What is an Industrial robot arm?

March 12, 2024
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What is an Industrial robot arm?

An Industrial robot arm is a programmable mechanical arm designed to automate manufacturing processes. 

These hefty arms are built to handle middle to heavy payloads and guarantee long operational hours in even the harshest Industrial environments. 

Unlike smaller robotic arms, Industrial robot arms are compatible with industrial machinery and equipment.

How do Industrial robot arms stand out from their counterparts?

Industrial robot arms are their own beast; unlike the robot arms you see in movies or TV shows, these heavy-duty arms are built for demanding, repetitive tasks – a staple of manufacturing environments. 

Let’s take a look at what sets an Industrial robot arm apart: 

  • They can lift way more

Industrial robot arms have a much higher payload capacity, able to lift and manipulate heavy equipment, parts, and materials that human workers can’t. 

They're also extremely powerful, with some able to lift a literal ton. This raw power allows them to handle jobs that would be impossible for humans.

  • They’re faster and more precise 

Despite their size and strength, Industrial robot arms are capable of extremely high precision and blink-and-you-miss-it speed. 

They can perform repetitive motions very accurately and consistently, which leads to higher-quality results. And, of course, more speed and consistency translate to more productivity. 

  • They can integrate with automated lines easily

These robot arms are designed to integrate directly into automated production lines and systems. They can work with conveyor belts, presses, welders, and more to create a seamless manufacturing process with very low human involvement.

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What are Industrial robot arms used for? (Major applications)

Industrial robot arms are used in a variety of manufacturing applications where repetitive, difficult, or dangerous tasks need to be performed with speed, precision, and consistency.

  • Putting things together

These robot arms are very good at assembling components with an extreme level of accuracy and efficiency. 

They're used to assemble electronic components, cars, aircraft, appliances, and more. The robot arm can manipulate parts and join them together with welds or fasteners much faster than human workers.

  • Handling materials 

Industrial robot arms are also fantastic at material handling jobs like palletizing, depalletizing, and sorting. 

They can lift and move heavy materials and finished goods on assembly lines and in warehouses. Some robot arms have grippers that can even handle those all-too-frail items without damaging them.

  • Welding, painting, and making things look pretty

Many manufacturing facilities use Industrial robot arms to handle welding, gluing, and painting applications.

The robot arm can maneuver along complex paths to apply welds, adhesives, or paint to products. Robot arms are also useful for these tasks because they can operate in dangerous areas with fumes or other noxious substances. 

  • “Let me take a good look at that.” 

Some Industrial robot arms have vision systems and sensors that allow them to perform inspection of parts and products. 

They can scan for flaws, measure components, and verify that everything is A-OK with the assembly. As you can imagine, automated inspection helps improve the overall quality control in manufacturing.

  • Manufacturing, or “If that’s too boring for you, I’ll do it.”  

Industrial robot arms play an all-too-important role in modern manufacturing, taking on repetitive tasks and doing them quicker, better, and more accurately than humans - significantly enhancing productivity across a broad range of applications.

What are the types of Industrial robot arms, and what are they good at? 

Articulated robot arms 

Articulated robot arms, with multiple rotary joints, are the most common type

Their perks? Overall dexterity and a large work envelope, making them excellent for tasks like welding, painting, and assembly.

Cartesian robot arms 

Cartesian robot arms move along a linear X, Y, and Z axis, which allows for precise, controlled movement. 

They're often used for packaging, palletizing, machine loading, and pick and place applications where high precision is key.

SCARA robot arms 

SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robot arms also move precisely along the X, Y, and Z axes but have two parallel rotary joints for increased flexibility. 

They're ideal for assembly, packaging, and sorting in confined spaces. 

Delta robot arms 

Delta robot arms have three arms connected to a common base that move extremely fast over a dome-shaped work area. 

They're used for high-speed pick and place, sorting, and assembly, such as placing cookies on a conveyor belt or sorting small parts.

Redundant robot arms 

Redundant robot arms have more joints than necessary to position the end-effector. The extra joints provide a huge amount of fine-tuned skill for manipulating objects in confined or obstructed workspaces. 

