Supply chain
Major robot brands introduce versatile models for Taiwan market
Chloe Liao, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

The just-concluded annual Taipei International Industrial Automation Exhibition saw a major gathering of industrial robot brands from around the world, showcasing a variety of robots able to make coffee, tie shoelaces, pack gifts and serve as casino dealers in addition to working at production lines.

The world's top-four robot makers ABB, KUKA, Yaskawa Denki and Fanuc were all present at the show. Many of the top-20 brands in the sector were among first-timers at the fair, including Seiko Epson, Omron, KHI and Denso from Japan, as well as Universal Robots, Staubli and Comau from Europe. Taiwan robot supply chain partners such as Hiwin Technologies, Toyo Automation, and Delta Electronics were also among exhibitors.

Market watchers said the robots are mainly designed to address the labor shortage issue and their development trend will therfore focus more on small loading capacity, collaborative operation and high precision.

In line with the trend, Taiwan's Solomon Technology debuted Meca500 ultracompact six-axis robot arm introduced from Canada startup Mecademic at the show. Built with precision machined aluminum and zero-backlash gearboxes, the Meca500 is now claimed to be the most precise six-axis robot arm, boasting a repeatability precision of 5-micron, a weight of 4.5kg and a payload of 0.5kg.

The miniature robot arm can be used to handle precision assembly, testing and inspection, and microprecision positioning at many industrial sectors including electronics, semiconductor, watchmaking, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Japan's KHI showcased its latest lightweight robot arms RS007L and RS007N, both with six-axis vertically articulated designs, suitable for assembly, material handling, and machine tending applications at an operating speed of nearly 40FPM, the highest for lightweight robots.

Seiko Epson displayed the industry's first robot integrating AI, 3D vision and force sensors, codenamed WorkSense W-01. The autonomous robot's two seven-axis arms can move like human arms, able to perform delicate assembly, transport, and other tasks that require human-like force control to avoid damaging objects.

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