By July 29, 2015 Read More →

Robot drive components impact on performance

150729_HarmonicTalking about the qualities and capabilities of today’s industrial robots, Harmonic Drive managing director Graham Mackrell argues that the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts.

Pictured right: Harmonic Drive’s SDH is a shorter gear component for use in robotics, addressing the trend for smaller, lighter rigs

“After reading a recent white paper from Denso Robotics concerning the costs of owning a small assembly robot I got to thinking about all the little things that affect cost,” he says. “When choosing a robot it’s important to consider the guidelines Denso outlines in its paper, but to also carefully look at the parts that make it tick.

“Beyond the initial cost of purchasing a small assembly robot, the costs of its maintenance and the energy it consumes can run on and on – especially if internal parts, such as gears, are sub-par.

“A machine using unsuitable gears can incur increased energy bills, increase the level of maintenance required, reduce accuracy creating increased waste, drive up production costs, and decrease lifespan. Reducing these costs and making robotics a more gainful investment is one of the key benefits of our ColbaltLine series of gears.”

Harmonic Drive Cobaltline gears are included, for example, on the KR Agilus robot from Kuka to deliver safe and reliable power transmission. According to Harmonic Drive, the Cobaltline series gears have 30% more torque capacity and lifetime increased by 40%, when compared to the HFUC technology. This has been achieved, says the company, by optimising the Flexspline and Circular Spline teeth and adapting the shape of the Wave generator.

In addition, Harmonic drive has introduced a shorter gear component for use in robotics, addressing the trend for smaller, lighter rigs. The new SHD drive has a hollow shaft incorporated into the centre of the unit with a diameter ranging from 11 to 40mm, allowing the feed-through of cabling, supply lines and other services.

I would advise anyone who is planning to buy a robot to request specific information from robotics manufacturers

Available in six sizes, from 14-40 with equivalent weights of 0.33 to 3.09kg, the SHD-2SH series units are available with a repeatable peak torque from 12 to 453Nm and reduction ratios of 50, 100 and 160:1. This enhanced power-to-weight ratio is complemented by a shorter Flexspline and heavy duty output bearings.

The SHD-2SH series has been specially adapted to incorporate heavy-duty cross roller output bearings to minimise the overall length. The bearing can withstand both high axial and radial forces as well as high tilting moments.

“I would advise anyone who is planning to buy a robot to request specific information from robotics manufacturers,” concludes Mackrell. “This not only helps ensure they get an accurate machine capable of performing to their needs, it also gives a more precise view of where long term costs may be incurred.”

Visit the Harmonic Drive website for more information.

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