It is difficult to keep up in the new and rapidly evolving world of micro-automation. Manufacturers, machine builders, and integrators alike are increasingly searching for innovative solutions to automate the handling of delicate small parts, but this is no simple task. To address this, we hosted a webinar presenting the challenges of industrial robotics for micro-applications by introducing the market to the smallest, most compact, and precise SCARA robot: the MicroDASH-MCS500.
Invited to speak as part of our panel were Stanislav Gleizer (our Director of Applications and Support), and three experts who shared their firsthand experiences with the MCS500 SCARA robot, having been part of our early access program. These include Maxence Leveziel (R&D Engineer at Percipio Robotics), Fabrizio Boriero (CEO of Nimbo SRL), and Rob Seymour (CEO of SEYMOUR Advanced Technologies).
Here are some of the key takeaways from the panel discussion.
For smooth integration, learn all there is to know about micro-automation
When integrating micro-automation systems, learning everything about the new world you are working in is crucial. When the parts you are working with are below one millimeter in size, gravity is no longer the predominant force. Using components at this size leads to different challenges, like components sticking together.
In addition to size, tolerance is another important factor to consider, especially when dealing with small parts that need placement in delicate spaces. The challenge lies in the small scale and the precision required for placement and alignment. There is a lot to learn, and saving time moving these parts through the use of small and precise robots can be a significant benefit.
Consider using robots over a custom fixed automation solution
Not every application mandates the use of a robot. Nevertheless, there are considerable benefits to incorporating robots like the Meca500 and the SCARA robot into an overall portfolio, even if the application doesn’t demand four or six axes. Many customers, particularly those requiring only the basic 3-axis XYZ functionality, opt for the Meca500 robot in their applications due to the convenience of quickly sourcing the robot with short lead times and the familiarity of operating it in various applications.
In some instances, this approach significantly reduces the amount of required mechanical engineering. While the SCARA robot might be marginally pricier than sourcing individual axes and managing controls, the time saved on engineering setup can often outweigh the additional cost, especially for micro-automation applications demanding precision and delicate handling. Leveraging robots like those offered by Mecademic ensures the inherent quality of Mecademic products. Even when used only for minor tasks, opting for this comprehensive solution significantly reduces the likelihood of encountering mechanical issues and simplifies maintenance. Therefore, investing in a robot with more features than is strictly necessary can be justified by the efficiencies gained in various applications.
When designing a machine, evaluate the financial value of space
When designing a machine, it is important to consider the financial value of space, especially given the premium on factory space. Clean rooms, particularly in lab environments, can be very expensive, making small robots, like the MCS500 — the smallest and most compact SCARA robot arm in the world — more financially feasible in such spaces. The advantage of smaller robots can be seen in production lines, where multiple robots and their components come into play. Larger robots involve cumbersome logistics and adapting machines for their size. In contrast, the Mecademic approach prioritizes adapting robots to the available space.
Optimizing space consumption can even be worth millions. For example, in the automotive industry, it is common to see projects where production is cyclical, and companies build factories with respect to current demand. However, unexpected demand surges can occur. The capability to maintain equivalent production levels in a confined space, eliminating the need for constructing a new facility, can yield huge savings for a company.
Consider software-agnostic robots for your next automation project
Integrators don’t just program robots; they must also ensure seamless functionality within diverse and often heterogeneous environments. Dealing with varied brands, fieldbus protocols, and communication protocols can be a daunting task for integrators. This is precisely why opting for a software-agnostic robot like the MCS500, compatible with any PLC and programming language, can be a significant advantage, cutting down deployment time for clients
“With Mecademic robots, it’s the robot that adapts to us, not the other way around.” – Maxence Leveziel, Percipio Robotics.
By participating in our early access program, our panelists exemplified the flexibility of using a software-agnostic robot by each privileging three different ways of working with the MCS500 SCARA robot: one Allen Bradley, one Beckhoff, and one TCP/IP on a PC system. If you’re struggling with integration hassles, consider turning to software-agnostic robots.
To Wrap Up
Our panelists provided many useful insights when it comes to overcoming automation challenges. Notably, they highlighted the importance of evaluating the cost of space, gaining specialized knowledge in micro-automation, and the advantages of software-agnostic robots for integration. As we navigate the evolving landscape of micro-automation, these key takeaways pave the way for more efficient, cost-effective, and adaptable solutions.
To hear everything our expert panelists had to say, watch the full webinar recording here: