Low cost bench-top 5/6 axis general purpose articulated robot arm

R12 with electric gripper
shown with optional electric gripper and optional LED awareness illumination


500mm reach 5-axis articulated format, optional 6th axis

Easy mounting of tools, grippers, sensors etc

Fully enclosed; pneumatics and wiring go through the arm, not strapped to the outside.

Optional incremental encoder watchdogs

Simple intuitive teach pad

User friendly software, English language commands

Input/output interfacing

Non-volatile memory

Complete with controller, software, on-screen manuals, cables, etc. Ready to go

Optional pneumatic or electric grippers, vacuum pickup, tool changers.

Supplied ready to run -- robot, controller, all cables, Windows GUI project manager, teach pad

On-screen manuals

Optional linear track, I/O expansion, bluetooth teachpad, TCP/IP.


The R12-5 (Prometheus) is a complete self-contained five (optional six ) axis vertically articulated robot arm system designed as a cost effective solution for bench top automation. Applications include testing, sample handling, machine feeding. The hand terminates in a mounting plate to which can be mounted one of our low cost grippers, vacuum pickups or your own device.

R12 is a very low cost entry to robotics, fast, accurate and reliable and easy to program yet capable of the most complex tasks. It has a useful 500mm reach. Designed by a young engineer building on our existing R17 technology it is a breakthrough in bench top robotics. Like the R17 it is a 5 axis articulated robot arm but with a 500mm reach. It is lighter, faster and quieter, using high efficiency digital motors driving through steel reinforced polyurethane timing belts. Optional incremental optical encoders provide exceptional integrity as well as safety (see below).

Do not let the low cost mislead you - this is not a hobby robot. It is a professional tool made to industrial standards of quality, reliability and performance, machined from solid alloy and finished with aesthetic acrylic covers. The system is supplied complete with controller, all cables, connectors, software, comprehensive manuals, ready to unpack and use immediately.

The R12 package includes the K11 controller that is simple and reliable using a partnership of CPU and DSP micro-processors and compact micro-stepping drives. ROBOFORTH II embedded software gets you started easily yet permits the most complex motions, interfaces and peripherals to be programmed, assisted by ROBWIN project manager that brings everything together on one Windows screen.

download a brochure (pdf, 1.6Mb)


Drives:High power micro-stepped hybrid stepping motors,
optional encoder watchdogs
Reach: 500mm/20ins in any direction; 360 degree waist rotation
Repeatability:0.1mm (see note)
Payload:nominal 500g, max 1Kg (2.2lbs) at flange
(repeatability and speed degrade with increasing payload and reach).
Compliance: droop at 250mm at nominal payload:
droop at max reach with max payload:

Maximum speed: Waist 220 deg/sec, Shoulder 200 deg/sec, Elbow 500deg/sec, hand 600deg/sec, wrist roll 600 deg/sec. Max linear speed approx 800mm/s. Standard Cycle 2s
Max torque for pitch or roll:1 Nm (repeatability figures degrade with increasing torque).
WeightRobot 12.8Kg/28lbs Controller 11kg/25lbs
Power: 110/240v ac 420VA (standard controller)
Environment:IP 54A, 0 - 40C (wider range optional)
MTBF: 15,000 hours (typically over a million cycles)
Safety:Class 2 stop circuit, stall detect, risk assessment guide.
Optional high intensity red LEDs along the arm serve as awareness barrier.
Noise:Approx 40-50dB at 1m.
note: repeatability measured as a standard deviation of all 3 dimensions at 100% speed and zero payload over 24 hours after a 1 hour
warming up period. Figures for ISO 9283 available on request.


(click the thumbnail to view)
Simulated chess game 6-axis version Moving glass tubes pushing buttons
more videos



The role of the encoders in the R17 and as an R12 level 1 option is as watchdogs. The loop is closed after completion of each individual motion which is not the same as servo control. The R12 encoder option comprises miniature optical incremental encoders fitted to each axis.
Without encoders the R12 will run accurately and indefinitely open loop without error thanks to micro-stepping drives and accurate transmission. But if the robot suffers a collision then the controller does not know and carries on with the program even though the robot could be out of position. Such collisions usually only occur accidentally during programming and rarely during normal running. It is necessary to run the calibrate routine after such a collision. With the encoder option the controller notices the discrepancy immediately, stops the robot and announces an error.

If the encoder option is not fitted ST provides a software solution in the form of a quick calibration check that can be included in every robot cycle or n cycles. If there is an error it is reported and the system stops.

As standard the robot terminates in a mounting flange (see diagrams below). End effectors currently include: electric gripper, SMC 10mm pneumatic gripper, vacuum pickups.
Note: pneumatic gripper is shown with special fingers made for a particular application, not part of the option. Fingers to suit the clients product may be made by the client or ST.

grippers and end of arm tooling


Sixth Axis

This is a simple solution that makes the 6th axis entirely optional as opposed to being an integral part of the design. Using a small motor and gearbox it is accurate and tough. Programming is an extension to the Cartesian functions of RoboForth. In this way the system can ensure the end effector points in the same direction (same orientation to X Y Z axes) as the robot moves around, or indeed in any direction you choose. See 6th axis version and video

Linear track
up to 3m length, using a powerful motor and two recirculating crossed roller bearings.

High resolution or high speed options.
see video

12-axis system
comprising 2 R12 robots on a programmable carousel. Two robot controllers are interlinked to synchronize the two robots. The maximum number of axes in total is 13.

image image

Optional glove for hazardous environments.


Arm comprises 2 limbs 250mm each plus 360 degrees base rotation.
Therefore the workspace is a sphere 1000mm (40ins) in diameter (not including the hand).
Reach is a sphere radius 500mm
Bench level reach is less

Base fixings to bench
Wrist flange (not to scale)
r12dim r12dim

Support and maintenance

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