German-based manufacturer igus will take a step forward in the rapidly-evolving collaborative robotics space when it unveils the ReBeL, a low-cost robotics joint that can be used in residential and commercial settings. The ReBeL will be introduced at Hannover Messe 2018 when the show begins on Monday, April 23, 2018 in Hannover, Germany.
The new robotics concept will make serving orange juice, loading dishwashers or sorting manufacturing pieces easier and inexpensive. The unit could even be combined with a voice command system and could make phrases such as “Alexa, bring me a glass of orange juice” a realistic request for many households.
The joint is driven by a strain wave gear and will be displayed as a single component for the first time. The new joint includes brushless direct-current motors instead of stepper motors as in previous robolink models. Maintenance-free, injection-molded parts manufactured by igus will make the ReBeL series a bargain for robot manufacturers.
Control equipment built into axes
The unit operates with BLDC motors, which are installed in the maintenance-free strain wave gear of a ReBeL joint. Control equipment is also built into the axes and eliminates the need for an external control cabinet.
“The cables can now be routed directly inside a robot arm,’’ said Martin Raak, robolink product manager at igus GmbH. “Joints can also be equipped with absolute encoders that remember the position of an arm even when a power failure occurs.”
The ReBeL makes it possible to have a sixth rotation axis in the modular robolink system, and allows all positions to be reached. For bearing purposes, lubrication-free and smoothly operating xiros plastic ball bearings are used. Since the gearboxes are constructed mostly with polymers, the ReBeL system is quite light. The BLDC motors, which weigh far less than stepper motors, contribute to the reduced weight of the unit.
Injection-molded parts help keep the cost down for the ReBel. “Our vision is that manufacturers will be able to offer 6-axis service robots for approximately $1,250 without a control unit or a maximum of slightly more than $6 thousand with an integrated control unit,’’ Raak said. “We want to make cost-effective robot arms and applications possible for mechanical engineering companies and even individuals.”
The new robolink will be suitable for collection and delivery services, and pick-and-place applications in factories, especially in the case of mobile applications where a robot arm is mounted on a moving platform.