Modern industrial processes present unrivalled opportunities for model building in Meccano. The robot is the centre piece of factory automation, and represents a skilled blend of mechanics, electronics, computer control and programming.
This robot is manufactured by the Swedish Asea Company and production of the prototype started in the early 1980s. It was mainly to be found in car assembly plants where it a spot welding gun was attached to it. It could also be provided with a 'hand' with a gripping action for parts and tools manipulation.
The Asea robot has 6 degrees of freedom, that is, there are 6 main moving parts, including body rotation, shoulder, elbow and wrist movement and hand motion.
The prototype uses stepper motors and lead screws for the main motions, all under computer control, and the robot could be taught a wide variety of tasks by being lead through the movements, and then set to repeat them automatically. Automation on the factory floor meant increased production, less errors, and greatly improved accuracy.
The Meccano model, is a true scale model of the prototype, and works just like the real thing under computer control. It is powered by Richards motors with lead screws, and is controlled by a computer. The model was first shown at Skegness in 1988, and was then transferred to MW Models permanent exhibition in Henley-on-Thames, after it was made into a ModelPlan.
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