We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Robot Manipulator?

By Lakshmi Sandhana
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A robot manipulator is a robotic arm-like mechanism that is designed to manipulate or move materials, tools, and parts without direct human contact. Most robotic manipulators are lightweight devices that enable humans to interact with objects in an environment in total safety. Sometimes, a material may be hazardous or radioactive, or it may just be located in an inaccessible place. Robot manipulators resemble robotic arms and consist of a number of segments. They are used in industrial applications to effectively perform tasks like assembly, welding, surface finishing, and drilling.

The segmented arms can grip and shift objects under human control. Every commercial robot manipulator consists of two discrete elements — the controller and the manipulator arm. Most of these arms have six degrees of freedom and a proprietary controller. The arms differ from each other in the way the different components are arranged to deliver a certain type of performance. The manipulator's performance is gauged by characteristics such as its precision, payload weight, and speed. Reach and dexterity are also measured when making decisions as to the performance of a robot manipulator.

The reach is a measure of the extent to which the manipulator covers the workspace. The dexterity is a property of the angular displacement of the joints in the arm. The payload weight is specified by the manufacturer, and it also takes into account the payload capacity with differing reach and velocity conditions. The ability of the arm to repeat the movement, or repeatability, is measured to get an accurate idea of the arm's precision. Simulations and motion testing methods are used to verify performance parameters for various applications.

Various link and joint combinations lead to various types of manipulators. The rigid parts that connect joints are called links. The joints enable the links to move, and they may be either linear or rotary. Linear mechanical joints only permit nonrotational motion between adjoining links. Rotary joints, however, allow the connecting links to rotate.

For instance, the cylindrical type of robot manipulator is fabricated with linear joints, which are connected to a base rotary joint. A cartesian robot, or the gantry configuration, consists of linear joints in the arm. A polar configuration consists of a combination of both linear and rotary joints. An articulated robot manipulator, in contrast, has an arm whose links are connected using rotary joints.

Basically, the manipulator can be thought of as a wrist connected to an arm and body. The wrist has a few compact joints and is used to orient the parts. The arm and body are used to manipulate the tools or parts within the work space. The latter can be configured in ways suited to different types of applications.

Many manipulator arms can be fixed to almost any surface. Some manipulators have advanced to the point where the wrists contain gripping mechanical fingers. This allows the robot manipulator to pick up an object as delicate as an egg. Some manipulators also come with advanced software that allow them to be controlled with a computer or integrated with other systems effortlessly.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.