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igus tribo-polymers make strain wave gears cost-effective and light

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In order to generate accurate movement along the 5th robot axis, the motion plastics specialist igus has developed new types of strain wave gears based on its tribo-polymer technology. Due to the use of lubrication-free high-performance polymers, they are not only extremely compact and light but also require very little maintenance and have an especially long service life. The latest generation supplements the gearbox series from igus and is part of the continually growing range of products for Low Cost Automation.

Tribo-polymers are used wherever the goal is an improvement of technical performance and a simultaneous reduction of costs. The advantages of tribo-polymers are especially apparent in the case of gearboxes: due to the use of iglidur high-performance polymers, strain wave gears from igus require no additional lubrication, in contrast to metal types of gear. Friction and wear are improved if lubrication-free tribo-polymers are used. At the same time, the use of plastics enables an extremely compact design and cost-effective manufacture. As a result of active research and further development of the strain wave gear, operating smoothness, backlash and service life have been optimised further by means of improvements in the technical design and in the selection of materials. This especially applies to the latest generation.

Strain wave gear made of lubrication-free tribo-polymers

The main components of the gearbox include a wave generator and a flexible ring with outer drive teeth, as well as an outer ring, fixed in place in the housing and a rotary power take-off element with inner drive teeth. The necessary flexibility and high degree of wear resistance are achieved through the use of lubrication-free high-performance igus polymers. The wave generator has an elliptical shape, therefore the surrounding flexible ring also assumes this shape. The drive teeth of the flexible ring engage at two places in the inner drive teeth of the outer ring and power take-off element. As the outer ring has two teeth more than the other components, the flexible ring is only moved two teeth further per rotation when the wave generator is rotated. Along the last axis of an articulated arm, linear robot or delta robot, the strain wave gear can be used before different gripper systems. Here, it performs the task of gripping objects that are not rotationally symmetrical and positioning them exactly. The current version is based on the installation size Nema 17 for direct connection to a stepper motor and can easily be adapted to other types of motor. The load bearing capacity of the strain wave gear has been determined in the test laboratory. With a transmission ratio of 28:1, the gearbox has a service life of 1 million cycles under a load of 1.5Nm and at a speed of 6rpm. As a next step, there are plans to develop a size Nema 23 gearbox.

Cost-effective automation solutions now possible

Like igus worm gears and planetary gears, strain wave gears are also part of the igus Low Cost Automation product range. These products can be used to develop cost-effective and long-lasting automation solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises – such as robots that can dispense coffee in the retail trade, perform pick-and-place tasks in the electronics industry or, in future, empty a dishwasher in the home. And all this is possible at a very favourable price: for example, a five-axis robot kinematics system from the igus robolink DP series costs around 3,500 euros, due mainly to the use of plastics, whereby the investment often pays for itself within just a few months. Last year, igus worked with partners to start the platform RBTX.com, which makes it easy to put together additional components such as gripper, control system or pneumatic components in order to create a full robotics solution. The platform brings users and suppliers of low-cost robotics components together quickly and easily. Interested parties can put together a low-cost robotics solution that matches their requirements and their budget exactly.

Gear drives

Ziehl-Abegg’s elevator division reaches an all-time high

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South-East Asia and Europe deliver a 12 percent increase for the Hohenlohe motor manufacturer

The elevator drives division at Ziehl-Abegg has been running at an all-time high for the past two months. “We have never had such a high order intake in the elevator sector,” says CEO Peter Fenkl. The orders are coming mainly from Europe and Southeast Asia.

2019 had already been a record-breaking year for the elevator specialists at the electric motor manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg: in the final count, it posted sales of more than 72 million euros. In the current year, business in the elevator division has continued at the same record level as in the previous year. “However, the development in order intake since March is far exceeding our expectations,” says CEO Fenkl. “We are currently 12 percent up on the previous year!”

