igus is accelerating low-cost automation with the world’s first cobot plastic gearbox and a digital ecosystem.

The ReBeL service robot is available – also as a smart version – at only 8.2 kg in weight. The plug-and-play variant is one of the lightest cobots on the market. Digital services such as the RBTXpert and new online offerings enable customers to create complete automation solutions in just a few days that don’t break the bank.

The core is the plastic gearbox - the ReBeL cobot is now available with a digital universe for low-cost integration in just a few days. Image credit: igus GmbH

The core is the plastic gearbox – the ReBeL cobot is now available with a digital universe for low-cost integration in just a few days. Image credit: igus GmbH

 With the ReBeL, igus relies entirely on its motion plastics expertise: plastic makes the robot the lightest service robot with cobot function in its class. igus develops and manufactures all mechanical components that make up the ReBeL. Its payload is 2 kg and its reach amounts to 664 millimetres. Repeatability is +/- 1mm at seven picks per minute. At its core is the world’s first industrial grade cobot gearbox made of plastic.

“Behind these numbers are 1,041 tests conducted in our in-house laboratory since 2019, including tribological and thermodynamic tests on 15 material combinations and tolerance chains. A particularly great challenge was the heat generation in the fully integrated strain wave gear units, which are thermally influenced by the motor. In the development phase, we therefore also focused on larger motors and better efficiency to significantly reduce heat generation,” says Alexander Mühlens, Head of the Low-Cost Automation Business Unit at igus. “This enabled us to improve continuously and ultimately quintuple the number of cycles to two million, which is equivalent to a normal service life of two years.”

Full transparency in operation for preventive maintenance

igus has also applied its motion plastics know-how to power electronics, and for the first time developed an encoder using conductive plastic tracks. This allows the temperature, current and number of rotations, cycles and iterations to be measured precisely. Thanks to a cloud connection with webcam, a dashboard clearly displays all generated data live. This gives customers full transparency of their ReBeL during operation in the form of key indicators such as wear, cycle time and quantities.

Inexpensive, complete solution, quick to integrate

The smart ReBeL is available in two variants: one is an open-source version without robot control system, power supply unit or software; the other is a plug-and-play variant with robot, control software and power supply unit. In line with the igus “build or buy” approach, customers can, in addition to the complete system, choose from the individual ReBeL strain wave gears (diameters of 80 and 105mm). Torque is 3Nm (80) or 25Nm (105) at 6rpm, with a transmission ratio of 50:1. Individual components, integration support as well as hardware and software from more than 40 partners – with the assurance that everything is 100% compatible with everything else; this includes a wide variety of robot kinematics, cameras, software, grippers, power electronics, motors, sensors and control systems.