What are the main parts of an industrial robot arm?

Jun 28, 2023

Three industrial robots

Indus­tri­al robot arms can vary in size and shape. The indus­tri­al robot arm is the part that posi­tions the end effec­tor. With the robot arm, the shoul­der, elbow, and wrist move and twist to posi­tion the end effec­tor in the exact right spot. Each of these joints gives the robot anoth­er degree of free­dom. A sim­ple robot with three degrees of free­dom can move in three ways: up & down, left & right, and for­ward & back­ward. Many indus­tri­al robots in fac­to­ries today are six axis robots.

An indus­tri­al robot arm includes these main parts: Con­troller, Arm, End Effec­tor, Dri­ve, and Sensor.

Parts of a Robot­ic Arm


The con­troller is the brain” of the indus­tri­al robot­ic arm and allows the parts of the robot to oper­ate togeth­er. It works as a com­put­er and allows the robot to also be con­nect­ed to oth­er sys­tems. The robot­ic arm con­troller runs a set of instruc­tions writ­ten in code called a pro­gram. The pro­gram is inputted with a teach pen­dant. Many of today’s indus­tri­al robot arms use an inter­face that resem­bles or is built on the Win­dows oper­at­ing system.

End Effec­tor

The end effec­tor con­nects to the robot­’s arm and func­tions as a hand. This part comes in direct con­tact with the mate­r­i­al the robot is manip­u­lat­ing. Some vari­a­tions of an effec­tor are a grip­per, a vac­u­um pump, mag­nets, and weld­ing torch­es. Some robots are capa­ble of chang­ing end effec­tors and can be pro­grammed for dif­fer­ent sets of tasks.

Ser­vo Drive

Ser­vo dri­ves are made up of cir­cuit boards, wires, microchips and con­nec­tors. These dri­ves are respon­si­ble for the motor’s move­ment and can make the motor accel­er­ate, slow down, stop or even reverse at any giv­en moment.. Indus­tri­al robot arms gen­er­al­ly use one of the fol­low­ing types of dri­ves: hydraulic, elec­tric, or pneu­mat­ic. Hydraulic dri­ve sys­tems give a robot great speed and strength. An elec­tric sys­tem pro­vides a robot with less speed and strength. Pneu­mat­ic dri­ve sys­tems are used for small­er robots that have few­er axes of move­ment. Dri­ves should be peri­od­i­cal­ly inspect­ed for wear and replaced if necessary.

Ser­vo Motor

The motor is the heart of every auto­mat­ed motion sys­tem. The type of motion you are look­ing to achieve will dic­tate the motor need­ed to bring the motion to life. One of the more pop­u­lar motors you see in today’s motion con­trol sys­tems. Ser­vo motors used in robot­ics and automa­tion are cho­sen due to hav­ing the fol­low­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics: fast response speed, high start­ing torque, wide speed range. Ser­vo motors are cho­sen most often in robot appli­ca­tions due to the amount of pre­ci­sion they con­trol when paired with a feed­back device such as a con­trol and a ser­vo drive.

Robot Sen­sor

Sen­sors allow the indus­tri­al robot­ic arm to receive feed­back about its envi­ron­ment. They can give the robot a lim­it­ed sense of sight and sound. The sen­sor col­lects infor­ma­tion and sends it elec­tron­i­cal­ly to the robot con­trolled. One use of these sen­sors is to keep two robots that work close­ly togeth­er from bump­ing into each oth­er. Sen­sors can also assist end effec­tors by adjust­ing for part vari­ances. Vision sen­sors allow a pick and place robot to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between items to choose and items to ignore.

Con­tact Us for Indus­tri­al Robot Parts

Robots​.com sells refur­bished indus­tri­al robots and indus­tri­al robot parts. To see our inven­to­ry of robot parts, check out our robot parts page or con­tact our sales staff at 8777626881.

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