Universal Robot Topic - How to pick the right robot for your application!

May 15, 2024 by
Universal Robot Topic - How to pick the right robot for your application!
Kurtin Robotics, Dillan Kurtin

Hi! I’m Dillan, an automation engineer at Kurtin Robotics Company. If you’re looking to add robots to help with your CNC machines, you might be wondering which Universal Robots model is best for you. Universal Robots offers several models: UR3e, UR5e, UR10e, and UR20e. Let’s break down each one to help you decide which is the right fit for your needs.

Understanding Your Needs

Before diving into the details of each model, it’s important to understand what you need for your application. In this example lets use CNC machine tending. Consider these factors:

  • Payload: How much weight will the robot need to handle? Remember to account for the weight of the gripper, which typically takes up about half of the robot’s payload capacity. This means the actual weight of the parts will be roughly half of the robot's total payload.
  • Reach: How far does the robot need to reach to load and unload your CNC machine? Make sure to include the reach needed for both the infeed and outfeed of the parts.

UR3e: Small Stuff and Tight Jobs

The UR3e is the smallest and most lightweight robot in the Universal Robots family. It has a payload capacity of 3 kg (about 6.6 lbs) and a reach of 500 mm (about 19.7 inches). This makes it perfect for small CNC machines or applications where space is limited. Keep in mind that the gripper will take up about 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) of the payload capacity, so the robot can handle parts up to 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs).

Example: A manufacturer would use the UR3e to assemble small parts on a larger automation assembly cell. 

UR5e: The Versatile Mid-Range Option

The UR5e offers a balance between payload and reach, with a payload capacity of 5 kg (about 11 lbs) and a reach of 850 mm (about 33.5 inches). It’s a versatile option that can handle a wide range of CNC machine tending tasks. With the gripper accounting for around 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs), the UR5 can handle parts up to 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs).

Example: An specialty seals manufacturer employs the UR5 to automate the handling of plastic lathe parts, improving efficiency in their mid-sized CNC operations.

UR10e: The Versatile Upper-Range Option

The UR10e is designed for heavier tasks, with a payload capacity of 10 kg (about 22 lbs) and a reach of 1300 mm (about 51.2 inches). It’s ideal for larger CNC machines and applications that require handling heavier parts. With the gripper using about 5 kg (11 lbs) of the payload, the UR10 can handle parts up to 5 kg (11 lbs). As a good rule of thumb, you can choose the UR10e over the UR5e if you are unsure that the UR5e will have acceptable weight and reach. This is the robot that can handle most tasks. 

Example: A car parts factory uses the UR10e to load and unload steel engine components. 

UR20e: The Powerhouse

The UR20e is the latest and most powerful model, boasting a payload capacity of 20 kg (about 44 lbs) and an impressive reach of 1750 mm (about 68.9 inches). It’s perfect for the most demanding CNC machine tending applications. Considering the gripper will take up around 10 kg (22 lbs) of the payload, the UR20 can handle parts up to 10 kg (22 lbs).

Example: An parts company utilizes the UR20 to palletize heavy fracking barrels, ensuring both the payload and reach requirements of the process.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right Universal Robots model for your CNC machine tending application depends on your specific needs. Always remember to account for the weight of the gripper when thinking about payload, and make sure the reach includes the distance needed for both infeed and outfeed of the parts. At Kurtin Robotics Company, we’re here to help you find the best solution for your automation needs. If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out to us!