The trend in conventional assembly and handling solutions is moving from robots to energy-efficient and cost-optimised systems. And no wonder: conventional robot solutions are too large-scale for many applications and frequently offer more functions and degrees of freedom than are actually required. Energy-efficient and cost-optimised 2D and 3D systems – whether in a technology mix with electrical and pneumatic components or components that are purely pneumatic, purely electrical – can be adapted more easily and efficiently to linear and rotational applications. Optimisations in mechanical systems, procurement, programming and installation space can be exploited more effectively.
SCARAs are generally faster and cleaner than comparable Cartesian robot systems. Their single pedestal mount requires a small footprint and provides an easy, unhindered form of mounting. On the other hand, SCARAs can be more expensive than comparable Cartesian systems and the controlling software requires inverse kinematics for linear interpolated moves. This software typically comes with the SCARA though and is usually transparent to the end-user.
Most SCARA robots are based on serial architectures, which means that the first motor should carry all other motors. There also exists a so-called double-arm SCARA robot architecture, in which two of the motors are fixed at the base. The first such robot was commercialized by Mitsubishi Electric. Another example of a dual-arm SCARA robot is Mecademic's DexTAR educational robot.