The global site of the UK's leading magazine for automation, motion engineering and power transmission
19 July, 2024

Twitter link

€4,970 mobile robot will be affordable for SME manufacturers

01 July, 2024

The German engineering plastics specialist, igus, has announced a low-cost mobile robot platform that could allow SME manufacturers to adopt mobile robots affordably. The ReBeL on Wheels robots cost upwards of €4,970, compared to existing commercial alternatives that start at around €25,000, or €70,000 for those carrying robot arms.

These high prices mean that AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) are often unaffordable for SMEs. igus is hoping to change this with its low-cost robots which incorporate many plastic components that it has been developed and manufactured to help keep the costs down.

The company is planning various versions, with the basic version weighing 8.2kg, making it the lightest service robot with cobot functions in its class, according to igus. It has a load capacity of 2kg and a reach of 664mm.

The family also includes an AGV for SMEs, costing €17,999, which is capable of carrying loads of up to 30kg. It offers the option of simple A-to-B positioning using a 3D sensor technology developed in-house, instead of needing expensive third-party sensors.

There is also a “lighthouse project”, consisting of a mobile robot with an integrated HMI and vision system that could perform complex tasks independently. “With this project, we are pursuing a bottom-to-top strategy, in which certain components such as safety laser scanners are not included in the basic package to keep the price low,” explains Alexander Mühlens, head of igus’ low-cost automation business. “Nevertheless, it ensures that the solution can be retrofitted for industrial requirements.

“The areas of application for this targeted low-cost AMR are extremely diverse and go far beyond simple transport tasks,” he adds. “They encompass a huge range of applications in various areas of life, such as cleaning tasks or serving coffee directly in the workplace.”

igus is also launching a €14,699 version of its mobile robot for the education sector. The ReBeL EduMove, which includes a robot arm and gripper, uses open-source software and is intended to act as an autonomous learning platform. It has a modular design and can be expanded to include additional functions such as lidar, cameras or Slam algorithms.

The ReBeL EduMove version of igus’ mobile robot platform is aimed at the education sector

Another variant is a service robot, called the ReBeL Butler, for simple, but time-consuming, pick-up and drop-off services – for use in the hotel and catering sector, for example.

Also in the portfolio is an affordable gripper with a large stroke and travel, which offers a high degree of flexibility when gripping different geometries.

igus is targeting a global market for AGVs and AMRs which is currently worth around $20.3bn, and is expected to almost double by 2028. For four years, the plastics expert has been testing AGVs in-house – including mobile robots that transport and stack-and-turn containers in its production facilities, as well as driverless systems that deliver mail to its offices. The experience gained from these has been used to develop the new family of mobile robots.

igus:  Twitter

  • To view a digital copy of the latest issue of Drives & Controls, click here.

    To visit the digital library of past issues, click here

    To subscribe to the magazine, click here



"Do you think that robots create or destroy jobs?"



Most Read Articles