The 6-axes Industrial Robot Arm

This is probably the most easily recognized industrial robot arm. Seen many times. in press releases, showing a typical automotive assembly line, with lots of sparks and flashes!

The ABB IRB 6640

Industrial Robot ArmPhoto is from the ABB web site


Manufacturer: ABB

Model: IRB 6640

Type: Large Industrial Robot.

No. of Axes: 6

Max. Reach: 2.55-3.2M (100.4 in-125.9 in) Depending on model.

Max. Payload: 235kg(517LB) with 2.55M reach.

Mounting: Floor

Weight: 1310-1405 kg.(2882lb-3091lb)

Repeatability: .07mm (0.0027 in)-Positions

Speed: Axis 1 rotation can be  100-110 degrees/second.

Applications: Material handling, Palletizing, Spot Welding.


This is a large robot that has many applications, in the material handling, machine tending and spot welding industries.

I have used this robot, in a material handling mode, for many years. Equipped with a pneumatic robotic end of arm tooling, it was successfully used to de-stack, transfer and stack steel sheets, used in automotive parts manufacturing.

These parts were Tailor Welded blanks used in the "Body in White" part of the production cycle.

Body sides and door inners were a popular part, so large thin steel sheets were moved accurately and safely around laser welding machines.

When this robot arm is used in a spot welding application, a special model is available. This is the IRB 6640ID. This model has a reach of 2.55M and can handle a payload of 200kg.  The process cabling, for spot welding, can be routed inside the upper arm. This makes for a very dependable installation.

Robot Mounting

This robot is intended to be mounted on the floor. Take into account the inertia of this robot, when designing the mounting method, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations as to floor requirements and lag bolt specifications!

It is possible to mount the robot arm on a short stand, to give more access to the work envelope. This is usually a custom designed weldment, that is more than strong enough to absorb all the loads.

Supplier Support

ABB is one of the largest robot manufacturers in the world. They have installed over 150,000 Industrial robot arms worldwide!

They have an excellent training program that concentrates on robot programming and they have trained a lot of robot programmers with this school.

Their range of robots is extensive and parts and service are available on a world wide basis.

I have used ABB for a very long time and have always found there products to be first class and cost effective. I will not hesitate to use them in the future.

Both 2D and 3D CAD models are available for download. Full details of the IRB 6640 robot can be found here.

The Epson C3 6-axes Robot

Epson C3 6-axes RobotPhoto is from the Epson web site


Manufacturer: Epson

Model: C3

Type: Small Industrial Robot.

No. of Axes: 6

Max. Reach- Horizontal: 655mm (25.79in.)

Max. reach-Vertical: 885mm (34.84in.)

Max. Payload: 3kg(6.6lb) Rated at 1kg( 2.2lb)

Mounting: Table

Weight: 27kg (59.4lb)

Reputability: +/- 0.02mm ( 0.0008in.)

Speed: Axis 1 rotation can be  450degrees/second

Applications: Small parts assembly,dispensing, material handling, electronics assembly( ESD compliant models available)

For a complete contrast to the ABB robot, we now look at a small and very fast robot for precision jobs, that demand the most accuracy in repeatability.

A look at the video will show you some very impressive moves. This video is what I call a "Robot Ballet", in so much as it is not an application movie, but just a program to show off the robot.


Small part, precision assembly is an obvious choice for such an industrial robot arm. If a component has to be placed or removed from a tray, then the 6 axes of servo power can be fully utilized.

The history of the Epson robots is an interesting subject. Prior to Epson becoming involved, the robots were known as Seiko. Seiko designed and built their own robots, for use in the Seiko watch assembly.

The accuracy and repeatability for such an operation is obviously to a very high standard. and Seko decided to offer their robot arms to the industry.

Accurate application of fluid materials is another possible application. Glue, grease etc. can be applied in a very repeatable pattern.

The C3 robotic arms are available in ISO 3 Clean configurations and are always ESD compliant. The robot is thus ideally suited for sensitive applications where electrostatic discharge can create defective parts,

Robot Mounting

The robot arm can be mounted to the work cell table, or the wall or even the ceiling. If more access to the work envelope is desired then a stand can be utilized. I have fabricated these from steel and have used aluminum extrusions, as an alternative.

Supplier Support

Epson offer world wide support and training. The programming can be learned very quickly and spare parts are readily available.

Epson also offer a vision system, that can really expand the potential applications and is easily integrated into the controls.

I am always amazed at the very cost effective pricing that is available- robots seem to get less expensive for every application!

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