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Most robots have six axes that can reach various regions of a part or assembly.  While this sufficient for many applications, adding the right positioner exponentially expands your robotic capabilities. A positioner like a 5-axis positioner can present a simple or complex part to a robotic arm for repeatable welds. A Robot Transport Unit can move a robot around an assembly or part, which is why an RTU is also known as a 7thaxis positioner. A robotic positioner should be customized for your application, footprint, and part geometry, so that it can work in unison with a robot performing an articulated motion. The geometry of your part (e.g., capacity and size) and process (e.g., duty cycle) will influence which positioner(s) you select.

Popular positioners for simple and complex parts:

RTUs | Floor Turntables | Robotic Tilt-Rotate Positioners | Headstocks/Tailstocks | Ferris Wheel Positioners | 5-Axis Positioners | H-Frame Positioners

Each positioner provides specific capabilities. For instance, floor turntables are used to rotate parts along a vertical axis while robotic tilt-rotate positioners and 5-axis positioners are used to weld parts at various degree angles. Alternatively, headstocks / tailstocks and H-frame positioners rotate parts along a horizontal axis.

This guide will help you consider the right positioner for your operation, but our expert engineering staff can walk you through every step of selecting the right solution for your project. We know robotic and welding positioners, and we’ve been industry leaders for over 50 years. Our job is presenting your team with actionable intelligence about robotic positioning. We take a consultative approach, where we learn more about the problems you are solving. We then provide custom solutions that meet or exceed project requirements, often with positioners that were not initially considered by the customer.


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Consider a robotic tilt-rotate positioner to manipulate a part on either the vertical or horizontal axis. Both the tilt and rotate functions add a level of flexibility for thermal/cold spray, or for laying down the puddle of the weld efficiently, so that you can weld at flat, horizontal or vertical angles (if the table height allows it). Positioners can be configured with various tilt options, such as 0° to 135° or +/- 90°.

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Positioning Parts With Advanced Geometries

Parts with advanced geometries, such as a bulldozer bucket or truck cab, present unique challenges because a robotic arm cannot easily reach certain regions or perform repeatable actions (such as welding) without the aid of a positioner. Skyhooks and Drop-Centers allow robots to repeatably perform welds on parts with advanced geometries. Both of these positioners provide infinite positioning for parts with advanced geometries.