including the robot’s corresponding support.
This is dependent on your manufacturing line’s production requirements. Industrial robot manufacturers will usually include the maximum speed in their products’ spec sheets. However, know that the speed can range between zero and the maximum speed in the spec sheets. The speed is often specified in seconds or degrees. Some manufacturers will also include the maximum rate of acceleration.
The repeatability of a robot is its ability to return to its original position every time it finishes a routine. For instance, if you are going to use robots to build electronic circuit boards, you might want to buy a highly repeatable robot. For rough applications, you do not need to buy a highly precise one.
Your application will determine the maximum distance you want your robot to reach. Every robotic company provides a work envelope for their robots (a robot’s range of movement). This will help you determine if a robot is appropriate for your application. The following are the things you need to take note of when checking a robot’s reach capabilities:
- Maximum horizontal reach
- Maximum vertical reach
- Motion ranges (specified in degrees)
#6 Number of Axes
An industrial robot’s number of axes influences its freedom of movement. For straightforward applications, we recommend simple robots with 4 axes. But, if you are going to put your robot in a working area with limited space, you will need a robot arm that can be twisted. Robots with 6 to 7 axes are more ideal for these kinds of applications.
A robot’s payload capacity is the maximum load it can carry. If you will use your robot for carrying objects, you have to consider the robot’s grip force and the weight of the object it will carry. You can read this blog to know more about the difference between grip force and payload.
#8 IP Rating
There are applications that require a specific IP (Ingress Protection) rating. This is an international standard that defines the sealing effectiveness levels of enclosures against foreign object intrusions and moisture. The IP rating is different if your manufacturing plant is dealing with the following:
- Medical tools
- Laboratory tools
- Nutrition-related products
- Highly flammable conditions
Before you buy an industrial robot, you need to check if you need specific protection for your application. Some robot manufacturers offer the same robots with different IP ratings to accommodate any working environment.
#9 Brakes & Inertia
Every industrial robot manufacturer gives details about its robots’ braking system. Some robots come with brakes on every axis while others don’t. If you want a repeatable position in your workspace, your robots need to have enough brakes. Your robot manufacturer can give you each robot segment’s inertia.
Choosing an industrial robot that best matches your business’ specific requirements can be challenging. But, familiarizing yourself with the fundamental aspects of robotic automation can help you pick the right one for your application. Industrial robots are big investments so you need to choose carefully. The success of your manufacturing plant will depend on the reliability of the robots you are going to buy.