23 Jul 2024


Easy to set up gantry robot is up to 60% cheaper than rivals

igus’ gantry robots are said to be easy to specify, configure, install and program

Motion plastics specialist igus has announced a gantry robot which, it claims, is up to 60% cheaper than rival machines. The drylin XXL robot has a working envelope of 2 x 2 x 1.5m and is particularly suitable for palletising loads up to 10kg. The robot is available from €7,000 / £8,000 including the control system, and comes as a DIY kit that can be set up and programmed without needing a system integrator.

The kit allows users to commission a pick-and-place linear robot quickly and easily for tasks such as palletising, sorting, labelling and quality inspection.

“Palletising robots developed in cooperation with external service providers can cost between £80,000 and £120,000 – more than the budget of many small companies,” says Adam Sanjurgo, product manager of Low Cost Automation at igus UK. “We have therefore developed a much cheaper solution by using high-performance plastics and lightweight materials such as aluminium.” Depending on the type of stage, the robot costs £8,000–12,000 – a low-risk investment that usually pays for itself within a few weeks, according to Sanjurgo.

The key components in the kit are two timing belt axes and a rack-and-pinion axis with stepper motors. In its largest version, the robot measures up to 6 x 6 x 1.5m. The package also includes a control cabinet, cables and energy chains as well as free control software called igus Robot Control (iRC). Users can assemble the components to create a linear robot within a few hours, with no previous knowledge and or formal training. If extra components, such as cameras or grippers, are needed, users can order them via igus’ RBTX robotics marketplace.

The Cartesian robot (which moves in three linear axes) can be used, for example, on conveyor belts that transport products from injection-moulding machines. In this case, the robot removes moulded parts weighing up to 10kg, moves them at speeds of up to 500mm/s, and positions them on a pallet with a repeatability of 0.8mm. “Companies can relieve their employees of physically demanding and time-consuming palletising tasks and redeploy the resource for more important tasks,” says Sanjurgo.

The robot does not need any maintenance. The axes are made of corrosion-free aluminium. The axis slides move over plain bearings made of high-performance plastics incorporating solid lubricants, resulting in low-friction dry running without needing fluid lubricants for many years, even in dusty and dirty environments.

Programming of motion sequences is said to be simple. “For many companies that do not have their own IT specialists, robot programming is often fraught with problems,” Sanjurgo points out. “That’s why we have developed free software that resembles common office software and enables intuitive programming of the robot paths.”

The software creates a digital twin of the robot, and can set up movements in a few clicks, before the robot is installed. “Before buying, potential users can use the 3D model to check whether their desired movements are actually feasible,” Sanjurgo explains. “We invite anybody to try out our robots live or via the Internet, free of charge. We will support them during commissioning and show what is possible with low-cost robots, making the investment almost risk-free.”

Igus has also made it easy to configure the linear robots online by harnessing the power of the Unity platform usually used to develop games for PC and game consoles. The platform allows users to configure robots in just five minutes and to obtain instant price information. Applications can be programmed and tested and CAD data and drawings generated without needing specialists or CAD software.

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