How to Choose the Right Industrial Manipulator

Choosing the right materials handling equipment for your application is an important decision. Apart from your time and the considerable investment you will make, it is imperative that your handling solution’ boosts productivity, efficiency, and safety. 

An industrial manipulator offers a solution to many handling problems. It is one of the most reliable and versatile choices for lifting and manipulating products and is suitable for a wide range of applications.

To help you choose the right industrial manipulator for your requirements, Handling Concepts recommends you consider the following three criteria. 

1. The weight of the product you need to move

The load is the most important factor when making your decision. Your supplier will indicate what load the industrial manipulator can handle. This is known as the safe working load.

Some manipulators can lift light loads like this pneumatic rope balancer which has a safe working load of 50kg, while others can carry several hundreds of kilograms, up to 1.5 tonnes. It is essential that you select a manipulator capable of handling the load you require it to lift.

2. Your manipulator’s power supply

There are four types of power supply available for industrial manipulators:


You may already have an air supply available in your factory, which would make a pneumatic manipulator a good choice. They are often used in ATEX environments as they limit the risk of explosion and fire. However, load capacity can be an issue.


Hydraulic manipulators can handle the largest load capacity of all the industrial manipulators. However, they are slower and less accurate to use, so are recommended if a large safe working load is needed.


If you are looking for better ergonomics and greater precision of movement, electric manipulators are ideal. With this power source already available to you, they are a cost-effective choice. However, if you are planning to use an industrial manipulator in an ATEX environment, you should note electric manipulators are prohibited.


Manual manipulators are a cost-effective choice. They offer fluid movement and accurate positioning. However, as they are manually operated, they are limited in speed and load capacity. Manual manipulators will improve worker safety, but the compromise is production speeds

3. The Manipulator’s configuration, and your working environment

Industrial manipulators are available in different configurations. This enables them to adapt to different working environments. It is important that you are familiar with these configurations before making your decision.


If you have adequate floor space and can work within a small area, a column-mounted manipulator offers stability and easy integration with other factory machinery. However, this manipulator is fixed to the ground so cannot be moved. This could cause problems if you need to use the required floor space.


Using the overhead space available to you can be a smart move when floor space is constrained, and a hanging industrial manipulator offers you a handling solution that makes best use of space. These industrial manipulators are again fixed in place, so do not provide any additional movement.

Overhead Rail-Mounted

Many of Handling Concepts’ customers opt for an overhead rail-mounted manipulator. They are fixed to a moving cart that travels along a rail, enabling the manipulator to travel with it. They are more flexible than the above configurations, but they are far more expensive.

Should you choose a custom industrial manipulator or one that is ready to use?

Finding a solution that works exactly how you require is important for the safety of your workers, your production efficiency, and the quality of your final product. This presents you with two choices:

A) Buy a ready-to-use industrial manipulator

Ready-to-use industrial manipulators are pre-made solutions you can buy by simply clicking ‘Order Now’. They offer a cost-effective option, as they are less expensive and easier to integrate than their custom-built counterparts. However, the solution is inflexible, and may not be suitable for your application. This is a slower option and may require more user intervention to complete the task.

B) Work with a materials handling supplier to design your own

This is a more bespoke solution, but will provide you with a tailored solution, resulting in an invaluable asset for your business. Custom industrial manipulators can operate exactly how you need them to so that you can create a safer working environment for your employees and meet your production needs perfectly. With a machine that removes the burden of your operators manually intervening, you can boost production speed and efficiency.

Handling Concepts has been a provider of industrial manipulators for businesses across the globe for over 25 years. You can rely on an expert team of engineers to deliver the best solution for your handling needs. From traditional pneumatic manipulators to high-spec lift and rotate columns, your lifting needs will be solved with materials handling equipment at the forefront of safety and efficiency.

Contact Handling Concepts today to discuss your industrial manipulator requirements.

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