Robot cuts price of automating process

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Investment, Robot

A robot maker is offering processors a cheaper way to automate
their production lines in a small space.

Cost reduction is often cited as the major reason for investment in robotics - and also the biggest perceived barrier due to difficulties in calculating a good return, according to a recent survey.

Epson Robots claims its new Micro PowerDrive line, offers processors the same features as their larger robotic models, but with a reduced price.

The company also claimed that the Micro PowerDrive is the industry's smallest six-axis robot controller. It is a quarter of the size of previous Epson controllers, and can even be mounted inside a standard cabinet panel, saving factory floor space.

"The new Epson Micro PowerDrive gives users high performance robots at lower costs,"​ stated Michael Ferrara, the company's director. "We call it first class performance at a coach fare. The Micro PowerDrive controller with Epson Scara and Pro Six robots is tearing down barriers to applications that may have been cost prohibitive in the past. By providing users with high performance robots at value prices, more automation opportunities for new applications and new industries will be created."

The Micro PowerDrive uses Epson's PowerDrive servo technology that provides increased path control, faster accelleration and decelleration times, and overall motion capabilities in a compact machine.

The Micro PowerDrive has the ability to perform 16-task multitasking, project management, source level debugging, and other features.

A study by Frost & Sullivan this year found that the European robotics sector for materials handling earned revenue of US$762.3m in 2004 and is set to reach US$1.28 billion in 2012.

Cost reduction is often cited as the major reason for investment in robotics - and also the biggest perceived barrier due to difficulties in calculating a good return, the firm found in a survey.

Such a traditionally conservative industry anticipates that the investments will reduce labour costs and help them manage product line changes and fluctuating volumes, the consultancy said.

Most small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) cannot afford huge investments in flexible automation. Yet these are the very businesses that need the greatest flexibility to respond to consumers' changing demands quicker than their rivals, Frost & Sullivan stated.

In the short run, the success of robot manufacturers depends on their efforts to offer reliable and inexpensive robotic solutions to such SMEs, the consultant said in a forecast of the market.

A recent survey of UK processors found that the sector fails to exploit automation and robotics handling, mainly due to concerns about the costs, return on investment and a shortage of trained engineers. The industry survey set out to explore why - despite being the UK's largest manufacturing sector - the food industry invests comparatively little in automation compared to its counterparts in other industries.

Cost reduction was seen by the survey respondents as the major reason for investment - and also the biggest perceived barrier due to difficulties in calculating a good return.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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