What do mechanical products in the digital age deliver in terms of performance, and how can they keep up with the rapid pace of technological change? Nabtesco has found an answer and introduces new hybrid concepts.
Innovations such as the digital twin of a precision gearbox for software-based condition monitoring concepts in robotics and the electromechanical steering actuator system for autonomous commercial vehicles are examples of the direction being taken by Nabtesco.
“Cycloidal gears are an extremely powerful technology, but as with all mechanical products, there are physical limits,” says Daniel Obladen, head of sales for general industries at Nabtesco Precision Europe. “Our future success therefore lies in networks, in the bundling of competences and technologies.”
As an example, Nabtesco has entered into a cooperation with Austrian robot controller expert Keba. The goal is to enable economic predictive maintenance concepts based on virtual sensors. A digital twin of a gearbox in the robot control system will make it possible in the future to monitor the actual operating behaviour and the specific load of each individual robot axis, and to calculate in real time how much wear there is and whether service is required.
Constant monitoring of the cycloidal gears would facilitate maintenance on demand. It would also allow timely identification of impending failures, while facilitating planning of service calls, reducing maintenance and eliminating unplanned machine downtimes. The result would be more efficient production processes and increased productivity.
Another example is a steer-by-wire system for autonomous commercial vehicles, the result of a cooperation with Adcos, a development partner specialising in software and hardware solutions for mechatronic system. The CV-EPS platform (Commercial Vehicle Electronic Power Steering) is a purely electromechanical steering and drive solution.
The modular concept (mechanical components with software-based customising) was designed and industrialised for integration in diverse commercial vehicles, and has high potential for cutting-edge fields such as electric vehicles and autonomous mobility. The first prototypes are already on the road.
Nabtesco believes that the hybrid cycloidal gears will bring enhanced efficiency and new applications potential. The design of the cycloidal gears ensures high dynamics and precision (hysteresis loss of 0.5 to max. 1 arcmin) and reduced wear throughout the entire life cycle, which suits them to numerous automation tasks.