Four Major Advantages to Choosing Robotic over Fixed Automation

Jan 23, 2008

There are a wide range of advantages in choosing robotic over fixed automation for your production line. Robotic automation offers greater flexibility, lower cost, simplified maintenance, and faster implementation. For more questions about Robotic automation, contact the experts at


When it comes to automa­tion, the first major deci­sion for any busi­ness own­er is choos­ing between fixed or robot­ic sys­tems. Over­whelm­ing­ly, those who stand at this cross­road decide in favor of robots, but why?

Greater Flex­i­bil­i­ty:

How much flex­i­bil­i­ty do you want to incor­po­rate into your facil­i­ty? Con­sid­er the require­ments of your project. You either need an auto­mat­ed sys­tem that han­dles a vari­ety of process­es and parts or one that is cus­tomized for one task or one part.

Fixed automa­tion is just that — fixed. It is best if used for spe­cif­ic jobs. The com­po­nents are cus­tomized to the dimen­sions and needs of indi­vid­ual parts and projects. Plus, fixed automa­tion sys­tems typ­i­cal­ly take up more room in the facil­i­ty than their robot­ic counterparts.

In con­trast, robots offer a high lev­el of flex­i­bil­i­ty. A sin­gle robot can be pro­grammed to accom­mo­date a vari­ety of part sizes, dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als, and even dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tions. If the task changes, the robot manip­u­la­tor han­dles every­thing with a sim­ple switch in end-of-arm tool­ing. Robots offer mul­ti-axis flex­i­bil­i­ty — allow­ing for mul­ti­ple angles, long reach ranges, and close prox­im­i­ty to parts. They can also be mount­ed from dif­fer­ent loca­tions — the ceil­ing, floor, wall, a table — with­out chang­ing their performance. 

Low­er Cost: 

Unlike fixed automa­tion sys­tems, robots are com­mod­i­ty items. Not only are they mass pro­duced, but they are wide­ly avail­able direct from the man­u­fac­tur­er or through a mul­ti­tude of sup­pli­ers. This fact alone dri­ves the price of robots down. In addi­tion, the world of refur­bished robot sales is rapid­ly expand­ing — offer­ing even more afford­able alter­na­tives for entire inte­grat­ed sys­tems or parts — and the guar­an­tee of resale.

Since fixed automa­tion sys­tems are cus­tom-built, there is a slim chance of find­ing afford­able used ver­sions. It fol­lows that these sys­tems are not always good options for resale either. Their lack of flex­i­bil­i­ty alone is a deter­rent; fixed automa­tion is typ­i­cal­ly sin­gle pur­pose, which makes it dif­fi­cult to con­vert to oth­er tasks.

Sim­pli­fied Maintenance: 

Robots are designed for easy main­te­nance and repair. With robots, there is a sin­gle man­u­fac­tur­er, which makes it eas­i­er to find spare parts. Artic­u­lat­ed robots are mod­u­lar in build, so parts can be quick­ly exchanged. Main­te­nance typ­i­cal­ly occurs on-site with­out need­ing to shut down entire pro­duc­tion lines.

Fixed automa­tion sys­tems are designed from cus­tomized parts from mul­ti­ple sources. Repair can be time con­sum­ing and require spe­cial­ized parts and ser­vice. With fixed automa­tion sys­tems, a minor change can require every­thing to stop for a time.

Faster Imple­men­ta­tion:

Robots offer the advan­tage of pre-engi­neer­ing. Many robots are part of turnkey sys­tems that come pre-built and pre-con­fig­ured. Plus, robot­ic work­cells and indi­vid­ual manip­u­la­tors are installed with ease. With user-friend­ly teach pen­dants that fit in your hand, and many soft­ware sys­tems avail­able in Win­dows for­mats, robots are eas­i­ly pro­grammed.

On the oth­er hand, because fixed automa­tion is heav­i­ly cus­tomized, imple­men­ta­tion can take more time. First of all, these sys­tems take longer to design. Plus, they are often built on-site which can take up space and some­times inter­rupt exist­ing sys­tems. Last of all, the parts for fixed automa­tion sys­tems take time to assem­ble because they are not from the same source. 

Try­ing to eval­u­ate what type of automa­tion is best for your com­pa­ny? Robots​.com can answer your ques­tions. Con­tact Robots​.com rep­re­sen­ta­tives online or at 8777626881.

Let's talk!

Request your quick quote today.