Industrial robots are used in a variety of applications. These include:
- Handling: Capable of manipulating products as diverse as car doors to eggs, industrial robots are fast and powerful as well as dexterous and sensitive. Applications include pick and place from conveyor line to packaging, and machine tending, where raw materials are fed by the robot into processing equipment such as with injection molding machines, CNC mills and lathes and presses.
- Palletizing: Industrial robots load corrugated cartons or other packaged items onto a pallet in a defined pattern. Robotic palletizers rely on a fixed position or overhead gantry robot with special tooling that interfaces with the individual load components, building simple to complex layer patterns on top of a pallet that maximize the load’s stability during transport. There are three primary types of palletizing: inline or layer forming, depalletizing or unloading, and mixed case.
- Cutting: Due to their dangerous nature, laser, plasma and water jet cutters are frequently used with robots. Hundreds of different cutting paths can be programmed into the robot, which produces precise accuracy and path following with greater flexibility than most dedicated cutting machines.
- Finishing: Multi-axis robots can grind, trim, fettle, polish and clean almost any part made in any material for a consistent quality finish.
- Sealing and gluing: To apply sealant or glue, a robot follows a path accurately with good control over speed while maintaining a consistent bead of the adhesive substrate. Robots are frequently used for sealing applications in the car industry to seal in windows, as well as in packaging processes for automated sealing of corrugated cases of product.
- Spraying: Due to the volatile and hazardous nature of solvent-based paints and coatings, robots are used in spray applications to minimize human contact. Paint robots typically have thin arms because they don’t carry much weight, but need maximum access and movement fluidity to mimic a human’s application technique.
- Welding: Used for both seam (MIG, TIG, arc and laser) and spot welding, robots produce precise welds, as well as control parameters such as power, wire feed and gas flow.