Igus Simplifies Automation with Modular Motion Concept

Monday, April 8th, 2024

Igus’s modular drygear Apiro system enables customisable, low-maintenance automation in applications like the sec°mat IC One ice cream vending machine.

Igus’s modular drygear Apiro system enables customisable, low-maintenance automation in applications like the sec°mat IC One ice cream vending machine.

As automation in production processes intensifies competition both locally and globally, igus is responding by crafting affordable, customisable automation solutions. Utilising advanced plastics, igus has developed the modular drygear Apiro motion system, designed to streamline automatic processes economically.

Design engineers have the option of selecting from three types of lubrication-free worm gears, each designed for a specific type of movement: standard, inverted, or linear.

This flexibility allows for the creation of a broad spectrum of robotic applications, from straightforward linear robots to intricate humanoid and animatronic robots, offering virtually unlimited possibilities in robotic design.

Enhancing Consumer Experiences: Ice Cream Vending Machine
A practical example of Apiro’s application is the sec°mat IC One ice cream vending machine by Seco Manufaktur. This machine takes the ice cream buying experience up a notch with its touch display and shopping cart feature, ensuring ice cream stays frozen even in the heat.

The challenge was to find robot kinematics that were not only flexible and maintenance-free but also engaging for consumers.

While developers initially considered a SCARA robot, the error rate escalates over time if not in a factory setting where it can be maintained constantly, according to Seco Manufaktur CEO Frank Kuhn. “Longer maintenance intervals and durability were particularly important to us,” said Kuhn.

Innovative Design Meets Flexibility
The collaboration with igus led to the discovery of the drygear Apiro gearbox system. The system’s worm gears are made from corrosion-free, chemically resistant high-performance polymers, guaranteeing stability, lightness, and longevity without the need for maintenance.

Further, the multi-functional aluminium profile allows for the integration of drive shafts and supports both rotational and linear movements with minimal clearance.

The sec°mat’s final assembly includes two E2-series energy chains and chainflex cables, creating not just a technically optimal system but also a visual spectacle, according to Kuhn. Customers can witness the ice cream retrieval process, adding an element of curiosity to the experience.


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