Gear effects have a strong influence on the path accuracy of robots. Nabtesco and KEBA have been working on this issue for many years – so far each on their own: While Nabtesco has constantly been increasing the accuracy of the gears, KEBA has continuously been improving the software models compensating robot inaccuracies. However, with lacking transparency, the determination of corresponding parameters is a challenge. Therefore, the two international technology leaders have now decided to take an unusual step: For the first time, a transmission manufacturer and an automation expert are working together on the vision of designing the most precise robot in the world. This involves the targeted integration of transmission-specific data and characteristics – directly from the manufacturer – into the robot controller.
Robot with the precision of a machine tool
The goal of the cooperation between Nabtesco and KEBA is to enable customers to manufacture robots with a point or path accuracy of a hundredth of a millimeter. This opens up new, fascinating possibilities for robot, machine, and system manufacturers. In the future, high-precision handling and processing tasks can be carried out by robots with the precision of a machine tool. The result: maximum flexibility with no compromises in quality.
Software instead of sensors
Compared to intelligent sensor technology, the software-based solution offers numerous advantages, including cost effectiveness, reduced system complexity and better data quality. Another plus is that the two companies can combine their R&D power. Nabtesco carries out extensive tests before a gearbox is launched on the market and therefore knows exactly how the gearbox behaves when it wears out and how factors like temperature and lubricants come into play. All these parameters are incorporated into the KEBA control system.
Upgrade for the robot controller
By bundling their know-how and combining gear technology with digital services, Nabtesco and KEBA are able to create a unique solution that is unequaled in the history of robotics. Two stages are planned: a Nabtesco add-on with generalized data of a particular gearbox model, and an additional upgrade for even higher precision with the specific data of the gearboxes ultimately to be installed. Currently, the project is in the test phase. A first pioneer application will be implemented in cooperation with autonox Robotics GmbH.
A first in robotics: A transmission manufacturer and a control expert are joining forces. Left to right: Marcus Löw (Managing Director) and Daniel Obladen (Head of Sales General Industries) from Nabtesco with Harald Dumhart (Product Manager) and Christian Augdopler (Vice President) from KEBA © Nabtesco Precision Europe GmbH / KEBA AG
Both robotics experts bundle their know-how. | Picture: KEBA AG / Nabtesco Precision Europe GmbH