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Scara robots combine motion control with machine automation

26 November, 2021

The UK motion controls developer Trio Motion Technology has launched a range of Scara robots that combine motion functions and machine automation in one package. The company says that the robots will cut development times and increase reliability for machine applications that require robotic integration.

The robots – Trio’s first – are designed to optimise productivity and control in applications such as pick-and-place, assembly and dispensing in industries including electronics manufacturing, packaging and materials-handling. There are four models ranging in size from the smallest which has a 400mm range and a 3kg maximum load capacity, to the largest with a 700mm range and a 6kg capacity.

They are designed to appeal to users with limited robot experience by providing easy-to-use application tools in a familiar automation development framework. The robots are said to achieve high cyclic throughputs and precision with high repeatability, making them ideal for assembly operations.

Each robot is powered by four Trio MX series servomotors controlled by individual Trio DX4 servodrives. The drives provide fast, precise motion performance with EtherCat update rates as low as 125us. The drives can handle 350% overloads in dynamic applications, and support multi-turn 23-bit absolute encoders for precision. Most of the control and I/O functions are performed in a separate controller, cutting the lifetime costs of the robots.

Since 2017 Trio has been owned by Estun Automation, which claims to be China’s biggest robot-maker with a 30% share of the Chinese market. The Trio robots are based on an existing Estun Scara design which has been optimised for its new role.

“The productivity and efficiency of applications such as pick-and-place are enhanced by Scara robots, so extending Trio’s automation portfolio with a range of high-performance integrated robots is advantageous to OEMs that build machines for a range of industries,” explains Trio Motion Technology’s president, Tom Alexander.

Trio president Tom Alexander with one of the new Scara robots: advantages for OEMs that build machines for a range of industries

“Integrating robot, motion and machine automation into a single controller enables faster development for the OEM,” he adds. “Crucially, it means reduced field downtime for their customers, giving machine users increased productivity. Minimising development and maintenance challenges, combined with using just one controller for all tasks, also means a lower cost machine.”

The new robots are controlled by Trio motion coordinators that can simultaneously control complete machines, instead of needing a separate controller for the machine and robot. Integrating robotic functions in a single machine controller avoids the challenge of hand-shaking and communication compatibility between a separate robot controls and PLCs. This speeds up development and reduces process issues in the application, meaning OEMs need fewer resources and end-users achieve higher productivity. The use of a single controller also cuts hardware costs and footprints, while simplifying commissioning and future production changes.

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