Maxon motors help a start-up to develop compact robot arm

Swiss high-precision drive systems manufacturer maxon Group has helped Mecademic - a start-up established by Jonathan Coulombe and Ilian Bonev in 2013 - to develop Meca500, a robot arm with six degrees of freedom and only half the size of a regular industrial robot.
Swiss high-precision drive systems manufacturer maxon Group has helped Mecademic - a start-up established by Jonathan Coulombe and Ilian Bonev in 2013 - to develop Meca500, a robot arm with six degrees of freedom and only half the size of a regular industrial robot. Meca500 weighs only five kilograms, with a base about the size of a palm. Nevertheless, it has a load capacity of 500 gm. The controller is integrated, which saves even more space and drastically simplifies operation. It only takes a 24 V power supply, a computer, and an Ethernet cable to program and operate the Meca500.
 
Ilian Bonev is proud of his development: “It was quite a challenge to fit all the components into such a small space.” The drives also needed to be sufficiently small, while still being powerful and compliant with high quality standards. “They simply have to be the best in terms of precision and long service life. After all, they must run for several years in continuous operation.” That’s why Mecademic decided to use brushless flat motors from maxon. These DC motors are renowned for their compact design and high torque. In the Meca500, they are combined with zero-backlash gearheads and high-resolution encoders for precise movements. The robot arm has a repeatability of 0.005 millimeters. That is twenty times less than the thickness of a sheet of printing paper.
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