Robot Types in Manufacturing

robot arm

Robot types used in manufacturing, consist of three basic types.

This blog pots discuses robotics terminology.

You will also learn about technical considerations, when choosing a robotic system.

Robotics Terminology

SCARA – short for ‘Six-Axis, Selective Compliance Articulated / assembly Robot Arms’.

Cartesian Robots

Six-Axis Robots

Six-Axis Robot characteristics:

  • Mounted on pedestal.
  • Offer most directional movement & control, of the three robot types.
  • Robotic movement in X, Y, and Z planes + Pitch, Roll, and Yaw.
  • Wide variety of applications, including welding, and moving pallets of goods.

SCARA Robots

SCARA manufacturing Robot characteristics include:

  • Can be compared to a human arm.
  • Pedestal mounted.
  • Four axis system, consisting of X, Y & Z motion planes, plus a forth rotational axis at the end of the Z plane (for tool rotation).
  • SCARA robots suited for tasks requiring movements that are fast, repeatable, and accurate.
  • Example uses of SCARA types include palletising / depalletising tasks, machine loading & unloading, and assembly of small parts.

Cartesian Robots

  • Also known as ‘Gantry robots’.
  • Hang down from overhead grid.
  • Use motors and linear actuators to position a work tool.
  • Grid shape area that robot moves in, is rectangular. Can be very large, if required, and space allows.
  • Three directional movements, X, Y, and Z.
  • Very precise, due to structural rigidity.
  • Ideal for material handling, and straight-line component insertion applications.

Considerations when choosing a robot type.

  • Load capacity
  • Orientation
  • Speed
  • Distance

Load capacity

Maximum payload, which is a fancy way of saying what weight a robot arm can lift.

It is important to consider future production and handling requirements, which might affect maximum payload capacity.

Large Payload Load Capacity

Cartesian robots are best suited to handle larger payloads.

This is due to its overhead grid gantry design.

This allows for greater accessibility to larger components.

On both SIX-AXIS & SCARA robots, the mechanical joints are all located at the end of the arm.

This limits the size of the payload capacity.

SCARA & SIX-AXIS robotic systems, are better suited to small part assembly.


  • How the robot is going to be mounted.
  • How the robot moves parts.


When choosing a robotic system, it’s important to match the robots speed rating, to the task required.

The last thing you want is a robot unable to keep up with the production line conveyor belt!

Generally Cartesian robotic systems are more commonly used for high speed work.

High speed work, such as Material handling, and Assembly tasks.

The overhead grid mounting helps.


Cartesian systems are fixed to an overhead gantry grid system.

This allows further distances to be travelled, compared with fixed pedestal Six-Axis, and SCARA robots.

For commercial help, please visit, and contact via Yesway Ltd

Craig Miles | LinkedIn

Published by Craig Miles

Craig Miles

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