In many ways, the idea of igus introducing robots seems obvious. The company supplies a wide range of components for robot manufacturers. All that was missing in the company inventory was a motor and control system. “We had to develop drives as well as the master controller for the igus robot control,” Matt Mowry, North American product manager, drylin linear bearings and low-cost automation products, told Design News.
Igus automation specialist Cabe Webster noted that igus robots are designed for customers who are not in a position to buy a cobot in the $35,000 to $75,000 range. “We’re building robots for the lower end of the market. You can get one of our cobots for $6000.” Igus has targeted inexpensive robots believing the low end of the robot market is underserved.
Igus has introduced several machines, from linear and SCARA robots to the robolink DP cobot, a 4 or 5-axis robotic arm that features self-lubricating, maintenance-free plastic joints. The robolink includes optimized bearing support for each axis to reduce backlash, a payload up to 30N, cycle times from 6 seconds, and a reach up to 790mm. The robolink DP is available in a small or large size as well as motor and drive encoders.
Igus took its catalog of robot components and added a drive and control system. In creating the control system, the company focused on ease of use. Since the igus robots are aimed at smaller manufacturers and warehouses, the control system is designed for configuration rather than programming. Motion teaching is also part of the robot control system. Users can move the robot through intended motions and then save those motions for repeated use.
A Marketplace for Low-Cost Robotics
With an eye to the low-cost robot market, igus launched RBTX, an online marketplace for low-cost robotics. The site offers robots and components. Users can put together low-cost robotic solutions to match their requirements and budget. Suppliers of robotics components can present their products to a larger audience. “Our goal is to make RBTX the Amazon of robots,” said Mowry.