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New low-cost igus robot joint from Treotham

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Treotham introduces a new range of low-cost igus robot joints designed for service robotics. Presented at the Hannover Messe 2018, the new low-cost robotics concept from German manufacturer igus is intended to enable tasks such as serving juice, loading the dishwasher or sorting purchases.

igus enters the world of collaborative robotics, involving interaction between people and machines, with its low-cost robotics in the form of robolink. Based on requirements that the components needed to be light and cost-effective, igus developed the ReBeL joint, which was presented 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 command system.

ReBeL is a new kind of robotic joint, driven by a strain wave gear, and designed as a single component for the first time. Fundamentally different from previous robolink models, the new joint features brushless direct-current motors (BLDC motors), instead of stepper motors for the first time, making it possible for robot manufacturers to generate new solutions. Maintenance-free injection-moulded parts will also provide a real bargain deal for these manufacturers.

Considered state-of-the-art in industrial robotics, the small-sized 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, eliminating the need for an external control cabinet.

Martin Raak, robolink product manager at igus GmbH, explains that the cables can now be routed directly inside a robot arm as a BUS system; a further idea is to equip new joints with absolute encoders that remember the position of an arm even when a power failure occurs.

The ReBeL now makes it possible to have the 6th rotation axis in the modular robolink system, allowing all positions to be reached. Features contributing to the light weight of the ReBeL system include lubrication-free and smoothly operating xiros plastic ball bearings; gearboxes mostly made of polymers; and BLDC motors lighter than the previously used stepper motors.

Injection-moulded parts keep the price of the ReBeL joint as well as the robotic arms low. According to Martin Raak, they want to make cost-effective robot arms and applications possible for mechanical engineering companies and even individuals. The new system is also suitable 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.

For more information, please visit the Treotham Automation website www.treotham.com.au or call 1300 65 75 64.

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