Automation made easy with modular motion concept

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

igus’ robolink Apiro is a modular motion system which 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 to complex humanoid and animatronic robotic tasks.

“The name says it all: Apiro is derived from the Greek word for ‘unlimited’”, explains Robert Dumayne, dry-tech director at igus. “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 this system, Dumayne added, even complicated movements can be implemented. For example, cost-effective and individual SCARA robots and linear robots as well as 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.

In the worm gears of the new Apiro series, high-quality tribo-polymers with solid lubricants are used. 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 joined together 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 makes use of. 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 the engineer to connect the different gearboxes of the robolink Apiro series. 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 be able to offer robolink Apiro as a series-produced solution for a wide market after the test phases. In addition, a configurator is being planned that is to simulate the modular system's different possibilities of movement.


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