Ziehl-Abegg is benefitting from being located in Germany. In contrast to Southern Europe, where in Italy and Spain many companies are closed, production in Southern Germany is in full swing. Even in the current corona crisis, the supply chain is working and supplies to production are secured, with even kit manufacturers in Spain ordering elevator motors and control units from Ziehl-Abegg in Hohenlohe. “Many of our customers’ finished products end up all over Europe, including England,” explains Sales Manager Dieter Rieger. It’s a similar picture in South-East Asia: the closure of regional companies has created a vacuum for elevator manufacturers, the result is that they are now buying components on the global market – for example, from the German manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg. “A large proportion of the volume is coming from new construction projects,” says Rieger.

The motor division at Ziehl-Abegg is the second largest area of business in the Group. Worldwide, Ziehl-Abegg employs 4,300 people, spread over the areas of ventilation, control and drive technology plus automotive. “It’s during times of crisis in particular that the strength of our broadly-based portfolio becomes evident”, underlines CEO Fenkl.

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Gear drives

New GPT gearhead family with numerous gear ratios

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The new metal GPT planetary gearhead family characterized by its compact dimensions, high torque and very fine graduations of the numerous gear ratios. It is extremely robust and tolerates both frequent as well as sudden load changes. The gearheads operate with high efficiency, can be combined with many different motors and enable various shaft configurations.

The pure metal GPT gearheads achieve performance values comparable to more expensive technologies on the market like ceramic components. The gearheads are available with diameters of 22, 32 and 42 millimetres. The gearheads achieve top values for torque as well as for speed. Compared to the predecessor models, the continuous input speed was more than doubled above 10´000 rpm, and can support input speeds up to 20,000 rpm in intermittent mode. The 42GPT Series can sustain an intermittent torque up to 25 Nm while its length is squeezed down to 71 millimetres. The GPT gearheads are designed to be extremely robust and tolerate both continuous as well as very abrupt and sudden load changes. At the same time, they are significantly shorter than other models in the same diameter.

GPT Gearhead family

The gearheads can be equipped with up to four reduction stages Each stage is individually optimized to achieve the highest power in terms of torque and speed an important feature of the product family is the high number of available gear ratios and their very uniform distribution.  As a result, the motor power can be utilized optimally: a higher torque can be achieved with the same input speed; a higher speed can be achieved with the same torque. In addition, power consumption is significantly reduced through a much higher efficiency compared to previous product generation The new GPT family is also particularly suited for accurate positioning applications granted by a very low backlash characteristic.

GPT Gearhead open

With high performance values and the great robustness, the gearheads of this new product family are suitable for various demanding applications. Their compact design fits particularly well with the new BXT brushless flat motor family when size is a key constraint integrating actuators inside applications. A large selection of DC motors is also available in combination with the new GPT gearhead family. They are ideal for different types of robots – inspection, assembly, rehabilitation or exoskeletons – as well as for production and laboratory automation, for packaging machines, measurement and testing equipment or for semiconductor handling.

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Gear drives

Klingelnberg at control 2018: Tactile and optical measurement on one machine

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At the world’s leading trade show for quality assurance, Control in Stuttgart, some 900 manufacturers of QA equipment will present their innovations from April 24 to 27, 2018. This year at Booth 6310 in Hall 6, systems supplier Klingelnberg, a leading manufacturer of precision measuring centers for the gear industry, will cover a broad range of topics, including the innovative field of optical metrology, with a range of P-series models. Here, the company is entering brand new territory.

Klingelnberg Precision Measuring Centers are used throughout the world for accurate measurement of gears and high-precision, axially symmetrical components. These measuring machines ensure that reliable measurement results are obtained not just in measurement rooms and geometry laboratories, but also in the shop-floor environment. The P series stands out for its patented, high-precision 3D NANOSCAN probe system as well as an easy-to-use roughness probe system, among other features. These tactile sensors have now been upgraded with a powerful optical sensor.

