Robot manipulator

Manipulator systems are used when materials have to be moved in different axes and lifted or different places. Manipulators are universal and they can be easily reprogrammed to do different tasks.

Example of an advanced manipulator system could be a welding robot for car industry. The robot is programmed for welding different part of a body together. The welding is done at certain positions that are preprogrammed. One step further will be to combine this manipulator with vision systems that could identify the seams between the two parts that should be welded. Therefor you will move from exact positioning in space to track the seam via the vision system.

Movement, orientation and assembly of workpieces are a common function of automated assembly systems. These tasks are often performed by automated handling manipulators.


The important component of handling device is a gripper which makes contact and manipulates with the target object. The two most common types of grippers are mechanical and vacuum.


Mechanical grippers. These normally have two or three gripper jaws which “grip” the workpiece like a hand. Since the jaws are not very flexible they must be adapted to the workpiece. Mechanical grippers can be operated by either fluid power (hydraulics or  pneumatics) or electricity.


Two-axis automated handling machines are most frequently used to move (pick) workpieces from a magazine and then deposit (place) them somewhere else. These are called “pick and place” devices.


Learning outcomes:

After completing the topic student ...

  • describes functionality of robotic manipulator,

  • analyzes manipulator capabilities and movement parameters,

  • analyzes gripper’s capabilities and limitations and handling of target objects,

  • develops control program for manipulator,

  • validates and tests the control program.