igus: Automation made easy with new modular motion concept

The Apiro robot kinematics feature durable with a flexible design and require no maintenance.

igus has developed a new modular motion system: the drygear Apiro. Design engineers can choose from three lubrication-free worm gears for standard movement, inverted movement, and linear movement. The system can be applied in solutions ranging from the simple linear robot to complex humanoid and animatronic robots.

The sec°mat IC One ice-cream vending machine by Bochum-based Seco Manufaktur features igus’ Apiro robot kinematics for both its durable, low-maintenance operation and user experience. The sec°mat IC One features a touch display with a shopping cart function. Users can assemble their ice cream creations, proceed with contactless payment, and make more than one order.

For the ice-cream vending machine, developers needed cost-effective robot kinematics which were flexible, durable, and maintenance-free.

While igus developers had initially considered a SCARA robot, Seco Manufaktur CEO shared that “it turned out that the error rate over time is quite high if this set-up is not in a factory where it can be maintained constantly. Longer maintenance intervals and durability were particularly important to us.”

Flexible design with modular system and multi-functional profile

The drygear Apiro gearbox system presented an ideal solution with its tribologically optimised worm gears. The corrosion-free, chemically resistant polymers ensure high stability, low weight, a long service life, and no maintenance. The joints are attached by a multi-functional profile made of aluminium; drive shafts can thus be inserted through a hollow space in the middle, facilitating the action of the inverted worm gear and allowing the aluminium profile to rotate. It is thus ideally suited for use in robotics and rotating applications.

On the other hand, the worm gear allows the aluminium profile to travel linearly. All worm gears also feature minimal clearance. In addition to the three-axis linear robots, the sec°mat’s final complete system has two E2-series energy chains and chainflex cables.

“It is not only technically optimal, but also an eye-catcher,” says Kuhn. “The ice cream is retrieved where the customer can see the process, since we weren’t interested in a coldly industrial solution. We wanted the system to be visually attractive and arouse user curiosity.”