GMG develops new robotic grippers with plastic plain bearings from igus

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Mohsen Saadat has all the time been creative and technically gifted. As a younger boy, the 5-year-old Iranian invented his personal toys, constructing small automobiles out of wire, for instance – with none instruments. The now 75-year-old’s ardour for expertise has by no means left.

At 19, Saadat moved to Germany, studied engineering, and taught as a professor. In 1991, he based GMG – Gesellschaft für modulare Greifersysteme in Soest, North Rhine-Westphalia. His objective was to mix greater design principle scientific strategies with state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.

“Inside a couple of years, we efficiently developed light-weight and versatile gripper techniques for robots and automation techniques based mostly on the human hand,” says Saadat proudly.

He satisfied quite a few industries of his expertise. The grippers, which have as much as six individually movable fingers and, in some circumstances, over 100 joints, are used to deal with automobile wheels within the automotive business, to carry up sacks when filling them with bulk materials, or to bundle sausage and cheese within the meals business.

A versatile and torsional inflexible tower because the lengthy arm of the gripper

gripperNonetheless, one of many innovations that make Saadat proudest is a multifunctional lengthy arm gripper system. The gripper can robotically pack manufactured parts – resembling brake discs – with three fingers, place them in packing containers after which place a layer of protecting cardboard over them utilizing a vacuum gripper.

“On this gripper system, a creatively designed, versatile, and torsional inflexible tower serves because the lengthy arm of the gripper,” explains Saadat.

“Relying on the duty, gripping components emerge from this tower that mechanically picks up parts. After the work is full, the gripping and suction components retract to their beginning place inside the tower.”

Which bearings are appropriate for finger joints?

One of many challenges within the improvement course of was to seek out appropriate bearings for the transferring steel parts of the gripper, such because the finger joints. All of the gripper parts needed to be low-friction, abrasion-resistant, upkeep and lubrication-free, and simple to put in. Subsequently Saadat rapidly dominated out conventional rolling bearings.

gripper“Rolling bearings are appropriate for sustained rotational movement. They require the manufacture of extra correct match, contain advanced meeting and disassembly, and lead to metallic noise,” acknowledged Saadat.

These disadvantages led Saadat to go for another: plain bearings product of high-performance plastics from igus – a movement plastics specialist from Cologne that tribologically optimizes plastics for industrial purposes.

“We have now been counting on plain bearings from igus since 1991. It was, due to this fact, clear from the outset that the polymer bearings would even be used within the multifunctional lengthy arm gripper. There may be just about no various to those bearings for us in automation expertise, the place there are fixed backwards and forwards actions,” says Saadat.

One other benefit is that, in comparison with conventional steel bearings, the polymer bearings are gentle, corrosion-free, and maintenance-free. They permit dry operation without having lubrication, because of built-in strong lubricants.

“That’s a crucial specification. As a result of we couldn’t anticipate our prospects to should lubricate the gripper frequently,” says Saadat.

Nearly no indicators of damage after 200,000 cycles

The polymer bearings from igus are so strong that the bearings will outlast a gripper lifetime of round 30 years.

“This is a bonus for our multifunctional gripper, as the upkeep effort is decreased and productiveness will increase,” continues Saadat.

A check within the igus in-house laboratory additionally demonstrates how wear-resistant the bearings are. The igus polymer bearings had been examined in opposition to traditional steel bearings within the laboratory. Each bearing sorts pivoted on a gas-nitrided St52 metal shaft – with a load of 30MPa and a pace of 0.01 meter per second.

“Within the case of the steel bearings, the gliding layer was worn after 60,000 cycles,” says Stefan Loockmann-Rittich, head of the iglidur bearings enterprise unit. “The iglide G plain bearings, alternatively, confirmed virtually no indicators of damage even after 200,000 cycles. They’re due to this fact ideally fitted to dependable and maintenance-free use over a few years.”

Specs additionally apply to a different bearing utilized in GMG’s multifunctional gripper. The gripper additionally makes use of drylin® R linear bearings, which allow a managed and protected linear motion of the gripper linkage. “The igus bearings persuade us repeatedly, so we’ll proceed to depend on the iglide polymers sooner or later,” sums up Saadat.

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