OTC Insights Team
Established in 1963, OTC Industrial Technologies is one of the largest industrial distributors & service providers in the United States. We're committed to seeing industrial operations advance through expert technical solutions & unmatched support using our years of experience.
Leveraging the latest robotic technologies helps manufacturers stay competitive. While robots have proven to be incredibly helpful across a variety of industries, understanding how to optimize your robotics and automation can be challenging.
If you want to upgrade the robotics in your facility but don’t know where to begin, the experts at OTC Industrial Technologies can help.
The Advantages of Robotics for Manufacturing
Robots perform actions with a level of precision much higher than human workers can achieve. They can work non-stop without a decrease in the quality of their work. Best of all, the flexibility of robots available on the market means you can find a solution that’s custom-tailored to your needs.
The benefits of robots include:
- More accurate and high-quality work.
- Consistent and precise execution.
- Greater production quantity in a shorter time.
- Work done at a constant speed.
- Minimal errors.
- Dangerous tasks performed safely.
- Ability to handle a range of weighted loads.
- Most importantly, increased worker safety.
Robot Types for Manufacturers
Depending on the industries you work in, you may need a specific type of robot. While many robots excel in a variety of applications, others are more specialized. Customizing and tailoring an automation or robotic solution to your needs means selecting and using the right equipment.
Robotic solutions from OTC include:
Cartesian robots, also known as linear robots, use three linear axes of motion on a Cartesian coordinate system. The three axes correspond to the three dimensions of space and are programmable, which allows them to perform complex tasks with high precision and repeatability.
Cartesian robots are one of the most common types of industrial robots. They are versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications, such as:
- Assembly: Including automotive parts and electronic devices.
- Machining: Including mills, lathes, and drills.
- Packaging: Including packaging products into boxes and containers.
- Inspection: Can identify defects when used with sensors or cameras.
Cartesian robots are limited in motion compared to articulated robots and are usually slower than other options.
SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm) robots use two parallel arms connected to a base. The arms move in two dimensions of space while the base rotates. They are more compact than other robots, with a range of motion and high speed to accurately complete complex work.
They are commonly used in processes requiring speed, repeatability, and accuracy. Typical applications include:
- Assembly: Suitable for tight spaces, including electronics, medical devices, and the automotive industry.
- Packaging: The low cost and range of motion make them ideal for pick-and-place for packaging.
Remember, SCARA robots have less range of motion than some robotic options and have a lower payload capacity.
Articulated robots have rotary joints that mimic a human arm, which allows them to move in a wide range of directions. They are typically configured with six axes of motion, which offers greater flexibility than other options.
Precision, speed, and flexibility are hallmarks of articulated robots. They can be used in many industrial applications, including:
- Assembly: Complex assembly operations can be done easily, especially for electronic device manufacturing.
- Welding: Flexibility allows them to reach welded areas accurately and easily.
- Painting and finishing: The range of motion makes them an excellent option for spray applications.
- Material handling: The speed and range of motion allow for accurate and high-velocity material handling applications.
Articulated robots are more complex than other types of robots, which can increase the base cost and cost of maintenance. They are also larger robots, which can limit their use in applications where space is limited.
Using a rotating base and a single, extendable arm that extends and retracts like a telescope, cylindrical robots have a compact profile and are typically used in tight areas. They are inexpensive and easy to maintain with a relatively simple design, but they are also fast, accurate, and versatile.
The speed and small footprint make cylindrical robots an excellent choice for the following applications:
- Simple assembly: Fewer axes of motion make it appropriate for simple assembly tasks.
- Pharmaceutical and medical: The accuracy and small profile suit these industries.
- Finishing and coating: Speed and accuracy lend themselves to high-speed finishing and coating.
The simplicity and small design of cylindrical robots make them unsuitable for more complex applications.
Delta robots have three arms that connect to a universal joint at the base. Each arm connects to a unique motor that allows the robot to perform precise, delicate movements. Due to the stiff, lightweight design of the arms, delta robots have limited mobility but are able to move at high speeds while maintaining precision.
The fast movements of delta robots make them a great choice for these applications:
- Assembly: The speed and precision of delta robots make them excellent at assembling products.
- Pharmaceutical and medical: Manipulating pills, tablets, and other small types of medicine is a job delta robots are well suited to.
- Packaging: Handling delicate packaging materials is something delta robots excel at.
While delta robots are not ideal for moving large, heavy objects, their speed and precision make them an excellent choice for any processes that require fragile or sensitive objects.
Polar robots typically have a single arm attached to two rotary joints, a combined linear joint, and a twisting joint. These joints allow polar robots to move along three axes. As one of the first industrial robots to hit the market, polar robots have been replaced in many industries by Cartesian and SCARA robots, but they still work in many different applications.
The flexibility and strength of polar robots make them ideal for these applications:
- Welding: Precise movements across three different axes make polar robots a great choice for welding.
- Material handling: The strength and precision of polar robots allow them to easily handle heavy, dangerous materials.
- Assembly: Polar robots are a common choice for assembly lines due to their ability to handle thousands of objects an hour.
Also known as "cobots", collaborative robots are machines that work directly with humans. Collaborative robots and humans often share a workspace, so by using their force-sensing capabilities, these robots detect outside forces and stop on contact. This makes them a safe choice for facilities where humans and robots will be working on the same floor.
The safe and reliable nature of these robots makes them an excellent choice for these applications:
- Pick-and-place jobs: Able to pick up and move unwieldy objects without risking harm to human workers, collaborative robots often perform pick-and-place operations.
- Automotive manufacturing: Collaborative robots help human workers move heavy auto parts during construction.
- Pharmaceutical and chemical research: Scientists can use collaborative robots to perform precise movements required to test new chemicals or types of medicine.
If you want to ensure the safety of your team while still benefiting from robotics, cobots are a great choice.
Turnkey, Tailored Robotic Solutions
Still unsure which type of robot is right for your facility? Take the time to work with an expert to ensure you maximize your ROI and see the most benefit for your investment in robotics. Contact OTC today to speak with an expert who can help you pick a machine and tailor a solution for your processes.
OTC’s turnkey automation solutions are designed around your needs and leverage the latest industry-leading technologies and equipment.
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