As a multi-industry, multi-vendor production automation integrator, Midwest Engineered Systems has experience specifying and programming a variety of industrial robot types. Cylindrical robots are no exception, but they are rather uncommon in today’s general robotic automation space. These specialized robots have their niches where their unique operation is a perfect fit.
As a differentiator to conventional industrial robotic arms, Cylindrical robots have a primary arm that moves up and down rather than pivoting on a series of axis. Built within the robotic arm is a cylinder that creates this motion by extending and retracting itself. In many of these cylindrical robotic models, the rotation is generated by gears and a motor, and the vertical motion is generated using a pneumatic cylinder.
Cylindrical robots use a coordinate system with three dimensions that use a selected reference axis and relative distances from it for specifying point positions. Point positions are also specified by using the distance to a selected reference direction and the axis’ relative direction, and by the distance to the axis perpendicular from a selected reference plane.
These types of robots are useful for objects that need to have rotational symmetry around their longitudinal axes, such as a metal cylinder for heat distribution, long, straight wires that produce electromagnetic fields, and the rounded cross-sections of straight pipes. Cylindrical robots also tend to be quite fast, although this speed leads to rotational inertia issues that could impact repeatability if the system isn’t configured within the scope of its abilities.
Some applications of cylindrical robots include:
- Spot welding automation
- Robotic casting and molding machine handling
- General machine handling applications
- Material handling applications including package assembly and palletizing
- Robotic coating and finishing applications
- Automated assembly operations
While there are a number of distinct situations where cylindrical robots are optimal for automation performance, many processes can be done with other, more common robot types like Cartesian or SCARA robots. These other robot types can go a long way to matching the speed and precision seen from cylindrical robots.
If you’re considering automating a process where cylindrical robots might be used or looking for service or replacement of a current robotic system, contact Midwest Engineered Systems. We have decades of experience with a variety of robot types and configurations in all manner of applications. Our applications engineers can work with you to develop robotic processes that increases throughput while providing the quality necessary to make the production automation project a success.