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The introduction of the assembly line revolutionized manufacturing well over a century ago. Switching to this production process helped car builders increase output by 500%, allowing them to sell vehicles at a lower price and with greater quality control. Then, the first prototype industrial robots entered the automotive scene in 1961. It didn’t take long for manufacturers from other industries to recognize the industrial robotic arm as a marvel of engineering.

Since their invention, industrial robots have become some of the most important tools on the production line. After all, they increase the speed and accuracy of the manufacturing process while cutting down on worker error and labor costs. The use of robots also removes humans from dangerous, repetitive, or strenuous work environments. Many robotic arms can even work alongside humans, employing safety sensors to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Industrial robots are built to be incredibly durable, with steel or cast iron construction and the ability to withstand hazardous conditions and heavy lifting applications. The robotic arm, or robot manipulator, is one of the most common types of robots used in manufacturing and industrial settings. This mechanism consists of three or more axes and automates processes such as welding, assembly, material handling, pick-and-place tasks, plastic injection molding, and much more. Many robotic arms have multi-application capabilities, allowing a single robot to complete several steps in the manufacturing process.

A majority of robotic arms feature a single manipulator mounted to a base. A rotary joint allows the arm to rotate up to 360 degrees. Then, the arm itself has a particular number of axes based on the task at hand. The most common machines found in manufacturing include 3-axis, 4-axis, and 6-axis robots, though configurations of 10 or more axes are also available.

Of these popular options, 6-axis articulated robots most closely resemble the movements of a human arm, allowing for the greatest degree of freedom within the robot’s work envelope. Articulated robotic arms have shoulder, elbow, forearm, and wrist joints, with links connecting each one for stability. The wrist joint attaches to an end-effector mounting plate. This is then fitted with a tool, such as a welding torch or gripper, to perform the desired task.

The arm’s job is to move the end-effector from place to place within the work envelope. A robotic controller independently rotates the motors attached to each joint to provide smooth, consistent movements. Larger robotic arms used for lifting heavy payloads operate by hydraulic or pneumatic means.

It’s clear that industrial robotic arms truly are a marvel of engineering. If you’re looking for the right equipment for your plastic injection molding business, team up with Robotic Automation Systems. We offer a complete range of industrial robots suited for multiple manufacturing purposes. Our centrally located facility near Madison, Wisconsin, enables us to serve businesses nationwide. Contact us at (608) 849-0880 today for help selecting industrial robotic arms that will make your company more competitive in the plastics industry!

Integrators for the Plastics Industry