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ABB Introduces Its Largest Industrial Robot Ever

Elizabeth Montalbano

December 1, 2015

3 Min Read
ABB Introduces Its Largest Industrial Robot Ever

ABB has introduced its biggest industrial robot ever to meet market demand for a high-payload unit with a lower total cost of ownership that still works at high performance, the company said.

The IRB 8700 has a reach of 3.5 meters, or 11.5 feet, and can handle payloads of up to 800 kg, or 1,764 pounds. The new robot is aimed at material-handling applications in the automotive, transportation, and other heavy industries.

Key features of the IRB 8700 include an unusually long reach for a robot of its payload, and advanced motion control technology at high moments of inertia that allows the robot to automatically adapt and adjust its speed to accommodate heavy and wide parts, John Bubnikovich, vice president of sales and marketing for ABB Robotics North America, told Design News in an interview.

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The robot also has a compact footprint, optimized counterweight, parallel linkages, stiff axes, and fewer drive motors, with only one motor and one gear per robot axis, he said. Most other robots in this size class use dual motors and/or gears. In addition, there are no gas springs on the IRB 8700, only a reliable counterweight and mechanical springs for counterbalancing, Bubnikovich added.

"Together these design elements mean the IRB 8700 has fewer components and is able to deliver shorter cycle times and higher accuracy -- making it 25% faster than comparable robots in its payload range," he told us.

The new robot is aimed at doing the heavy lifting in industrial applications -- literally. It's capable of performing tasks such as moving a big tractor cabin between welding stations or moving a large car body between transfer lines. Its general application is moving any large part between two points in a manufacturing process, Bubnikovich said.

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The IRB 8700 is available in two configurations: one with a reach of 4.2 meters (13.8 feet) and a payload of 550 kg (1,212.5 pounds); and the other with a reach of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) and a payload of 800 kg (1,764 pounds). Both configurations are available with LeanID -- which extends their reach and payload -- a cost-effective Integrated Dressing (ID) designed for easier programming, reduced wear, and a smaller footprint, according to ABB.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga, and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

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About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano

Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist covering the telecommunications, technology and business sectors since 1998. Prior to her work at Design News, she has previously written news, features and opinion articles for Phone+, CRN (now ChannelWeb), the IDG News Service, Informationweek and CNNMoney, among other publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she also has lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and New York City. She currently resides in Lagos, Portugal. Montalbano has a bachelor's degree in English/Communications from De Sales University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in creative writing.

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