Everything You Should Know about Robotic Arm


Most of industrial robots are in the shape of a robotic arm. It is in fact a sort of mechanical programmable arm that has the same functions as a human arm. It can include the totality of the mechanism or just a part of a more complex robot. The manipulator is endowed with joints that allow rotational motion just like an articulated robot or a translational movement. Its links constitute a kinematic chain with a terminus named end-effector that is similar to the human hand. Here are the points you have to know about this futuristic impressive technology.

What are the Types of Robotic Arm?

Currently, there are more than one kind of robotic arm and each of them has its own specificities. Their common point is that they all help workers in the accomplishment of their everyday professional tasks. Here are the types of manipulator you can find on the robotic market:

  • Gantry robot: also called Cartesian robot, it is mostly used for pick and place work as well as for assembly operations. The robotic arm is endowed with 3 prismatic joints of which the axes coincide with a Cartesian coordinator.
  • Polar robot: able to handle machine tools, fettling machines, spot, gas and arc welding. Its axes are in the form of a polar coordinate system.
  • Cylindrical robot: very useful to assembly operations, also able to handle machine tools, spot welding and die-casting machines. Its axes resemble to a cylindrical coordinate system.
  • Anthropomorphic robot: it looks exactly like a human hand with fingers and thumbs.
  • Articulated robot: mostly used for assembly operations, die-casting, fettling machines, spray painting, gas and arc welding. The arm has 3 rotary joints or more depending on the chosen model.
  • Parallel robot: used as a mobile platform capable of handling cockpit flight simulators. It is equipped with arms with prismatic or rotary joints.
  • Scara robot: able to perform tasks in pick and place work, application of sealant, assembly operations and handling machine tools. It has 2 parallel rotary joints that offer compliance in a plane.

How to Classify a Robotic Arm?

If you want to know more about robotic arms classification, notice that a serial manipulator can be considered as a chain of links connected by motor-actuated joints that permit it to move as a human arm. On the other hand, an end-effector or a robot hand can be linked to the chain’s extremity. Just like for all of the robotic mechanisms, robotic arms classification depends mostly on the number of degrees of freedom or DOF. In other words, the number of the independent parameters that define the robot’s configuration is an essential point to classify the helping machine.

The number of DOF is generally the equivalent of the number of joints that move the links. There should be at least 6 degrees of freedom to make a robotic hand functional, get arbitrary position and orientation in 3D space. Of course, more DOF make the machine more competitive and allow the change of some links configuration while the robot hand stays in the same pose.