VIDEO: Adding Additional Axes to 6-Axis Collaborative Robots

Universal Robots’ lineup adds seventh linear axis with Festo linear actuator.

You might assume that the number of axes you can have on an industrial robot arm is determined exclusively by the robot’s manufacturer, but that isn’t necessarily so.

In the video above, we look at how manufacturers can give smaller collaborative robots like Universal Robots’ UR series an additional axis for more complex applications.

“Normally, a Universal Robot is paired up with a single machine; one robot tending one machine for loading and unloading tasks, for example,” explained Craig Tomita, area sales manager, Western US, for Universal Robots. “But mounting a robot on a linear axis, for example, like a Festo linear actuator, allows the robot to move between more than one application. What used to be one robot tending one machine can now become one robot tending several machines.”

This solution is ideal for robots working on machines that have longer cycle times, leaving the robot idle between tasks. Additionally, robot cells are typically designed to revolve around a stationary robot, which can be problematic in factory planning.

With a Festo linear actuator, UR series robots can move between applications. It also enables robot cells in and around production lines to be designed in a linear way for more efficient factory layouts.

In the video above, we see the robot in a right-side-up configuration, but the robot can also be mounted from the ceiling, potentially freeing even more floor space.

“This can be useful for all industries across the board,” Tomita said. “The Festo seventh axis do not reduce the payload or maximum speed of the robot. The beauty of this system is that it is not a separate system. It can be tightly integrated with our controls so the Festo seventh axis is programmed using our Universal Robot Teaching Pendant, not requiring a separate program.”

For more information, watch the video above and visit the Universal Robots website.

Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.