Navigating the Future of Industrial Robotics: Overcoming Imprecision with the Archimedes Drive
In industrial robotics, precision is paramount. Every component plays a critical role, but speed reducers are often the culprits behind imprecision. This article takes a closer look at these challenges and introduces the Archimedes Drive as a groundbreaking solution.
The Problem of Imprecision in Robotics
Robots are only as precise as their components, and speed reducers are vital for control and accuracy. However, traditional reducers suffer from issues like backlash, wear, and tear. Backlash, the slight movement between gears without corresponding motion, leads to inaccuracies, particularly in tasks requiring high precision, such as assembling small electronics or performing delicate surgeries. Over time, these components wear down, exacerbating the problem and leading to costly downtime and maintenance.
Detailed Implications of Imprecision
The ripple effects of imprecision are vast. In manufacturing, a slight deviation can result in entire batches of defective products. In the medical field, it could mean the difference between success and failure in delicate procedures. Furthermore, imprecision can accelerate equipment wear, leading to more frequent repairs and replacements, increasing operational costs.
Comparing Speed Reducer Technologies
When examining alternatives, it’s clear that each has its strengths and weaknesses. Precision Planetary Drives, for instance, are renowned for delivering high torque and maintaining a certain level of precision. Initially, they exhibit a backlash starting from 1 arc-minute. However, as they endure wear and tear over time, this backlash can worsen, potentially increasing by an additional 1-3 arc-minutes. This gradual increase compromises their precision, especially in applications requiring utmost accuracy.
On the other hand, Strain Wave Drives are often chosen for their initial zero-backlash performance, a critical feature for high-precision tasks. Yet, these drives aren’t impervious to the effects of continuous use. Over time, they can develop a backlash of up to 1 arc-minute. While seemingly minor, this change can be significant in fields where every arc-minute counts.
Introducing the Archimedes Drive
The Archimedes Drive rethinks speed reduction. It uses a traction-based mechanism for true zero backlash, maintaining this precision consistently. With lost motion below 0.2 arc minutes, it ensures robotic movements are precise at all times.
The Archimedes Drive utilizes a so-called “compound planetary traction drive” principle. In essence, the Archimedes Drive is based on a mechanism that does not use gear teeth like traditional gear systems, but rather it uses compressed, smooth, hollow cylinders (also called traction rollers or flexrollers) to generate tractional torque transfer from the motor to the output.
This design fully removes backlash through the use of constant tractive rolling contact. The mechatronic application can run without any vibrations from backlash impact, making it much easier to control the system. Because the traction rollers have smooth contact, there is no clearance between parts, meaning that all the movement is transferred from the motor to the output application with an efficiency of over 90%. Furthermore, this tractive gear-free contact makes the Archimedes Drive more efficient, precise, and quiet than traditional speed reducers, leading to improved overall lifetime and system performance.
Why the Archimedes Drive is Superior
Beyond zero backlash, the Archimedes Drive offers low vibrations and noise, crucial in sensitive environments. Its robustness and efficiency set a new standard for speed reducers, enhancing performance and reliability, and maintaining this standard throughout its lifespan. This is a stark contrast to the geared systems, which, despite their initial advantages, degrade in precision over time. The Archimedes Drive’s ability to sustain its performance without the deterioration seen in other technologies marks a significant advancement in the realm of speed reducers.
A summary of the Archimedes Drive’s benefits in industrial robotics:
- Unbeatable precision thanks to its true zero backlash and lost motion <0.2 arcminutes.
- 90% efficiency means less energy wasted through vibrations, heat, and noise. This lowers costs and improves the quality of operations.
- Overtorque protection keeps robots from suffering damage or critical failure in case of an overtorque, keeping workers, products and robots safe.
- Silent operation with a maximum noise level of 50.2 dbA creates a better working environment.
- Fast cycle times enable higher productivity, with an input speed of up to 8,000 rpm.
- Longer lifetime due to reduced wear on internal components. This decreases the need for maintenance and lowers the cost of spare parts, so the robots can run for longer without stress.
- Smooth controllability & transparency thanks to the smooth surface, gear-free design. The drive’s internal components are in constant tractive contact, translating the power directly between the input and output, saving time spent on recalibrations.
- Continuous reduction ratios that can be customized to your needs, no matter the size. This way you can innovate outside the box.
Conclusion and Future Outlook
The Archimedes Drive is more than an innovation; it’s a paradigm shift in industrial robotics. By addressing the fundamental issues of precision and longevity, it opens up new possibilities across various industries. As we navigate the future, embracing such innovations will be key to achieving the levels of accuracy and efficiency the modern world demands.