Freedom for articulated arm robots: 7th axis from igus extends working space

Moving articulated robots without lubrication and maintenance: igus’s 7th robot axis for articulated arm robots is now compatible with all manufacturers (Image: igus)

The 7th axis offered by igus is compatible with all lightweight articulated arm robots worldwide thanks to a simple plug-and-play kit. Thus far, models from Universal Robots, Epson and the robolink series from igus have benefited from this increased mobility. Now Omron, Franka Emika, Doosan, Yuanda Robotics and many other lightweight robotics suppliers are joining the list.

The first users of the 7th axis, a linear axis with an electric toothed belt drive that igus launched in the summer of 2020, were thrilled according to Alexander Mühlens, head of automation technology at igus: “Suddenly, thanks to the additional axis, their articulated arm robots are as mobile as humans. This enables them to take on multiple tasks in automation environments making them significantly more productive.

“We therefore decided to extend the compatibility of the system to all manufacturers worldwide – such as Omron, Franka Emika, Doosan and Yuanda Robotics. With a matching Plug & Play kit of hardware and software we make customisation possible.”

Ready-to-connect solution for all lightweight articulated arm robots

In the future, all lightweight articulated arm robots with a weight range of 10 to 50kg or, depending on the dynamics, a payload of two to 20kg can use the 7th axis. igus supplies the system as a ready-to-connect complete solution from a single source. It consists of a drylin ZLW toothed belt axis with a length of up to 6m and two parallel rails made of aluminium. These can be mounted on the floor, walls or ceilings and a toothed belt drive with stepper motor for a positioning accuracy of 0.3mm.

Also included are an energy chain for guiding energy and data cables; a switch cabinet integration kit with cables; motor control system and the respective software solution, as well as a carriage with the adapter plate that igus adapts to the geometry of thousands of articulated arm robots. All components are perfectly matched, so that users can quickly put the system into operation and benefit from the new mobility without expensive design and tuning work.

Save operating costs with lubrication-free and maintenance-free features

Users save time and money not only in planning and purchasing the 7th axis, but also in operation. All made possible because the system works maintenance-free. The reason: the carriages move on the aluminium rails with the help of drylin linear technology. The high-performance plastic of the bearings enables low-friction and maintenance-free dry operation. The absence of lubricants also makes the system hygienic. The stainless steel version with FDA-compliant components makes the linear guide ideally suited for sectors such as the food industry.