This design offers benefits in building desktop liquid handling systems for lab automation, where space is premium and cost control is paramount, and moving mass is relatively low; typically a pipetter or a microplate.
H gantries are becoming more common as designers try to find ways to reduce size, improve performance, and lower cost. Designing a system from scratch can be a problem, but custom systems are available and companies are developing standard products. Festo Corp. now has two versions in its standard product catalog for applications handling loads up to 3 kg, as well as a range of customizable gantries that handle loads up to 10 kg over a 1m x 2m area, bringing the technology into the hands of any engineering designer.
Delta robots, like this one, are ideal for fast pick-and-place applications. When combined with lightweight vacuum systems for holding parts, robot inertia is reduced to a minimum, maximizing cycle speed.
Delta, tripod, or spider robots are perhaps the best-known example of parallel kinematic automation designs in use today. Systems like the Festo EXCH use three axes of motion that all work simultaneously on the work load, rather than through a serial chain. This system, as well as similar products made by companies like Adept, Fanuc, and many others use three or four axes fastened to the workload via lightweight bars to move parts over three dimensions with very high speeds and accelerations. The parallel actuator design allows all three actuator drives to be static, minimizing inertia and simplifying wiring. They are used today in many pick-and-place applications in the medical manufacturing, packaging, and pharmaceutical industries.
— Sam Stoney is a medical industry segment specialist with Festo Corp.