Robot can 'touch its toes'

Paul Boughton
Mitsubishi Electric has added a new model to its robot line-up, designed to work in confined spaces and perform intricate arm movements.

The RV-2SDB robot uses innovations in design and construction that allow the arm to reach items right next to its base. This means the space required for the working cell can be minimised, an important consideration in many manufacturing and assemble environments. It also allows the robot to perform a greater range of movements and task than earlier designs. Both advantages are likely to lead to significant costs savings for users.

“The RV-2SDB uses an innovative geometry to allow exceptional agility even in limited spaces,” explains Jeff Whiting, a Mitsubishi engineer. “This means it needs only a small working envelope, which can be an important consideration when designing and laying out automated production plants.”

Key to the RV-2SDB’s agility is an arm design that even allows access to the area immediately surrounding the base, making the maximum use of the surrounding space. This is further enhanced by a 360 degree reach, meaning no parts of the surroundings are inaccessible.

Normally the A mounted on a floor or table standing base, but it can be adapted for ceiling mounting too. This option adds considerably to the design flexibility and allows production engineers to optimise space usage in crowd areas.

“A compact wrist design is another important feature of the RV-2SDB,” says Jeff. “Earlier designs of robots sometimes needed large and complex wrist joints to enable the movement profiles required. These could restrict movement, leading to increased space envelope requirements. The new slimline wrists design out this issue and allow a greater range of movements than previously.

“But while agility is important, it needs to be combined with performance. The RV-2SDB delivers on this requirement with axis performance that is up to 10% faster than previous designs.”

Load carrying capacity is up to 3kg in a ‘wrist down position) or 2kg in other wrist positions. Maximum combined speed of 4,400 mm/sec., giving fast cycle times and increased productivity. Despite this rapid cycling capability, the robot does not sacrifice positional repeatability, allowing precise manipulation of assemblies and work pieces down to +/- 0.02mm. So finally, the RV-2SDB delivers both dependable productivity and quality day after day.

One of the RV-2SDB designers’ key objectives was to allow for easy integration with a variety of other automation system components, such as PLCs and HMIs. To this end an Ethernet link to the robot controller comes as standard. Further, the robot’s standard SSCNET III interface allows an MR-J3-B servo axis to be controlled directly over a high performance, noise free optical link.

The RV-2SDB also benefits from a comprehensive suite of software tools to simplify the tasks of system design and validation while minimising engineering time. RT Toolbox 2 provides the main tools for programming the robot system, debugging and planning optimum cycle times for maximum productivity. MELFA-Works can take existing system design data from CAD software such as SolidWorks and use this to accurately simulate the operation of work cells and systems.

The RV-2SDB has six axes of movement, a reach of over 500mm, with a repeatability of 0.02mm, even under maximum 3kg load.

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