They're often used for tasks like waste removal, nuclear decontamination, and space applications.

Why manufacturers are deploying Industrial robot arms

  • Skyrocketing productivity

    Industrial robot arms can work on and on without breaks – a massive “yes” for productivity and overall output. They're able to perform repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy and consistency. This results in a faster production cycle and higher yields.
  • Unimaginable quality levels 

    Robots provide a precise, controlled movement that results in improved quality and far fewer defects. Their actions are programmed and calibrated to extremely tight tolerances. 
  • Costs so low you won’t believe it 

    Although Industrial robot arms will cost you a pretty penny they can significantly reduce operating costs in the long run. They minimize waste and rework and don’t require benefits or time off. And you can still reallocate human workers to more high-value tasks.

    Plus, they have an ROI of just 1-3 years.
  • Unbelievable safety margins 

    As we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, Industrial robots can work in high-risk environments. This leads to a safer working environment and fewer accidents and injuries for employees.
  • Extremely flexible and redeployable

    Modern Industrial robot arms are highly programmable and can be reconfigured for different purposes
    . They allow manufacturers to quickly adapt to changes in the production process or switch between different products on the same production line. 

So, changing market? No problem! Just reprogram, reconfigure, and redeploy!

The best Industrial robot arm manufacturers

These companies are pioneers in developing innovative, high-performance robot arms for Industrial automation:

Standard Bots

Rooted in Glen Cove, New York, Standard Bots is a huge democratizing force in the robotics space.

Their baby, RO1, is at the forefront of their mission, offering a cost-efficient, Six-Axis Collaborative robot arm with AI capabilities and a best-in-class payload. 

With ease of use in mind, this Cobot is ready right out of the box, featuring intuitive software akin to GPT-4 for straightforward operation. It’s perfect for manufacturers looking to automate processes with minimal fuss – and without skyrocketing costs. 


Originating from Zurich, Switzerland, ABB has cemented its reputation as a heavyweight in the robotics arena. Known for producing large-scale robotic arms for intensive tasks like welding, painting, and assembly, ABB also develops smaller, human-friendly Cobots. 

The IRB 6700, their flagship model, is celebrated for its strength and reliability, especially within the automotive industry, showcasing ABB's commitment to innovation and quality.


If the sight of bright yellow robots is familiar, it's likely FANUC's handiwork. As the leading manufacturer of Industrial robots, particularly for the automotive industry, this Japan-based giant is synonymous with reliability, low maintenance, and high-precision engineering. 

The M-20iA model, known for its agility and accuracy, epitomizes FANUC's dedication to excellence in the Six-Axis robot category.


Yaskawa Electric Corporation is a Japanese company that produces Industrial robots, servos, machine controllers and automation equipment. Their notable robot arms are the MH24, MH12 and MPK. 

Yaskawa's Industrial robot arms stand out for their high speed, accuracy, and energy efficiency. They’re commonly used for welding, painting, assembly, pick and place, and packaging applications.

Summing up

Now you have a solid understanding of what these robotic jacks-of-all-trades can do. Whether it's lifting heavy loads on the assembly line and - hopefully - soon to be on your shop floor!

Next steps

Looking to boost production efficiency? RO1 by Standard Bots introduces a cutting-edge Six-Axis Industrial robot arm, perfect for both SMEs and industrial giants. 

  • Innovative affordability: Costing only half as much as similar models, RO1 brings the future of sophisticated automation within reach of businesses of all sizes.
  • Raising the standard: RO1 eclipses its competitors by delivering an exceptional 18 kg payload with exceptional repeatability, leading the pack in both velocity and precision.
  • Intrinsic safety features: RO1 comes equipped with advanced sensors and safety mechanisms, paving the way for secure Collaborative engagements.
  • Advanced adaptability and learning: RO1 leverages its superior AI capabilities, comparable to GPT-4, to learn from its environment, adapt to new challenges seamlessly, and improve with use. 

Experience RO1 with a complimentary 30-day trial now. Our dedicated support team is on standby to ensure the seamless integration of RO1's capabilities into your shop floor.

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