Service Robotics At A Small Price Thanks To New Low-Cost Robot Joint From Igus

Friday, February 1st, 2019 | 1428 Views

At Hannover Messe, igus is showcasing its revolutionary ReBeL joint with plastic strain wave gear, BLDC motor and control system. Serving orange juice, loading the dishwashing machine or sorting purchases. The new low-cost robotics concept from igus is intended to make these tasks possible. Under the name ReBeL, igus is presenting a new kind of joint, driven by a strain wave gear, at Hannover Messe 2018 as a single component for the first time and is also showing a study of a 6-axis service robot. The new joint is fundamentally different to the previous robolink models: Instead of stepper motors, brushless direct-current motors are used in the joints for the first time. Thanks to maintenance-free injection-moulded parts, the new ReBeL series is set to become a real bargain for robot manufacturers.

 A practice household assistant for the home or in the office. Easy to program at a reasonable price. Who does not want this? The topic of collaborative robotics — interaction between people and machines — has now been taken up by igus with its low-cost robotics in the form of robolink. The requirements for the components were that they must be light and cost-effective. The result is the ReBeL joint, which igus is presenting to a specialist audience for the first time at Hannover Messe 2018. “Alexa, bring me a glass of orange juice!” could thus become reality when the product is used in combination with a voice control system. The new low-cost robotics concept is fundamentally different to that of the previous robolink joints and makes it possible for robot manufacturers to generate new solutions. Instead of stepper motors, brushless direct-current motors (BLDC motors), which already belong to the state of the art in industrial robotics, are used.


A Flyweight Due To Plastic Components

Due to their small size, the BLDC motors can now be installed in the maintenance-free strain wave gear of a ReBeL joint. The control equipment is also built into the axes and thus renders an external control cabinet superfluous. “The cables can now be routed directly inside a robot arm as a BUS system”, explained Martin Raak, robolink product manager at igus GmbH. “A further idea is to equip new joints with absolute encoders, that remember the position of an arm even when a power failure occurs”, Raak continued. The ReBeL now makes it possible to have the 6th rotation axis in the modular robolink system and thus allows all positions to be reached. For bearing purposes, lubrication-free and smoothly operating xiros plastic ball bearings are used. As the gearboxes are also mostly made of polymers, the ReBeL system is very light. The BLDC motors also contribute to weight reduction as they are lighter than the previously used stepper motors.


A Butler For Everyone Thanks To The Low Price

Injection-moulded parts ensure the small price of a ReBeL joint and therefore of the robot arms. “Our vision is that manufacturers will be able to offer 6-axis service robots for a price of 1,000 euros without control unit or for a maximum of 5,000 euros with integrated control unit”, said Martin Raak. “We want to make cost-effective robot arms and applications possible for mechanical engineering companies and even private persons.” The new system is suitable not only for tasks in the private area but also for other functions such as collection and delivery services or pick-and-place applications in factories, especially in the case of mobile applications where the robot arm is mounted on a moving platform. In cooperation with the company Commonplace Robotics GmbH, igus is showing a first practical design study of a service robot arm in action at Stand H04 in Hall 17.