Cartesian robots move according to Cartesian coordinate geometry in one-, two-, or three-dimensional space. These robots move along one to three linear axes that intersect at the point of origin at 90° angles. The x-axis allows the robot to move back and forth, the y-axis allows side-to-side movement, and on the z-axis, the robot moves up and down. Easily programmable and controllable, Cartesian robots move to a particular point in space according to the coordinates along the three axes, lending them to a wide variety of industrial applications.

Cartesian vs. Gantry Robots

Cartesian robots are stages attached in an x-, y-, and z-axis configuration using joining brackets. Based on the controller’s instructions, the actuators slide linearly along each axis according to the given Cartesian coordinates. Some Cartesian robots have only one linear actuator per axis and the axis’ load is only supported on one end, or cantilevered, by the axis below it. Having the point of interest and work area offset from the lower axis will allow for easier part removal, reduce the amount of additional structure required, and lower costs due to the consolidation of axes.

Gantry robots are a type of Cartesian robot that is dual driven by two x-axes acting as a base for the robot with a y-axis running between them as a single beam. This means the load is both supported and driven by the two x-axes allowing for an increase in load capacities and a longer stage length with reduced deflection due to the static loads, inertial loads, and external loads.

Benefits of Cartesian Robotics

Cartesian robots have some key advantages, including:

  • Cost-efficiency. Cartesian robots are a simplistic design that uses standard components.
  • Construction. These robots are compact in size but scaleable to fit their application, and they can function with just about any linear actuator used with options for drive mechanisms.
  • Movement. With three or more axes of virtually any length, these robots have straight-line, rapid acceleration and overall movement capabilities.
  • Precision. Their robotic tasks are highly repeatable and accurate.
  • Versatility. Cartesian robots are highly adaptable, customizable, and reconfigurable.
  • Strength. These dependable robots can carry anything from light to heavy loads, as well as hanging loads, for longer distances.
  • Stability. Cartesian robots hold up against vibrations and deflection.

Cartesian Robot Applications

Robotic automation can make just about any manufacturing plant or warehouse more efficient and cost-effective. In addition, using Cartesian robots can keep workers safe by handling tasks that may cause safety risks. Cartesian robots can fill anything from general automation roles to more complex ones within a wide range of industries:


  • Assembly line transfer
  • CNC machining
  • Component assembling
  • Driving and fastening screws
  • Precision welding
  • Printing and plotting
  • Product inspecting and testing
  • Waterjet or laser cutting


  • Camera positioning and scanning
  • Cutting and scribing packaging
  • Feeding and removing packaging on a line
  • Incorporating into lifts and elevators
  • Packaging, palletizing, stacking, and unitizing
  • Sorting, indexing, and labeling
  • Unit loading or unloading

Pharmaceutical & Medical

  • Dispensing materials
  • Filling containers
  • Processing lab samples

HIWIN can provide Cartesian robots using a variety of readily available products. The selection of the actuators is highly dependent on the application and all specifications associated with it. Some items that could affect the chosen cartesian type are:

  • Payload weight and offset
  • Operating temperature
  • Speed and acceleration
  • Stroke

When considering a Cartesian robot’s size for a given application, not only do you need to calculate the weight of the total load, but also the weight on each axis of the robot. If you do not factor in the weight of each axis, this can put a strain on the motor. This is especially true of cantilevered Cartesian robots where the axes are only supported on one end. If a heavy load is out on the edge unsupported, this can harm the motor as well, shortening its lifetime. Ultimately, it is important to keep the weight on the z-axis light, and then carefully calculate the weights for the other axes to determine the proper load.

Industrial Robotics at HIWIN Corporation

Since 1989, HIWIN Corporation has applied innovative technology to products such as motors, positioning measurement systems, gearing systems, servo drives, controllers, and industrial robotics. In our industrial robotics product line, we offer articulated, SCARA, Delta, and Cartesian robots. Our factories maintain ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications to ensure we are offering consistent quality to our customers.

Contact us for more information about a Cartesian robot solution for your project or to request a quote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *