Prominent visitors to the igus booth: German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visited the booth of igus on the first day of the Hanover Trade Fair. The focus of interest: cost-effective robotics made in Germany.
At the Hanover Fair, the world’s largest industrial show for automation and industry 4.0, the Chancellor looks into the future. The service robot arm shown could soon dry the dishes and lay the table on call. Managing Director Frank Blase says, with a wink: “We would like to continue to provide the Federal Chancellor with the service she had in the Chancellor’s Office after her term of office. This will give her more time for other things, such as writing political or scientific books. In one or two years, such a robot will be ready to go into production and affordable.” igus exhibits at Hanover Fair to get in touch with customers from the world of household appliances. Service robotics is an important future topic for the industry.
To make the robots affordable for every household, igus relies on its 50 years of work with motion plastics technologies for gears, joints and connections. At the core are the high-performance plastics developed in-house that are lubrication- and maintenance-free. The result is always products that are low cost and at the same time last for a very long time. With 4150 employees and an annual turnover of 748 million euros, the family-run company based in Cologne Porz-Lind is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings. igus ventures into new areas of industry every year; most recently, these were 3D printing for wear-resistant parts with online calculable service life or lubrication-free ball bearings made of high-performance polymers. According to a study by RWTH Aachen University, over 35 million tons of lubricating oil can be saved annually worldwide through the elimination of lubricants. At the same time, the production of polymers requires around 50 per cent less energy than steel and 70 per cent less than aluminium.
Motion plastics are developing more and more into high-tech components. “smart plastics” is what igus calls products that monitor themselves in operation and inform customers how long they will last. Even before use, the engineer can select the option with the best price/lifetime ratio via online simulation. Enormous investments in digitalisation are now also helping the customer to enter the robotics sector. Together with 16 other partners from the industry, igus will present the world premiere of the RBTX.com platform at the Hanover Fair, bringing together suppliers and users of low-cost robotics. Users can put together an automation system online that meets their requirements and budget. Suppliers of robotic components are given the opportunity to market their products to a larger audience. igus is focussing on the dynamics of the robotics community in the joint development of new low-cost concepts.