Application Stories

Lightweight robotics for medical manufacturing

Tech Talks by igus helping solve design engineering problems with motion plastics

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Learn more at A number of lightweight robotic systems are available on the market from manufacturers such as Universal Robots, ABB, and KUKA, which are fully assembled standardized systems complete with drive. Other manufacturers, such as igus, offer robotic joint systems, which are modular, enabling them to fit into very small spaces, as well as easily adjust to different tasks. These systems, while used to complete similar tasks, are actually very different technologies with their own advantages and drawbacks. Lightweight Robots vs. Lightweight Robotic Joint Systems Lightweight robotic arms are a complete physical system with included controller systems and software, which can be programmed to complete a range of tasks. These systems are an excellent all-in-one solution for light duty tasks in manufacturing facilities, but are not able to adapt when changes to the robot's physical structure is required, or if a different controller, type of programming, or other changes are required. Robotic joint systems, on the other hand, are ideal for this type of flexibility. Where a robotic arm is designed by the robotic manufacturer, a robotic joint system is completely modular. As the name infers, robotic joints are "mix-and-match" systems, based around the joint technology system to create custom robotic solutions for a range of applications, and custom designed to fit into a range of spaces. If only a single joint is needed to complete a very simple operation, only the required components are purchased and installed, rather than the all-or-nothing robotic arm. While still much smaller in size than large scale industrial robots, lightweight robotic arms still average several feet high, with space requirements for movement of the arm to perform its designated task. In applications where there is a tight space requirement, modular robotic joints can be designed specifically for that space, while still meeting all other application requirements. Modular joint systems, like the igus robolink system, can be adapted for custom needs as necessary and whenever needed for quick adjustment to the manufacturing facility or process, and using a range of available design, material, and drive options. Rather than returning to the robotic manufacturer to inquire about Lightweight, modular robotic systems allow for mix-and-match design freedom A chemical genomics robot, tasked with retrieving assay plates from incubators

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