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Scara robots are ‘first’ with EtherCat and condition monitoring

05 July, 2018

Omron has announced a new generation of Scara robots which, it claims, are the first with a built-in condition monitoring and the ability to indicate when they need attention. It also says that they are the first with built-in EtherCat controls and communications, allowing them to synchronise their operation with other automation devices to perform fast, accurate assembly, insertion and mounting operations with high throughputs.

The i4 robots, which made their debut at the recent Automatica exhibition in Germany, have a light ring embedded into their base that indicates the status of the robot and warns operators of any actions that are required. Omron describes the colour-coded light ring as the world’s first illuminated robot “health” indicator, informing users of its current status and avoiding the need for manual checks and maintenance plans.

The robots, due to go on sale in early 2019, will be able to carry up to 15kg (three times more than their predecessors) and will available initially in three versions with arm reaches of 650, 750 and 850mm. Smaller versions with reaches of 350, 450 and 550mm will follow later. There will be a choice of two different Z-axis stroke lengths – 210 or 410mm.

The range will include models with IP65 protection, and specialised versions for use in clean rooms and electrostatic discharge environments, as well as versions using H1 grease.

Ring of confidence: a colour-coded light ring built into the base of Omron's new i4 Scara robots will indicate their current status and when they need attention

Omron says that the new robots will save space during installation, and be easier to integrate into existing production lines.

The robots’ controls are built into their base, reducing their footprint and wiring, and simplifying installation. The built-in EtherCat connection will allow the robots to synchronise their operation with servodrives, vision sensors and external controllers, allowing complex assembly tasks that Omron says would not have been possible before. New interactive software will make it easier to program and use the robots.

•  Omron is going start phasing out the Adept name as it introduces new models into its range of robots. The Japanese company acquired the US-based robot-maker Adept Technologies for $200m in 2015.

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