Pick and place robotic arm

As we continue to automate the world to make our lives easier, the fundamental nature of work is changing. Manpower required in factories have reduced significantly because most of the work is now being done by machines. In simple words human arms are being replaced by robotic arms. Consequently robotic arm takes on the burden of manual, repetitive tasks, freeing people to achieve their potential. Also these automated arms produce better results, reduces injury and drives industry further. Most importantly using them has also helped in making processes more efficient and less noisy. Availability of robotic arms for monotonous and dangerous tasks has reserved human hands for critical and safer work, resulting in elevation of their value. This article aims to provide you with working of it, parts comprising it, its applications and projects related to this incredible technology.

Working of pick and place robotic arm

Pick and place robotic arm is a system which can be designed in many different ways according to its applications. Further they heavily depend on joints, which are used to join the two consecutive rigid bodies in the robot and can be rotary joint or linear joint. Joints principally define the movement of the arm as they decide the degree of freedom of the components. Consequently all robotic arm consists of following basic components.


As name suggests, this is the brain which operates the arm. It keeps track of time, the position of the joints, and the movements of the manipulator. The control unit can be further classified as mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical.

  • Mechanical: It is the most basic and least sophisticated type. For this reason it has been in use from the times when programmable devices did not exist. The purpose of robot arm control was to maintain the dynamic response of the manipulator as per the pre-specified objective through mechanical linkage and cam.
  • Hydraulic type system: Pascal’s law is the basis of hydraulic drive systems and uses pistons and valves to control the movement. This type of controller is used for robots that must move large or heavy loads, because such loads rarely need to be placed with extreme accuracy, e.g. stacking might be task included in this group.
  • Electrical: This type of control is convenient, clean, quiet, reasonably fast, and used on nearly all assembly robots that require close tolerance accuracy. Therefore this system is most widely used today. Programmable controller microcomputer type, micro process based and minicomputer based controller are used to store instructions to carry out operations.


The manipulator is the entire mechanism of the robot that provides movement of any degree of freedom. The joints to this robotic manipulator are the movable components, which enables relative motion between the adjoining links. Further they consists of base, arm and gripper.


The gripper is similar to the human hand. Just as the hand grasps the tool to perform the work, similarly the gripper secures the robot’s work piece while the operation is being performed. As the grip strength and nature vary with respect to objects being gripped, hence shape of the gripper is determined by the task it has to perform.


They are used to sense the internal as well as the external state to make sure the robot functions smoothly as a whole. Moreover they help in making them more controlled and automated. Sensors involve touch sensors, IR sensor etc.

Source of Power and Drives

Power sources are indispensable while designing robotic systems. Hence, the selection of power sources should be the primary focus owing to its impact on the mechanism, packaging, weight and size of the system. There are three types of sources of power devices for robotic systems. These are pneumatic; hydraulic or electro hydraulic; and electric.


Applications of pick and place robotic arm are extensive and diverse. They are used from industries to hospitals and can be potentially used from restaurants to battle fields.

Industrial application

It is hard to imagine today’s manufacturing plants to function without them. As a result this is the most fundamental application of pick and place robotic arm. Their specific tasks include:

  • Fast Assembly – robots can pick parts from incoming conveyor and assemble them onto work pieces carried by an outgoing conveyor with high precision.
  • Inspection and Quality Control – robot visually inspects and picks out defective products moving on a fast conveyor.
  • Fast Packaging – vision spots products spread out on moving conveyor and then the robot transfers them into packaging containers at high speed.
  • Fast Sorting– robot instantaneously picks and separates different types of parts passing through its vision domain.

Defense application

To reduce the risk of human life in battle fields is a major area of concern and research. Pick and place robotic arms seem to be perfect for performing tasks such as picking up harmful objects like bombs and diffusing them safely. Further they can be also used for surveillance.


Automated restaurants serving freshly cooked food are the new cool spots in  the west. Pick and place robotic arm are used here as a cook, performing tasks such as chopping and mixing ingredients. As a result the process becomes more efficient leading to more profits and less wastage.

Medical applications

These robots can be used in various surgical operations like in joint replacement operations, orthopedic and internal surgery operations. As a matter of fact they perform the operations with more precision and accuracy.

Robotic arm projects

  • Gesture controlled robotic arm
  • Voice controlled robotic arm
  • Pick N Place Robotic Arm and Movement Controlled by Android
  • Remote Controlled Pick & Place Robotic Vehicle
  • Color sensing robotic arm for sorting objects
  • Hydraulic powered robotic arm
  • Bionic hand prosthesis model
  • Scribing /writing robotic arm
  • Coffee brewing robot
  • Welding robotic arm

We have a range of courses for you where you can learn more about these cool projects. Also, gain hands-on experience of working with latest technology and build exciting projects with us.

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