igus launches new modular motion concept - robolink Apiro

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igus launches new modular motion concept - robolink Apiroigus is introducing the robolink Apiro modular motion system that enables design engineers to develop low-cost automation systems. Consisting of three lubrication-free worm gears for standard movement, inverted movement and linear movement, the system can be configured to perform simple linear motion or complex humanoid and animatronic robotic tasks.

Robert Dumayne, dry-tech director at igus, explains: "The name says it all: Apiro is derived from the Greek word for 'unlimited.' When the new series was being developed, the focus was on decoupling the motor and gearbox, as well as a new type of worm gear."

With the new modular system, therefore, even complicated movements can be implemented. For example, cost-effective and individual SCARA robots and linear robots, or sprue pickers for the removal of products from injection-moulding machines. Transport and handling systems, as well as humanoid and animatronic robots, which can perform movements like those of a spider, for instance. The new robolink series is also suitable for training, development and research, as different kinematics can be set up easily and quickly.

The new Apiro series worm gears benefit from high-quality tribo-polymers with solid lubricants. The corrosion-free and chemical-resistant high-performance plastics ensure a high degree of stability, low weight, a long service life and freedom from the need for maintenance. The joints are connected by a multi-functional profile made of aluminium. This makes it possible to insert drive shafts through a hollow space in the middle, a possibility that the inverted worm gear utilises. The gearbox rotates the aluminium profile, making it suitable for use in robotics and rotating applications.

For linear motion, the aluminium profile travels linearly through the worm gear or the worm gear travels on the linear profile. The multi-functional profile also enables engineers to connect different robolink Apiro series gearboxes. Placing several Apiro joints side by side makes parallel joint connections possible as well. This results in endless possibilities of combination in order to automate very different applications.

The aim is to offer robolink Apiro as a series-produced system for a wide market after the test phases. In addition, a configurator is being planned to simulate the modular system's different possibilities of movement.

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