Hoists, Robots or manipulators?

How to decide the degree of automation you can implement?

Automation already accounts for 1% of India’s GDP, and it is set to grow exponentially in the coming decade.

From around 14% today, automation is set to go up to 30% of the Indian industry in the next 5 years. Automation in production and material handling processes yields returns in terms of ROI as well as improved safety.

The only debate now, is what should be the degree of automation for your business?

The two key factors that impact the extent of automation at your facility are budget and scale of automation required. Bringing a tectonic shift in product quality and business scale of course entails automating the production line. However, many times, the scale and budget constrains might make it difficult to embrace full production automation. At such times, automating processes such as material handling could lead to significant boost in efficiency and savings.

Hoists, Robots or automotive manipulators?: Decide the degree of automation you can implement

Material handling can be automated to a desired degree to obtain a desired end result. There are a number of different options you can choose from to automate your material handling process, ranging from a simple hoist,  an industrial manipulator or advanced robot.

The nature and scale of your application decides which of the many automation options to choose

Not all options fit everywhere

Automation solutions such as robots, and manipulator devices are tailored for specific tasks. Robots are considered to be the best and the most advanced material handling solutions out there and rightly so. They can perform specific tasks with speed and accuracy, which makes them suitable for large scale operations.  However, many times, advanced robots may not offer exactly what your business needs, or the scale of your business could be smaller than what the robot is built to serve. Similarly, hoist uses are limited to moving the objects up or down, and cannot be adapted to changing needs of material handling. In such cases, you could choose an industrial manipulator device, which offers you a quite similar degree of movement to that of the robot.

What do robots and manipulators have to offer? 


Robots are built to resolve specific problems, and they lift heavy objects with speed and accuracy. While the initial investment in a robot is high, it will  perform repetitive tasks without errors at high scale.  This makes robots the best fit for large scale operations.

Their ability for detailed programming renders robots fit for smart material handling to undertake complex tasks and eliminate the possibility of human errors. Robotic material handling thus work best in environments which are hazardous to humans.

Industrial manipulators

Industrial manipulator devices have a similar freedom of movement in all directions like robots. They are built for easily lifting objects that may not be heavy, but  still have complex profiles and could be dangerous to lift manually, for example sharp-edged glass or metal sheets. The ability of manipulator devices to handle objects with complex profiles and their low cost means they can be used for a lower scale of operations.

While robots are built to remove human interference, automotive manipulators work to boost human capabilities in tasks where human action is still required. Industrial manipulators can be used to manipulate objects so that they fit into proper places. While robots rely on complete automation to improve safety, ergonomic manipulators ensure the same with their design and ease of use.


Robots, hoists  and industrial manipulator devices represent various degrees and scales of automation that you could choose from depending on the nature and scale of the task at hand. For example, while robots are best suited for assembling car bodies, tasks such as picking and placing objects on a testing bench or manipulating panels into their right place can only be performed with an industrial manipulator. A number of highly automated firms in India and abroad rely on industrial  manipulators from Fine Handling to automate pick and place jobs at their facilities. With 15+ years of experience in designing smart material handling solutions, we provide over 500 different solutions for your material handling needs.

To know more, get in touch.

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