ABB Introduces Latest SCARA Robot for High-precision Assembly Tasks

October 06, 2021 by Gunner Scott

What is a SCARA robot and how did ABB design this new robot with enhanced control capabilities?

What are SCARA Robots?

A SCARA robot is a subset of industrial robots with the acronym standing for selective compliance articulated robot arm. This is a very popular product used for small assembly applications, particularly pick and place electronics and material handling. Pick and place is a term that describes robotic scenarios where a robot will need to select a component from point A and move it to point B thousands to millions of times. Common examples include placing test tubes into racks and placing screens on cell phones. SCARA robots can be identified by a few key geometric features. 

A base component, used for securing the arm either to the floor or other surrounding infrastructure. Two arms, one stacked upon the other with an intersecting joint, providing articulation in the X-Y plane, and an extendable and retractable piston arm that moves along the Z-axis. 


ABB's latest SCARA robot. Image used courtesy of ABB


The tip of the piston arm can be equipped with a variety of end effectors (devices at the end of a robotic arm that is designed to interact with the environment) that allow the SCARA to be used in more applications. 

End effectors for SCARA robots tend to be variations of simple grippers, screwdrivers, and suction cups. While SCARA robots do not provide the pitch and yaw that more sophisticated multi-axis robots can accomplish, they are still widely used within their niche of pick and place assemblies. In recent years, industry leaders such as OMRONYaskawa, and Stäubli have released SCARA robots designed for industrial applications. ABB is the latest company to release a new SCARA robot


ABB's IRB 920T Product Line

ABB has launched their IRB 920T SCARA, with a multitude of enhanced features building upon their previous IRB 910SC robot. These features includes more speed, weight improvements, increased connections, and three configurations.


Video used courtesy of ABB


The IRB 920T is 14% faster than its predecessor, the IRB 910SC. The robot was designed with an optimized complete cycle time of 0.29 seconds, enabling the robot to produce more products every hour of operation. In addition to higher quality controls, OmniCORE C30 and C90XT, ABB gains speed over similar products with slimmer dimensions and internal cable routing. Slimmer dimensions and internal cable routing also means the IRB 910T is 5-10% lighter than its counterparts. 

The OminCore controller plays a significant role in energy savings, resulting in an increase in energy efficiency of 18% compared to the IRB 910SC. 

A robotic arm is only as good as its ability to interact with its surroundings. ABB now provides up to 20 I/O (input/output) end effectors that can be added to the tip of the piston arm, double the number of connections compared to the IRB 910SC. 

More connectors allow control engineers to create more sophisticated designs for a wide variety of applications. An extended stroke connection is included in the connectors, which may increase from the standard 180mm to 300mm. This applies to applications requiring larger vertical reach and nine air hoses options for lightweight to heavy pneumatic applications that require suction cups.


Three New Configurations

The IRB 920T series can be implemented in three configurations by altering the robot's reach. The standard reach of the IRB 920T is 0.45m, but it can be retooled to 0.55m and 0.65m, increasing the work envelope of the arm. 


The different sizes that ABB offers for their latest line of SCARA robots. Image used courtesy of ABB


Each configuration offers the same ±150° working range for the first arm and ±145° working range for the second arm. This gives the arm almost a perfect 360° movement range without losing speed or payload capacity (6kg) based on configuration. Control engineers can design their robotic cells without checking for a reduction in specs based on configuration, speeding up the design, and implementation process.

ABB hopes to target the electronics and general industry markets, focusing on material handling, loading, and unloading, assembly, and pick place applications. SCARA robots are a suitable option for lightweight (<6kg) assembly systems, and the new ABB IRB 920T hopes to lead the industry in multiple metrics. 

What applications could the IRB 920T perform in your company? How do you use SCARA robots? Let us know in the comments below.