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What are point-to-point controlled robots actually good for? Only pick and place tasks? Since continuous path controlled manipulators can do anything a p2p robot can do, plus tasks that require a "steady hand" (painting, welding, etc.), what is the point of p2p controlled robots? Are there any other applications you can trust it with?

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Any task, where the task itself is not dependent on a specific trajectory or motion profile uses (and should use) point to point motions. Furthermore, tasks where only a portion of the task is reliant on a specific path should use point to point motions to connect these. Furthermore, all major industrial robot vendors do not exclusively offer point to point controllers, but these point to point motion commands are part of the programming language, alongside linear motions, circular motions or spline motions.

Tasks where p2p is used are pick and place, spot welding where only the last few millimetres of the path should have a defined profile (final positioning the electrodes before clamping them), machine tending tasks, even for spray painting, the motions which are not actually needed for painting are most likely ptp.

A straight line, a LIN path is the shortest in Cartesian space between two points. However, the robot, from a motion amplitude and energy consumption perspective does not move in Cartesian space, but in joint space. We can simplify a bit, and call the p2p motion the equivalent of the straight line in joint space. It is not quite that, but almost. So if you want to travel minimum distance between two points your best option is p2p motion.

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