How a Toothless Gearbox May be a Breakthrough for Robot Accuracy
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Typical industrial robots have accuracies of ±0.1 mm, with some models capable of even higher accuracy. Gear backlash can reduce this accuracy in robots and other precision servomotors, such as in CNC machinery. However, machining gears with minimal backlash is costly. A new drive, developed by Dutch startup IMSystems, could provide a more cost-effective option for these applications. The new drive essentially replaces the gears in an epicyclic or planetary gear train with smooth frictional rollers.
IMSystems and its Archimedes Drive recently won first place in the Automate 2019 Launch Pad Pitch Competition, winning $10,000 in prize money. IMSystems was one of seven startups selected to pitch their product to a judging capital made up of executives from the robotics industry and the world of venture capital.
Thibaud Verschoor, co-founder of IMSystems, reflects: “Competition was hot. A lot of great inventions were presented during the competition.” Thibaud presented IMSystems’s Archimedes Drive. The innovative toothless gearbox may offer advantages when it comes to precision, maintenance and cost – key improvements targeted by the robotics industry. To come to their decision, the Automate judges used criteria which included the “disruptiveness” of the innovation, market fit, business model and the professionalism of the team.
The $10,000 prize money will be invested in further optimizing life cycle testing of the Archimedes Drive and promoting the Archimedes Drive Development Kit.
Last week, IMSystems revealed its plans to start manufacturing development kits to be delivered in Q4 2019. This announcement came in response to pent-up demand for the innovative new gear.