Cartesian Robots Gaining Attention, Again

June 4, 2024
Prior to the introduction of multi-axis collaborative robots, Cartesian robots were among the more popular robots used in industry. Bosch Rexroth sees interest rising again for these robots.

Cartesian robots can move across three axes of motion (X, Y and Z) using linear actuators positioned at right angles to each other. While it’s moves are straightforward, Cartesian robots have long been regarded for their high reliability and precision movements as well as for their ease of programming, lower cost and ability to handle heavy payloads. They’re particularly popular in gantry systems but are also used for pick-and-place applications, materials transfer, assembly, spot welding and palletizing/depalletizing.

At Automate 2024, we caught up with Richard Vaughn, automation engineering manager at Bosch Rexroth to learn about Bosch Rexroth’s Smart Function Kit for handling. These pre-assembled multi-axis Cartesian robots are composed of standardized Bosch Rexroth modules and components, which fit together to form smart subsystems. 

Vaughn noted that he’s seeing a trend in industry that, while interest is not moving away from 6-axis robots, more people are interested in using Cartesian robots again—largely for the dependability and precision reasons noted above, but also because not every application requires a 6-axis robot.

The Smart Function Kit for handling Cartesian robot Bosch Rexroth showcased at Automate uses the company’s MS2N servo motors and a cable management system (included with the kit) to route all the cabling from the robot back to the Bosch Rexroth ctrlX drives and controller.

“The mechanical brains of this Smart Function Kit is our linear axis,” said Vaughn. “We've got a compact belt drive module and a ball-screw driven compact module on the Z axis doing the pick-and-place operation off of a linear motor-based active mover conveyor.”

n line with its ctrlX app-based approach to automation, the Smart Function Kit for handling is an app-based programming tool from Bosch Rexroth that allows users to drag and drop programming modules to create a simple routine for functions such as palletizing and pick and place.

Working with the Smart Function Kit “starts with our software tools, which are accessible online, that you can use to design this system and get a CAD model in a matter of minutes,” explained Vaughn. “Then you've got one part number ready to order as a complete system.”

In the video below, Bosch Rexroth's Richard Vaughn walks us through the Smart Function Kit for handling on display at Automate 2024.

About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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