The Main Parts Of An Industrial Robot Arm

A robotic arm forms an integral part of industrial robots. The arm is mounted with tools which perform a variety of tasks including palletizing, soldering and painting just to mention a few. Currently, there are several types of robot arms which are employed in a wide range of industrial applications. They include articulated, cylindrical, cartesian and polar robotic arms. The most popular type is the articulated robotic arm because it features a high Degree of Freedom (DOF) and wide operation range. It is also small in size and has the capability of avoiding obstacles within a small space.

For many years, humans have been putting together items in a factory. However, industrial robotic arms are now working in the same respect only faster and more accurate. Robotic arms are one of the most common types of robots in the manufacturing world. That said, here are the main parts of an industrial robot arm and how they function.


Considered to be the brain of an industrial robot arm, the controller allows parts of the machine to work together. It operates like a computer since it enables the robot to be connected to other systems. The robotic arm controller runs a set of instructions which are written in code also known as a program. The program is inputted in the machine using a teach pendant.  Plenty of industrial robot arms today use an interface that either resembles or is built on the Windows operating system.

End effector

An end effector connects to the robotic arm thus functioning as a hand. It is the part of the robot’s arm that comes in direct contact with the material the robot is manipulating. Some of the variations of an end effector include welding torches, a vacuum pump, a gripper, and magnets. Some industrial robot arms are capable of changing end effectors and can be programmed for the different set of tasks.


Their work is to allow the industrial robot arm to receive feedback about its environment. Sensors can give the robotic machine a limited sense of sound and sight. They collect information and electronically send it to the robot controller. One of the common uses for sensors is keeping two robotic machines that work closely together from bumping into each other. They can also help end effectors by adjusting for part variances. A vision sensor allows pick and place robots to differentiate between what items to choose and which ones to ignore.


The drive is considered to be the motor or engine that moves the links into their designated positions. Links are sections found between the joints of the robotic arm. Generally, industrial robotic arms either use pneumatic, hydraulic or electric drives. A pneumatic drive system is used for smaller robots featuring fewer axes of movement. A hydraulic drive system gives a robot great strength and speed. Electric drive systems provide robots with less strength and speed. It is vital that you periodically inspect your industrial robot arm’s drive for wear and replace it if necessary.

Industrial robot arm

Being responsible for positioning the end effector, industrial robot arms vary in shape and size. The robot arm together with the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, move and twist to help position end effectors in the exact right spot. Each and more every one of these joints offers the industrial robot another degree of freedom. A simple robotic arm with three degrees of freedom only move in a three-way; forward and backward, left and right and up and down. However, a plethora of industrial robots in factories today are six-axis robots.

Industrial robot arms are metal marvels that will continue to operate in manufacturing for many years offering a myriad of benefits to businesses. With advancements of robotics and artificial intelligence, industrial robotic arms are set to become smarter as well as employable in more application in the near future.

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