One of the product lines proudly represented by Futura Automation is Macron Dynamics of Croydon, Pennsylvania.  Futura Automation works with our customers and Macron Dynamics to create unique Cartesian or linear robots closely matched to the customer application requirements for an optimal ROI.  On Tuesday, July 21 and Wednesday, July 29, Michael Giunta, VP Sales & Marketing, will discuss the range of custom robots available and components for creating custom precision material handling systems.  Brian McMorris, President of Futura Automation, will discuss system development including servo drives and motion control plus programming.

Q&A Agenda:
  • Introduction of Speaker and Backgrounds
  • Benefits of Linear Robotic Solutions
  • Application Examples: Medical Diagnostics Handling
  • Application Examples: Cartesian Gantry Cranes
  • Application Examples: Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)
  • Parallel robots for sorting and placing
  • Robot Transport Units – 7th Axis to extend Articulated Robots
  • System development support from Futura-Automation
  • Q+A
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Cartesian Robots or alternately, Linear Robots are a class that is designed of multiple linear actuators attached to each other so that the motion of one axis carries other secondary actuators.  Most common are two- or three- axis Cartesians.  They are referenced by their primary, secondary and tertiary axes: X, Y and Z which most often equate to Length, Width and Height of the robotic controlled work area.  For larger spans and heavier loads, the’ axes can be doubled up in some cases and then are referred to as X and X’ or Y and Y’.  In the cases where two parallel axes are required, they are mechanically coupled by a shaft so that one motor drives both actuators in synchronization.  The “prime” axes do not have independent controls.  It is also possible to add rotary or theta motions to the Cartesian system, most often on the Z axis.  This is useful for positioning the load precisely.  Guide pins can be used to achieve a high degree of position.  In some cases the X axis will be mounted vertically and will require some form of mechanical braking for safety reasons on loss of system power.

Benefits of Cartesians: Cartesian robots’ total cost of ownership is significantly less than standard SCARA and 6-axis robots due to standard motors and drives, pre-parameterized and low-cost control packages, online design tools, and economies of scale.  So now they are viable options for small to midsize manufacturers looking to automate storage-and-retrieval, pick-and-place for automated assembly, liquid-dispensing or part cleaning for medical and other markets, material handling including packaging, and machine-tending operations for CNC and molding equipment.

Actuator Specification

Drives and Motion Controller.  Futura Automation recommends, and can provide, a range of motion control solutions including motors, drives, PLCs and HMIs for controlling the Cartesian robot system.  F-A recommends Applied Motion Products “step-servos”, STXI and Kollmorgen servo motors and drives along with Weintek integrated motion controller and HMI packages using the CMT3xxx series with CoDeSys control.  This provides a huge range of control solutions and kinematics along with flexibility and most importantly, low-cost.

Can be specified with online tools. Online software takes some of the confusion out of how to leverage the mix-and-match modularity of Cartesian robots. It lets engineers plan linear motion for single or multiaxis automation by entering the mass to be moved and the required stroke. In the past, designers ordered Cartesian-robot subcomponents using individual part numbers from different vendors. Now, engineers can often order integrated robot modules — including rails, servodrives, mechanical elements, and controls — with one vendor part number.

Are safer. On legacy Cartesian robots, safety circuits connect to controls that introduce delays as they command the motor’s drive amplifier. Newer robots have intelligent servodrives instead, with safety circuits that accelerate response. These circuits also let Cartesian robots operate in reduced-torque mode, similar to the teach mode of SCARAs and six-axis robots. These modes let operators enter the robot’s safety cage and manually “teach” the robot coordinates to get a job done. To prevent injuries, robots in this mode shut down if it contacts the trainer.