Should I use a robot or an X-Y gantry for picking and placing?

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October 2019

Picking and placing methods is an important application to look at when designing automation where there are a number of different ways that you can move a single component from Point #A to Point #B.  You can use a conveyor, a pneumatic shuttle table, a belt drive actuator, a ball-screw drive or even a pick and place.

 

When it comes to moving lots of components that start in an array or a matrix to single or multiple points, there is a little bit less freedom and flexibility.

Figure #1 – Tray of Components with X, Y and Z Axis

An example of this might be something like what is shown in Figure #1 where each of the components may have to be moved one at a time to a single position, such as a machining spindle or a nest on a rotary table.

 

You will see from the Figure that any mechanism needs freedom of movement in the X, Y and Z-axis.  This is where an X-Y gantry or Cartesian robot could be used to carry out the picking and placing.

Figure #2 – X-Y Gantry or Cartesian Robot

Applications, where there needs to be some degree of rotation about one or all three of the axes, tend to be better suited to articulated robot arms.  There are several types of arms such as delta’s, SCARA’s, four-axis, six-axis and collaborative.

 

Other Types of Robot Arms

Applications, where there needs to be some degree of rotation about one or all three of the axes, tend to be better suited to articulated robot arms.  There are several types of arms such as delta’s, SCARA’s, four-axis, six-axis and collaborative. Each of these also has pros and cons, and the selection comes down to the output speed required, the working envelope that the robot needs to work in and in many cases the environment. As an example, there are few robots designed to work in a hazardous area that require ATEX rated drives and control systems. Likewise, cleanroom applications or food-related production facilities may require washdown robots. As with any project, it is important to consider all the requirements and specify them to allow the correct robot to be selected.

 

 

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