Low-cost robotic joints incorporate gearing, BLDC motor

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Low-cost robotic joints incorporate gearing, BLDC motorWith the introduction of a new low-cost robotic concept from igus, simple tasks can now be automated easily with a relatively quick ROI. Under the name ReBeL, the new wave-driven joint differs fundamentally from the previous robolink models: instead of stepper motors, brushless DC (BLDC) motors are used and, thanks to maintenance-free injection moulded parts, the new ReBeL series is a cost-effective option for robot builders.

Due to their small size, the BLDC motors can be installed in the maintenance-free gearbox of a ReBeL joint. The control technology is also integrated in the axes, eliminating the need for an external control cabinet. Robert Dumayne, dry-tech director at igus explains: “The Bus cables are routed inside the robotic arm. For added safety, an absolute encoder is used to set the arm’s last position in the event of power failure.”

For the first time, the ReBeL enables the 6th rotation axis in the robolink modular system to create a fully articulated robotic arm. Lubrication-free and smooth-running xiros plastic ball bearings are used within the joint. The gearboxes also consist mainly of polymers, which makes the ReBeL system particularly lightweight. The BLDC motors also contribute to weight reduction, as they are lighter than the stepper motors used up to now.

In addition to pick-up and delivery services and simple pick-and-place tasks in factories, the new system is particularly suitable for mobile applications in which the robotic arm is mounted on a moving platform. Dumayne adds: “Our vision is that manufacturers can offer 6-axis service robots for a low price. From machine builders to the general public, we want to make lightweight and cost-effective robotic arms and applications possible.”

For more information about the ReBel robotic joint, please visit

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