Low-cost Delta robot is set to be a 'game changer'

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Low-cost Delta robot is set to be a 'game changer'igus is launching a new Delta robot that is quick and easy to implement. Because it is assembled almost entirely from standard igus components, the cost is extremely low; prices start from under £5000, which is around one-quarter of the cost of a typical Delta robot, so igus believes this could be a disruptive 'game changer' in the robotics market, particularly for packaging applications. In some cases it could also prove more cost-effective than other automation technologies such as custom-tooled vibratory bowl feeders and bespoke pick-and-place systems.

Available directly from stock as a kit or delivered pre-assembled ready to install, the Delta robot utilises maintenance-free belt drive units, lubrication-free link rods, stepper motors and encoders. Most of the moving components are either plastic or aluminium, which results in a lightweight, low-cost automation system for tasks such as pick-and-place, and test and inspection. The typical return on investment (ROI) period for the Delta robot is estimated at just six months, which compares extremely favourably with the industry's rule-of-thumb target of two years.

Standard igus components

The igus Delta robot is based on three drylin ZLW toothed belt axes, igubal link rods and precision-machined adapter plates, with the three 'legs' anchored to a triangular flange panel cut from stainless steel. NEMA stepper motors and encoders ensure fast handling of up to 1kg with a precision of +/-0.5mm. Maximum payload is 5kg at lower speeds (one pick per second), but with lighter payloads the robot is capable of 150 picks per minute. Maximum reach in the XY plane is +/-200mm and the Z axis has +/-60mm of movement.

Matthew Aldridge, managing director of igus UK, comments: "The open design of the Delta robot enables manufacturers to use their own controller. We estimate that with the usual integration costs, each Delta robot installation will be around £10,000 to £15,000, which means that it will pay for itself after a few months."

Long, maintenance-free life

The igus bearings do not need relubrication and have a long operating life. Depending on factors such as payload, speed, motion profile (eg whether the master controller provides for smooth accelerations and decelerations) and the cleanliness of the operating environment, the bearings can be expected to have a life in the order of two years. When the bearing liners need replacing, this can be done at very low cost and without having to completely disassemble the robot. Importantly, when the bearings wear, they do not fail catastrophically, so the robot will continue to operate satisfactorily until the bearings are changed.

There are many other benefits inherent with Delta robot deployment; the higher the production rate, the lower the cost per unit. If a company can make twice as many widgets as its competitor in the same amount of time, the advantage is obvious. There are also opportunities to reduce scrap and rework, increase quality and consistency, and improve overall safety.

igus can deliver a Delta robot as a boxed kit within 24 hours of receipt of order. Comprehensive assembly instructions are included and an assembly video is available online: Alternatively, the delta robot can be delivered pre-assembled on a transport frame ready for installation. igus estimates that most companies will be able to assemble the robot is approximately one hour, but if several are being assembled then the time can be as little as 30 minutes per robot.

Machine builders are free to use their preferred software and controller or, as an alternative, they can opt for the intuitive igus dryve D1 controller.

Follow the link for more information about the new igus Delta robot.

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