Hygienic robots for handling tasks in the food and pharmaceutical industries

6-axis high-performance robots, specially designed for use in the life sciences

In hygiene-sensitive areas of laboratory automation, the pharmaceutical industry or the food sector, Yaskawa robots from the new "Motoman HD" series can perform a wide range of handling tasks. With the first two models with a payload of seven and eight kilograms respectively, the manufacturer is expanding its range of solutions for hygiene-critical robot applications. The abbreviation HD stands for "Hygienic Design". The robots fulfil the high requirements placed on sterile and cleanroom environments: in addition to being suitable for use in hygienic areas up to the highest cleanliness level of GMP Class A in accordance with EHEDG, EN 1672-2 and ISO 14159, they also comply with cleanroom class in accordance with ISO 14644-1, cleanroom class 5 in the case of the HD7 and cleanroom class 4 in the case of the HD8, according to the measurement and evaluation procedure defined in ISO 14644-14.

The precondition for this is a hygienic design of the robots, which also incorporates the expertise of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. The "Motoman HD7" was recently honoured with the "Red Dot Award: Product Design 2024" in one of the world's largest design competitions.

Easy cleaning thanks to rounded, dead space-free design

In the new development, design details of the manipulator such as a special axle seal and a rounded, dead-space-free design without external screws, gaps or undercuts ensure that the robot is easy to clean. On the other hand, surfaces and materials are used that are mechanically and chemically resistant to substances and cleaning agents typically used in the pharmaceutical, chemical or food industries.

Due to the highest protection class IP69K and a particularly smooth surface with a particularly low surface roughness of less than 0.8 Ra, the adhesion of dirt particles and microorganisms is reduced. Cleaning is also made easier by the fact that the application cables and media lines, for example for compressed air, run inside the robot arm and the cables can be routed through the robot base. Further advantages are the low particle emissions of ISO class 5 for the "HD7 model" and ISO class 4 for the "HD8 model", as well as the use of food-grade grease.

High-performance robots for the European market

The robots are manufactured at the Yaskawa plant in Kočevje, Slovenia, where they were also developed. The "Motoman HD" series is based on the six-axis high-performance robots from the Motoman GP portfolio. Like the industrial robots, they utilise the new "Sigma 7" servo drive technology from Yaskawa and therefore achieve extremely high and precise movement and acceleration performance. The movement range of axis 1 is +/- 180 degrees. The robots can be combined with the universal robot controller "YRC1000" or with the compact controller "YRC1000micro". A wide range of modern control, communication, safety and software options are available for both.