Choosing the Right Industrial Manipulator

An industrial manipulator is equipment for facilitating handling operations. It can pick up and manipulate heavy loads, enabling the user to carry out fast, convenient and safe handling. Manipulators are efficient and versatile and relieve users during laborious maneuvers such as gripping, lifting, holding and rotating loads.

Industrial manipulators are adapted to operators’ needs and designed to reduce the rate of workplace accidents. They also help reduce musculoskeletal disorders that affect operators when performing repetitive manual handling tasks.
They are used to:
– increase productivity
-make work less difficult and more agreable
-limit the number of accidents

View industrial manipulators

  • How to choose an industrial manipulator?

    Dalmec pneumatic industrial manipulator

    In order to choose the most suitable industrial manipulator for your application, we recommend that you consider the following criteria:

    • The weight of the product that your industrial manipulator will have to move
      The load is the most important element when making your choice, so refer to the indicative load given by the manufacturer.
      Some manipulators can lift light loads (a few dozen kilograms), while others can carry larger loads (several hundred kilograms, up to 1.5 tonnes).
    • The size and shape of the product to be moved
    • The trajectory of the movement to be performed
      • What kind of manipulating do you require? Lifting? Rotating? Reversing?
    • Your manipulator’s working radius
      • An industrial manipulator is used to move a load. The working radius depends on the dimensions of the manipulator.
      • Please note: the larger the working radius, the more expensive the manipulator will be.
    • Your manipulator’s power supply
      • The power supply of your industrial manipulator will determine its speed, power, accuracy and ergonomics.
      • You will have to choose between hydraulic, pneumatic, electric and manual.
      • Your choice of power supply may also be limited by the environment in which your industrial manipulator will be used: if you work in an ATEX environment for example, favor a pneumatic or hydraulic power supply.
    • The type of gripping device should be adapted to the product to be manipulated
      • According to the object your industrial manipulator will have to grip and move, you can choose between:
        • a suction cup
        • a vacuum lifter
        • pliers
        • a hook
        • un chuck
        • a magnet
        • a handling crate
  • What type of power supply should you choose?

    There are four types of power supply available for an industrial manipulator:

    Atis pneumatic industrial manipulator

    1. Pneumatic:
    2. Hydraulic:
      • Hydraulic manipulators can handle heavier loads than other types of industrial manipulators.
      • They are slower and less accurate however.
    3. Electric:
      • Electric manipulators allow for better ergonomics and offer greater precision of movement than other types of manipulators.
      • Please note: they are prohibited in ATEX zones.
    4. Manual:
      • Manual manipulators offer more fluid movement and highly accurate positioning.
      • Their speed is limited, however, and the loads they can handle are lower than hydraulic manipulators.
  • Why choose a vacuum manipulator?

    Manibo vacuum manipulator for the food industry

    Vacuum industrial manipulators are generally lifting tubes that suck up products by vacuum.

    How does a vaccum manipulator work?

    • A vacuum manipulator is made up of a suction cup gripping device paired with a vacuum generator.
    • The difference in pressure, caused by the vacuum generator, allows the object to be gripped by the suction cup.

    What is it used for?

    • Vacuum manipulators are very practical for handling sheets of metal, glass and plastic.
    • They are also suitable for all types of loads: cardboard boxes, bags, pallets, etc.
  • What are the advantages to an articulated manipulator?

    Articulated manipulators have several advantages.

    Movomech pneumatic industrial manipulator

    • Large-scale mobility and great fluidity of movement:
      • The articulation of the arm allows the operator to move in all directions.
      • This fluidity of movement also facilitates positioning.
      • However, you will need to consider the maximum working radius of the articulated arm. Some swingarms have a working radius of 10 meters.
    • Their gripping speed is an advantage:
      • They allow the load to be picked up and released quickly, while maintaining the operator’s safety.
    • Better productivity:
      • Due to their speed when lifting and moving.
    • Easy to use
  • What type of product will you be manipulating?

    Famatec coil manipulator

    Your choice of industrial manipulator will depend on your intended application and the type of product you wish to manipulate.

    For the manipulation of:

    • Empty pallets: fork manipulators are the most suitable.
    • Coil: fork manipulators are the most suitable.
    • Barrels: we recommend using a cable lift manipulator or one with a swingarm.
    • Bags: go for a manipulator with a swingarm, pliers or vacuum.
    • Crates and boxes: go for a manipulator with a swingarm, pliers, hoist, coil, pliers or vacuum.
    • Panels: we suggest using a vacuum manipulator.
  • Which configuration should you choose?

    There are different configurations of manipulators adapted for each work environment:

    Indeva column-mounted manipulator

    • Column-mounted manipulators
      • They are fixed to the ground and mounted on a column.
      • They are easier to integrate and implement than other manipulators.
      • They are more stable.
      • Please note: they cannot be moved and take up more space in the work environment.
    • Hanging manipulators
      • They are fixed to the ceiling.
      • They do not take up any floor space.
      • Please note: they are fixed in place and cannot be moved. As they are fixed to the ceiling, they also require monitoring of the weight of the entire installation (load and manipulator).
    • Overhead rail-mounted
      • They are fixed to a moving cart.
      • They have a greater range because they can reach different parts of the room.
      • They are more expensive to integrate.
      • Please note: you will have to monitor the weight of the entire installation (the load and manipulator).
  • Should you choose a custom industrial manipulator or one that’s ready to use?

    It is essential that your industrial manipulator work exactly the way you need it to. The safety of your employees depends on it, as does your production and the quality of your final product.

    You can either buy a ready-to-use “out of the box” handling system or design your own manipulator with your own specifications so that it meets your exact needs.

    Both types of manipulators have advantages and disadvantages.

    “Out of the box” manipulators

    • They are easier to integrate and less expensive so they offer better value for money than custom manipulators.
    • This standard type of solution does not always meet employees’ real requirements. The manipulator may not manipulate as far as you require for example.
      • Risk of injury to your employees who may be required to complete the work manually.
      • Risk of slowing production.

    Custom manipulators

    • They operate exactly as you would like them to.
    • You can add tools specifically developed for your application to the end of the manipulator.
    • They allow you to create a safer industrial environment for your employees.
    • Custom manipulators meet your production needs perfectly. They allow you to execute orders faster, without slowing down production and without your operators having to manually intervene to complete certain tasks (unlike standard manipulators).
    • They are more expensive than standard manipulators however.
    • They require a specific design time and their availability is longer than if you buy an “out of the box” manipulator.
  • Why choose a manipulator instead of a handling robot?

    • The manipulator is the first step towards assisting the operator with repetitive and laborious tasks.
    • This solution is more affordable than a handling robot.
    • You also don’t need to have programming knowledge.
    • Integrating a manipulator into a production system requires much less space than a robot.
    • However, a manipulator does not allow a task to be fully automated as it is not autonomous like a robot is.
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