New possibilities: High-speed measurement data logging and high point density with Klingelnberg Optical Metrology

Klingelnberg Optical Metrology is a smart combination of tactile and optical metrology – and that is precisely what makes it different from other systems. An extremely rapid changeover from the tactile system to the optical sensor makes this a hybrid system that combines the advantages of both measurement methods.  The high-precision tactile measurement is ideally complemented by high-speed optical measurement data logging with a high point density.

Of course, a purely optical measurement is also possible. At Control, Klingelnberg will demonstrate high-speed, complete 3D digitizing of gear components, among other things. The measurement result takes the form of a high-resolution 3D point cloud, which can be evaluated in a number of ways or can undergo further processing as a CAD file.

“The development work for optical metrology is based on a number of factors,” explains Georg Mies, Head of Precision Measuring Center Development at Klingelnberg. “These include our many years of experience in a range of research projects, our close contact with sensor developers, and, last but not least, our good relationship with technical universities and institutes. Thanks to an ongoing dialog with our customers, combined with decades of experience in gear metrology, we are very familiar with the requirements of optical metrology.”

The new precision is black: Klingelnberg presents a new machine design

The new generation of the P series, which Klingelnberg will be presenting to an international audience of industry professionals in Stuttgart, includes the two P-series Precision Measuring Centers ─ the P 26 and the P 65. Not only has their proven technology been systematically advanced, their machine design has also been thoroughly revamped. The new design centers on a longlife color concept with a concentration of dark gray hues. This makes machines used directly on the shop floor less prone to showing dirt.

 P 65 – precision measurement with new, optional equipment options

In its “measurement toolkit” at Control, Klingelnberg has the new P 65 for medium diameter ranges, which makes use of this innovative measurement technology for the first time. The Klingelnberg Optical Metrology concept was successfully unveiled at the EMO 2017 trade show in Hannover, Germany, where it received a very positive customer response.

The new P 65 has even more to offer: For over a decade, Klingelnberg Precision Measuring Centers have been successfully operated on shop floors around the world using the optional three-point vibration isolation system developed by Klingelnberg. The integrated system familiar from the P 26 and P 40 has now also been implemented in the new P 65. Access to the C axis has also been significantly improved to achieve optimal workpiece loading. Thus, it was possible to increase the loading angle by over 50 % compared with the predecessor model of the P 65.

P 26 – roughness measurement for small diameter ranges

With the P 26, Klingelnberg now for the first time presents its tried-and-tested Precision Measuring Center for smaller diameter ranges in the new machine design. The machine and software concept of the P series is optimized for measurement of complex drive components.

The technology replaces up to four conventional measuring devices: gear measurement, general coordinate measurement, form measurement and roughness measurement. Every measurement task can be fully automated in a single setup.  The Klingelnberg roughness measurement system, which has already been successfully used in several hundred P machines, also includes measurement of surface roughness on internal gears. What differentiates the Klingelnberg system from many others is the possibility of systematic measurement using a fully automatic CNC-controlled measuring procedure.

P 16 G – all-rounder for cost-effective process Monitoring

With the P 16 G, Klingelnberg has a measuring center for axially symmetrical components in its portfolio that is designed around measurement tasks outside of gears. Thus, instead of gear cutting software, the P 16 G is equipped with software for dimension, form, and position measurement as standard.  Wherever gauges alone have previously been used for quality assurance, the P 16 G can perform the relevant measurements. The advantage: it measures any number of different components. A P 16 G can therefore replace component-specific gauges and multipoint measuring devices, which are capital-intensive and inflexible. In addition, this newest addition to the P series family, used directly on the shop floor, makes it possible to take advantage of statistical process control. This makes the P 16 G an economically appealing strategy for direct production monitoring.

Booth 6310, Hall 6: Experience expertise and industry know-how

Klingelnberg’s solutions bring it close to the market and the user – with regard to services and software solutions as well. Control visitors to Klingelnberg Booth 6310 in Hall 6 will be able to see this “live” for themselves. Professor Dr. Ing. Günther Gravel, Head of the Institute for Production Technology at the University for Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg, will once again be available as an external expert for measurement analyses and for stimulating discussions of industry issues.

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