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Modular Rotary Actuators Help Create Space-saving SCARA Systems

Modular Rotary Actuators Help Create Space-saving SCARA Systems

Pick and place systems bring speed and accuracy to automated assembly processes thanks to standard selective compliance assembly robot arms (SCARAs) that can accelerate in a circular motion. Other pick and place systems use Cartesian robots, which can move in multiple directions.

Despite their benefits, however, SCARAs and Cartesian robots may not be appropriate for every pick and place application. Often, these multi-axis robots may be too large or cost-prohibitive to implement. Or, they may not give system designers the flexibility they need. For example, some generic SCARA robots only offer 270 degrees of rotation.

A third option, based on rotary electric actuators, offers an attractive alternative. Our Rotac Plus rotary actuators feature a modular design and can be configured with our linear axes, SM Series linear slides and other products as part of a cost-effective and compact AW Mini SCARA pick and place system. The Rotac Plus actuator can provide a supporting base for the system, as shown in this video:

Occupying a small footprint, these rotary actuators feature exceptional rigidity for very accurate positioning — even in applications with heavy loads. They also have a simple and highly stable Kevlar-based transmission system with micrometer-level calibration for excellent positioning repeatability. Additional features include:

  • Versatility.
  • Wide temperature range (-30° to +100°C, belt version).
  • Wide holes for cables and connections.
  • Six available sizes: 48, 65, 85, 100, 130 and 200.

Configure a Mini SCARA System

When you implement Automationware components as part of an AW Mini SCARA system, you take advantage of a host of features and benefits:

  • Linear axes. Belt or screw-driven linear axes can be combined with other Automationware products to create unlimited configuration possibilities. Designed to support the movement of one or more robots on the work axis, our linear axes deliver an exceptional combination of speed, accuracy and productivity. They offer a maximum speed of up to 5 meters/second (belt) and 2 meters/second (screw), and positioning accuracy of ±0.05 millimeter (belt) and ±0.01 millimeter (screw).
  • SM Series slides. These modular sleds deliver high productivity and reliability over time, making them especially suitable for pick and place systems. The line includes a SCARA version, and the sliders can be configured for Cartesian, horizontal and vertical pick and place systems. The SM Series can be outfitted with grippers, cameras and other accessories.

Taken together, an Automationware Rotac Plus-based pick and place system can rotate beyond 360 degrees while saving space and delivering a better price-to-performance ratio versus that of a generic SCARA robot. It also provides greater flexibility to adjust parameters, such as angle and speed, when application needs change.

Rotac Plus rotary actuators, linear axes and SM sliders are all available from IKO, Automationware’s U.S. distribution partner. Visit, or contact IKO at for more information.

To see the AW Mini SCARA system Rotac rotary actuators in action, watch the video.

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