Mitsubishi Electric Announces Exciting Automation Updates

August 18, 2023 by Seth Price

Mitsubishi Electric continues to make advancements in the automation space, with new robots and controllers released recently, securing Mitsubishi as a leader in the future of industrial technology.

Mitsubishi Electric (OTRMKTS: MIELY) has announced that several new automation products are available, including a bin-picking robot with some unique capabilities and a servo amplifier geared towards improving safety and integrating safety signals from multiple sources.


3D Bin Picking Robot

At PACK Expo in Las Vegas in September 2023, Mitsubishi Electric will demonstrate its newest 3D bin-picking robotic solution. This robot is capable of working in tandem with two other robots in a small space, avoiding collisions and planning movement paths. The end result is the combined efforts of Mitsubishi Electric’s robots, Realtime Robotics’ collision avoidance algorithms, and SICK’s machine vision cameras and systems.


3D bin picking robots

Three-robot cell, as seen through the ‘eyes’ of the automation software. Image used courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric


The three-robot cell that will be demonstrated uses machine vision to locate important pieces, and components. The other two robots process the data and perform picking and packing operations.

If one robot is fast, three robots provide the potential to be many times faster, provided that robust solutions are in place to ensure that the robots do not collide while constructing or manipulating the workpiece.


MELSERVO J5 Servo Amplifiers

The MELSERVO J5 is designed to integrate multiple safety devices, such as emergency stop switches, light curtains, break-beam sensors, assembly line pull cords, and others together to ensure that systems stop when there is a potential safety incident. They use FailSafe over EtherCAT (FSoE) to connect devices and communicate both dangerous conditions and control servo motors to put the system in a safe state. FSoE transmits safety information over the same cabling as regular data signals, but ensures that safety data is treated with the highest priority with redundancy as needed. Even though the data is transmitted through the same cable, it is kept separate to yield the fastest and most reliable response.

At first glance, the concept of a servo amplifier can be a bit misleading. These servo amplifiers are sized such that they can absorb the energy from moving assemblies quickly to stop conveyors and drives of all sorts. Consider a moving assembly line, hauling ore out of an underground mine towards an elevator shaft. If a miner falls onto the belt, they can pull one of the emergency stop cords that run along the conveyor. Once activated, all of that kinetic energy of the belt, the miner, and the ore must quickly be converted into heat as the system brakes. With servo “amplifiers”, the small control signal and an extra power supply are used to stop the system as fast as possible.


New servo drives

MELSERVO J5 Servo Amplifiers in different sizes. Image used courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric


Automation Advancements for Modern Industry

Mitsubishi Electric has long been a leader in automation equipment, and these two products serve to underline the company’s intent to improve the future of technology. The 3D picking robot stands to drastically speed up picking and packaging operations in a safe and efficient manner, and will be a boost to any industry interested in improving the back end of their manufacturing outfit. The MELSEVO J5 is a fast way to integrate safety systems, making them foolproof and reliable along automation lines.