With the help of the game engine Unity, igus, the Germany-based manufacturer of motion plastics, has given its online configurator for low-cost cartesian robots a facelift, making its operation even more efficient. Now, users can configure, program, test, and price an individual gantry robot in just five minutes.
With increased efficiency, reduced errors, and lower costs, many companies are now recognizing the benefits of process automation. But choosing the right robot can be complicated and time-consuming. Last year, igus developed an online configurator to make it easier for customers to get started with automation.
The online configurator makes it easy for customers to configure a ready-to-connect, low-cost gantry robot based on igus sliding drylin linear guides with just a few clicks. Gantry robots are available without a control system, starting at $1,500.
"Since the launch of the configurator, we have received a lot of positive feedback on the gamification approach and intuitive usability," says Alexander Mühlens, head of the Automation Technology and Robotics division at igus.
"Nevertheless, we asked ourselves: Can we continue to improve operation with this feedback? The answer was a resounding yes. As a result, we have further optimized the configurator and added new functions."
Configure Individual Robots Even Easier
For the design of the new configurator, igus developers partnered with Unity Technologies, a real-time 3D development platform for creating multiplatform games and interactive experiences. As a result, the latest version of the igus online configurator is much more intuitive than previous versions.
To start, the user simply selects from a list of available gantry robots: line, flat or room gantry. The online configurator allows users to select the gantry robot that best meets the requirements of their specific application.
3D Model Visualizes the Installation Space and Movements
Once the kinematics are selected, sliders are used to set the stroke lengths of the X, Y, and Z axes with millimeter precision. A dynamic 3D model of the linear robot, which can be rotated in all directions, visualizes the settings in real time.
"We have added a new function at this point," says Mühlens happily. "With one click, it is now possible to also display the installation space of the linear robot. We use colored areas for this. This gives users a visual impression of how much space their automation solution takes up."
With the online configurator, it is also possible to define robot movements by entering a few parameters without any programming knowledge.
"With this function, we follow the motto 'test before invest'. Thanks to the moving 3D model, operators gain a feeling for robot movements and cycle times," says Mühlens. After online programming, the file can be displayed in virtual reality via an app or loaded into the actual robot control system.
To ensure transparency in terms of costs, users also receive an instant display of the price of their automation solution. Advanced users can also export the 3D model as a STEP file and process it further in any CAD program.
Pre-Assembled Gantry Robots Ship Within 24 Hours
Once configured, the user then selects a suitable control system that completes the gantry robot into a ready-to-connect low-cost robotic solution. The newly configured robot is then ready to ship within 24 hours.
Additional components such as grippers, vision systems, motors, and sensors are available to automation novices at the RBTX automation marketplace.
Linear robots are available without a control system for $1,500 per unit, and with a control system and software for around $6,000.