Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

ABB launches its smallest industrial robot

ABB has launched its smallest ever industrial robot, offering new possibilities for faster, more flexible and high-quality production of wearable smart devices.

With its compact size, class-leading payload and unrivaled accuracy, the new IRB 1010 offers electronics manufacturers the opportunity to increase their production of devices including smart watches, earphones, sensors, and health trackers through automation.

Rui Liang, managing director of ABB Robotics’ electronics business line, says: “The market for wearable smart devices is accelerating rapidly, with projections estimating double digit growth between 2022 and 2028.

“To meet this growth, companies are demanding compact robotic solutions that are suited to narrow production spaces in electronics manufacturing lines and that can accurately handle the small components used in wearable devices.

“As the most accurate robot in its class for 1.5kg payloads, our IRB 1010 meets these demands, enabling companies to maximize output and productivity while maintaining the highest levels of product quality.”

The IRB 1010 is designed to suit the narrow spaces and special purpose machines typical of electronics production environments. With a reach of 370 mm and a footprint of 135 mm by 250 mm, the IRB 1010 is 30 percent smaller than ABB’s current smallest robot, the IRB 120.

These compact dimensions increase the number of cells that can be fitted into production spaces, enabling manufacturers to boost output through higher density factory layouts.

Capable of handling loads up to 1.5 kg, the IRB 1010 has the highest payload in its class, with the ability to lift up to three times more weight than comparable robots.

This increased payload capacity – coupled with a larger diameter air hose that provides added power for vacuum suction – enables simultaneous handling of multiple objects, allowing more objects to be processed per hour.

It also opens opportunities for new applications including film peeling, material handling, assembly, gluing and inspection.

Productivity is further enhanced by the inclusion of six braking systems, which allow the robot arm to remain in its position even when stopped.

By eliminating the time needed for the robot to recover its position after a stop or pause, production can be resumed more quickly, enabling the IRB 1010 to do more in less time than other robots in its class.

Key to the IRB 1010’s high accuracy is ABB’s OmniCore E10 controller, which offers class-leading position and path repeatability of 0.01 mm.

With its slimline design, the controller is well suited to small part assembly in applications where production cell sizes need to be minimized. The controller offers the flexibility to meet changing requirements, with built-in digital connectivity and over 1000 additional functions enabling easy scalability.

Consuming up to 20 percent less energy compared to ABB’s previous IRC5C controllers, the OmniCore E10 also enables manufacturers to cut their energy costs and improve energy efficiency.

Programming the IRB 1010 is made simple with ABB’s Robot Control Mate. Available as an add-in to ABB’s RobotStudio programming software, Robot Control Mate enables users to move, teach and calibrate the IRB 1010 from their computer or mobile tablets without the need for programming skills.

This simple programming, together with the small size of the IRB 1010, also opens new possibilities for educational applications. The IRB 1010’s compact design makes it suitable for installation on classroom desktops, while its ease-of-use enables both teachers and students to quickly master the skills needed for programming and operation.

The addition of the IRB 1010 complements ABB’s comprehensive range of articulated industrial robots, with includes a full range of small, medium, and large options, including a growing family of collaborative robots that can be safely deployed alongside workers.

Mecademic upgrades its tiny robot

Mecademic, the maker of another tiny industrial robot – possibly the first of its kind – says it has upgraded its Meca500-R3 model to Meca500-R4.

Mecademic says the key upgrades include:

  • Once the robot is activated, homing only needs to be done once during the time the controller is powered on.
  • An ESTOP event no longer shuts down the controller.
  • Power supply safety inputs are now protected and compatible with 5V to 24V power sources without adding any resistors.
  • Improved robot speed under certain conditions.

Deliveries are expected to start by the end of October, according to Mecademic.

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