Robots use a linear actuator, rotary actuator, or a robotic joint to move. Motors can only move by rotation, so robots use screws to move something along a line, and rails to guide its orientation. Using many of them at once to help you do a specific task, how do you know how many is enough?

What is the robot axis?

Axis is usually defined as an imaginary line where an object moves around or moves along. It sets the limitation where the object moves. However, in robotics, an axis is interpreted as the robot's ​"degree of freedom"​. It is similar to the number of motors present to move the robot. A clock's hand is designed to move within a circular motion. Setting an alarm means positioning a certain hand precisely to a certain position. The robot uses its axis the same way.

Trimming your options

You don't need more than one axis for something that only needs to move precisely along a line, or two axes for a planar constraint. For instance, two motors are enough for a printer. One to slide the paper, and another to slide the cartridge.

3-Axis Robot

3D printers and CNC machines are often called 3-axis robots. This is because the tool can move along a plane and can move up and down. 3 axis robots are often in the form of Cartesian robots, where the controls resemble ​coin-operated claw machines.

Cranes can also be considered 3-axis robots since it can lift objects and transfer them within its radial reach. The end effector as a claw or a tool cannot be considered as an axis.

4-Axis Robot

Sometimes, 3 axes aren't enough to control the positioning of an object. This is when you add another axis, where programming becomes more sophisticated. If you need the 3 axis robot to rotate the end effector, use a 4-axis robot called ​Scara robot​. It functions as if you can command the claw machine to pick the toy on a certain depth and drop the toy on a certain orientation. You need these robots to place an object facing differently from when it's picked.

5-Axis Robot

When the 4-axis is not enough to place something on the desired position, another axis is added. Positioning the object is only limited within its reach; however, orienting the object is limited within two axes. You can use it to place the object within a space, but you are limited to choose two from tilting, turning, and nodding.

Traditional robotics employ these kinds of robots for industrial applications. It is because programming to move several motors at once was a sophisticated task since resources are expensive and limited before the rise of modern robotics.

6-Axis Robot

The majority of industrial robots use this type since it offers flexibility and adaptability. It can move the picked object by rotating and moving along the X, Y, and Z axes simultaneously. When someone says 'robotic arm', that person most likely refers to a ​6-axis robotic arm​.

Robotic arms use joints and wrists instead of linear actuators to access enclosures. This robot can hover anything that it intends to carry. Since robotics can utilize software today to employ servomotors on robotics, programming 6-axis robots is not a complex task anymore. The market provides a 6-axis robotic arm with options to choose the optimum robotic arm specifically for your needs.

7-Axis Robot

It exists solely to move a 6-axis along a line or an arc without compromising the precision. This is an option when the 6-axis robot needs to multitask.

Hopefully, this helped you figure out what to use for your robot. You can learn more and prepare for future upgrades by reaching out to experts who have enough experience in employing multi-axis robots on several applications.

Published by Shahbaz Ahmed