The design criteria and dynamic analysis of SCARA substrate transfer robot for cluster tools have been investigated in this paper. The design criteria for SCARA robot to meet the application of semiconductor and flat panel display processing have been verified. The dynamic equations of decomposed modules of SCARA substrate transfer robot, such as arm module, friction module, servomotor module, harmonic drive module and belt module are formulated by Lagrange’s method respectively. Then, the dynamic equations are all built and simulated with MATLAB software. In addition, the elasticity characteristics of belt and harmonic drive are further discussed in this paper. In the aspect of control, the PID controller and force control method are both used to suppress the vibration and improve the transient response.