Material handling robots

The world wasn’t prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. A year ago, nobody could’ve predicted the strict measures of social distancing and reduced contact that are part of this “new normal” – in an effort to curb the spread of infection.


While industries have been forced to implement even more stringent hygiene standards and practices for operations, there’s one variable that’s impossible to truly prepare for: the human element. All it takes is a single lapse in judgement and the results could be catastrophic for any organisation. Look at some of the high-profile examples in the essential services industry, where hospitals have had to temporarily shut their doors because a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.


Different times require a different approach. Fortunately, the world of industrial robotics has always looked to the future – specifically the art of how to load and unload as well as move objects without the need for “human touch”. By automating processes, material handling robots use appropriate end-of-arm tooling to transport and move objects from one point to another.


Let’s see how material robots are used in palletising as an example.

There are still many manufacturing plants and factories where human workers are responsible for the packing and loading of boxes onto pallets for shipment or storage. It’s a strenuous task that could lead to workers being injured, as well as damage to factory equipment and goods.


Thinking about the current global pandemic situation, it also means that many hands touch the same surfaces, which contributes to the spread of COVID-19. This means that operations will grind to a halt as your staff will need to be tested and factories deep cleaned. The imposed lockdown has badly hurt many businesses and those that have survived might not be in a position to survive further closures.


By introducing material handling robots to your operations, you cure many of those potential headaches, while adding the following benefits to the production line:

Increased speed and performance. The proof isn’t only in the pudding; it’s in the actual data. Robots are faster than their human counterparts, with greater outputs and tangible results. They were designed to execute functions in the quickest time and ensure the deliverables are met.

Highly efficient and precise. While speed is welcome, it’s equally important to consider efficiency and precision. Fortunately, robots are designed for speed, precision and process reliability. When handling smaller parts, such as in smartphone assembly for instance, it’s critical that it’s done with care and accuracy, while also being cognisant of speed. Only robots are able to tick all the necessary boxes here. Similarly, larger robots are capable of handling larger items up to hundreds of kilograms with the same accuracy.

Freeing up of floor space. As companies require increased output, this usually calls for more floor space, which is often difficult to obtain. This means that factories must optimise the usage of their floor space. Thankfully, material handling robots are capable of operating in the tightest spaces. With a vast range of YASKAWA robots, there are models which are flexible enough to be installed wherever required – whether it be a table top, floor, ceiling, or wall.

Integration. Robots can support a wide variety of communication protocols as well as digital signals, which allows them to be integrated into existing areas and production lines. YASKAWA also provides turnkey solutions that can be designed with your specific requirements in mind.

Easy maintenance. Newer robots are designed with fewer parts and cables, allowing for any possible faults to be traced and identified quicker. This also means reduced downtime.



As a trusted partner to many organisations and industries throughout the years, YASKAWA Motoman has become a worldwide leader in industrial robotics. Featuring a wide range of flexible robotic solutions, our specialised software and tooling enable your business to customise your process for speed, safety, accuracy and maximum productivity. In addition, we provide the necessary training and support to ensure you’re equipped with right knowledge and skills.

If you’d like to find out more about material handling robots for your business, please contact us for further info.