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Swiss robot-maker to use ‘revolutionary’ direct-drive tech

15 August, 2019

Genesis Robotics, the Canadian company behind the “revolutionary” LiveDrive high-torque, direct-drive motor technology, has signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with the Swiss robotics pioneer, Demaurex, to integrate its motors into Demaurex’s latest delta robots.

Genesis unveiled its gearless drive technology at the 2017 Hannover Fair with the claim that it would out-perform traditional gear-based actuators in many ways, while potentially being much cheaper and avoiding the need for lubrication. The compact drive, it added, would offer three times the torque-to-weight ratio of other direct-drive motors, as well as a 22-fold improvement in torque-to-inertia ratio over best-in-class actuators. It would also provide high precision, low noise levels and improved stopping capabilities.

Now, Genesis has announced its first licencing agreement for the drives. Demaurex engineered and industrialised the original delta robot in 1988. In doing so, it introduced high-speed, vision-guided pick-and-place systems to the robotics market.

“Demaurex’s delta robotic machines and systems have been the class leader for many years and, with the incorporation of LiveDrive direct-drive motors, we will continue to hold that position well into the future,” predicts the company’s general manager, Frank Souyris. “The LiveDrive technology offers new levels of simplicity and ease of use, eliminating the need for costly, bulky and unhygienic gearboxes, all in a much smaller envelope. This will reduce the total cost of ownership and promote ease-of-use for our customers.”

LiveDrive’s inventor, James Klassen, believes that his motor’s power density could help to redefine the delta robot. “The platform is what the industry has been waiting for – a high-torque actuator that delivers three times higher torque density, high peak torque capacity, and the highest levels of precision,” he adds. “Taking advantage of three foundational discoveries – magnetic amplification, advanced structural magnetic architecture, and unparalleled heat dissipation – the LiveDrive direct-drive motor provides manufacturers with the ability to design simpler, faster and more precise robots and machines.”

A conventional motor-gearbox combination (right) compared to a LiveDrive actuator (left) with a similar rating

The motor-and-gearbox combinations used in robots are typically around 500mm long. The radial-flux LiveDrive is less than 60mm.

According to Roy Fraser, vice-president of product at Genesis, “the motor can start and stop very fast – making it much more productive, efficient and reliable”. He adds that “removing the gearbox means removing the risk of contamination, breakdown and maintenance. Additionally, power consumption is lower.”

Genesis says that its received interest in its technologies from other potential users. The financial details of its agreement with Demaurex have not been revealed.

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