ABB Robotics reports it has developed a hybrid system that combines articulated robot automation with a linear gantry: the new IRB 6620LX is a 5-axis overhead robot arm mounted on a linear axis, that provides improved flexibility, faster cycle times and an extended working range for various industrial applications.

With a 150kg (330 lbs) payload and large, scalable workspace, the IRB 6620LX offers greater versatility and cost effectiveness compared to customized linear handling systems. The linear axis can support up to two robots, and provides the ability to serve several stations or machines simultaneously or in programmed coordination, resulting in high productivity and machine utilization. ABB says the ability of the system to perform value-added processing tasks in addition to “basic” material handling increases the productivity of the robot(s), and reduces the overall capital investment.

To merge the articulated and linear technology ABB removed the first rotational axis from the robotic arm, so it can be mounted either upside down or sideways on the linear axis. The linear gantry acts as the first axis of the robot, providing the same agility as a standard 6-axis robot. The linear axis can range in height from 2.5 to 4 m (8 to 13 ft) and in length from 1.8 to 33 m (6 to 108 ft), and saves floor space by elevating the robot(s) over the work area. This inherent flexibility allows the system to be adjusted to serve different applications, and enables quick and easy changeovers for improved production uptime.

“The new IRB 6620LX will make it possible to access and manipulate work pieces in the tightest work spaces,” explained Joe Campbell, v.p. of sales and marketing, ABB Robotics, North America. “The system will foster the development of improved logistics and production concepts while providing tremendous cost savings and ROI opportunities.”

The new robot is available with the powerful ABB IRC5 robot controller.

The IRB 6620LX’s five-axis robot arm is available with ABB’s proprietary Foundry Plus 2 protection, which includes IP67 for the entire arm. The linear gantry axis features IP66 protection as standard. The IRB 6620LX is suited for applications such as powertrain assembly, heavy arc welding, grinding, heavy process applications, and packing and palletizing.