There are six main types of industrial robots: cartesian, scara, cylindrical, delta, polar and vertically articulated. However, there are several additional types of robot configurations. Each of these types offers a different joint configuration. The joints in the arm are referred to as axes.
Common Types of Industrial Robots:
Articulated - This robot design features rotary joints and can range from simple two joint structures to 10 or more joints. The arm is connected to the base with a twisting joint. The links in the arm are connected by rotary joints. Each joint is called an axis and provides an additional degree of freedom, or range of motion. Industrial robots commonly have four or six axes.
Cartesian - These are also called rectilinear or gantry robots. Cartesian robots have three linear joints that use the Cartesian coordinate system (X, Y, and Z). They also may have an attached wrist to allow for rotational movement. The three prismatic joints deliver a linear motion along the axis.
Cylindrical - The robot has at least one rotary joint at the base and at least one prismatic joint to connect the links. The rotary joint uses a rotational motion along the joint axis, while the prismatic joint moves in a linear motion. Cylindrical robots operate within a cylindrical-shaped work envelope.
Polar - Also called spherical robots, in this configuration the arm is connected to the base with a twisting joint and a combination of two rotary joints and one linear joint. The axes form a polar coordinate system and create a spherical-shaped work envelope.
SCARA - Commonly used in assembly applications, this selectively compliant arm for robotic assembly is primarily cylindrical in design. It features two parallel joints that provide compliance in one selected plane.
Delta - These spider-like robots are built from jointed parallelograms connected to a common base. The parallelograms move a single EOAT in a dome-shaped work area. Heavily used in the food, pharmaceutical, and electronic industries, this robot configuration is capable of delicate, precise movement.