SAFAS: Simple Affordable Flexible Automation Systems
Recent publications show that the worldwide demand for robots will rise. This is especially the case for so-called lightweight collaborative robots. As reported in, among others, the publication of BOM “Robotics, solutions for support, assistance and collaboration”.
For 18 months, Innotech worked intensively together with State of The Art Ltd. on the development of a lightweight robot and robot components. The robot, with a reach of 1m and a payload of about 4kg, will be suited for all sorts of handling and assembly, but can also be active in the agricultural/food and health sectors. It is a highly flexible, easy to operate robotic arm that can be programmed via a mobile phone.
Plastic harmonic drive
The main components of a robot arm are the joints with the gear system. Innotech has developed a plastic harmonic drive (strain wave) with a built-in brushless DC motor. The bearings are fully integrated into the joint structure. This not only saves weight but also saves costs. Moreover, it achieves an excellent performance.
The metal harmonic drive (strain wave gear) construction has been field-proven for several years in robots. Innotech developed this successful metal drive into a full plastic version, using high-end plastics. This enables smaller dimensions as well as a price and weight reduction. Also, electronics, such as the motor controller, are developed in-house.
Optimum performance and low price
The most significant characteristic of this plastic robot is the low price. Thanks to the smart design and use of plastics, the price of the robot will come down to less than €5,000 when mass produced. Patents are pending for both the specific joint construction and the entire robot arm. The prototype construction building has started and the first robot arms are expected to be ready by mid-2017.