Robot Arm or Turnkey Workcell - Which is Best?

Jul 27, 2008

Robotworx takes pride in their customer service and integration options for their customers. They offer a wide range of choices such as a turnkey workcell or a customized workcell. A robotic workcell will arrive at the facility ready to go; it requires a run of gas lines, wires, and power cables and then a quick programming of the system. also offers its customers free training to help program the robot before it arrives at the facility.


It is a com­mon dilem­ma: Should you pur­chase a sin­gle robot arm or buy an all-inclu­sive pre-engi­neered work­cell? Explore the pros and cons. 

Instal­la­tion: How fast can you get your sys­tem or arm up and run­ning?

The pri­ma­ry advan­tage of a turnkey work­cell is ease of instal­la­tion. When a robot­ic work­cell arrives at your facil­i­ty, all you have to do is run gas lines, wires, and pow­er cables, pro­gram the sys­tem, and you are ready to go!

Fur­ther­more, if you take advan­tage of Robots​.com’ free train­ing, you’ll be able to pro­gram your robot sys­tem before it arrives at your facil­i­ty, sav­ing even more time and has­sle. Since turnkey work­cells install sim­ply and quick­ly, they are the best solu­tion for those who are new to robot­ics.

A sin­gle robot arm, on the oth­er hand, requires more time and effort to install. If you are new to robot­ics, this may not be your best option. Pro­gram­ming can only be han­dled prop­er­ly on-site, adding yet anoth­er delay to pro­duc­tion. All of the periph­er­als, parts posi­tion­ers, and safe­ty equip­ment must be ori­ent­ed and tested.

Floor Space Flex­i­bil­i­ty: Con­sid­er your space require­ments and the lev­el of adapt­abil­i­ty you’d pre­fer.

If you need to add to a pre­ex­ist­ing pro­duc­tion line, a sin­gle robot arm is your best option. How­ev­er, when it comes to porta­bil­i­ty, a robot arm con­fig­u­ra­tion is much more dif­fi­cult and time con­sum­ing to move than a com­pact turnkey work­cell.

The typ­i­cal work­cell is con­struct­ed with a com­mon base and fork­lift pock­ets for easy trans­port­ing. If your floor­plan changes, you can move the entire robot sys­tem to a new loca­tion. Once again, a turnkey work­cell saves time and effort. 

Cost: Which option gives you more for your mon­ey?

At first glance, this seems like a no-brain­er — a sin­gle robot arm is much cheap­er than an entire work­cell. It isn’t that sim­ple.

A robot arm may fit your bud­get at first, but when you start pur­chas­ing all the parts to go with it — safe­ty ele­ments, tool­ing, parts posi­tion­ers, etc. — the total cost quick­ly exceeds that of a work­cell. Labor costs to set-up, pro­gram, and mon­i­tor a robot arm are also much more.

A work­cell is the most cost-effec­tive way to get into robot­ics. In pro­duc­tion, time is mon­ey. A robot work­cell is a quick, com­plete solu­tion that does not eat up pro­duc­tion or work­er schedules.

Work­ers: Work­cell or robot arm — which fits your labor force bet­ter?

Work­cells and robot arms require dif­fer­ing amounts of super­vi­sion and involve­ment. Monitoring/​operating a work­cell is sim­pler than keep­ing an eye on a sin­gle robot. Load­ing a work­cell is often sim­pler than secur­ing and feed­ing parts to a sin­gle robot arm.

Turnkey work­cells and robot arms are dif­fer­ent when it comes to work­er safe­ty as well. A sin­gle robot arm may have its own safe­ty envi­ron­ment, but it can nev­er be as fail-proof as a work­cel­l’s con­tained struc­ture. Each work­cell poro­vides a total safe­ty envi­ron­ment includ­ing light cur­tains, safe­ty locks, fenc­ing, and most impor­tant­ly — steel beams to frame it all. 

Still have ques­tions? Robots​.com has a wide selec­tion of both work­cells and robot arms. Call us to dis­cuss your options: 8777626881 or con­tact experts online.

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