Meca500 Small Industrial Robot Arm
Meca500 from @Mecademic now has absolute encoders, no mechanical limits on joint 6, faster joint velocities, safety module with integrated power supply. #robots #robotics #automatica2018 pic.twitter.com/OXzjUhhnXt
— The Robot Report (@therobotreport) June 21, 2018
Our first glimpse of Mecademic’s Meca500 small industrial robot arm came in 2014. The robot officially launched in mid-2016, and the Montreal-based company launched an upgraded version of the 6-axis arm at Automatica.
The major upgrade is the absolute encoders that allow the Meca500 to remember its position when it’s powered down or has an outage. The Meca500 also now has faster joint velocities, unlimited rotation on joint 6, and a safety module with an integrated power supply. The rest of the $15,000 robot remains the same, including the embedded controller in the base and the lack of a proprietary robot programming language, which is designed to make the robot easier to use.
The precision, which is co-founder Ilian Bonev’s specialty, is incredible. The Meca500 has a repeatability of 0.005 mm and a path accuracy better than 0.1 mm. Bonev credits this to the fact Mecademic makes many of the Meca500’s parts in-house. It buys the motors and drives from third-party companies, but that’s about it, according to Bonev.
Mecademic has sold about 200 Meca500s to date, but it expects to sell hundreds more in 2018. Primary applications, to date, include inspection and pick and place. Mecademic is seeing increased competition from ABB, Denso and Yaskawa, which all showed competitive products at Automatica. Bonev said competition is good because companies will start making tool changers and grippers, for example, specifically for smaller robots.