igus Announces 7th Axis to Extend Range of Movement for Articulated Arm Robots

September 25, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

igus introduces its new 7th axis solution to provide greater movement range for Universal Robots and robolink bots. 

igus first began business in 1964 in Cologne, Germany, and grew its expertise over 20 years in supplying complex polymer components to its customers. With headquarters based in Germany, igus runs its North American operations out of Providence, R.I. 

The company expanded between 1985 and 2016, growing from 40 to over 2,950 employees between its head office in Germany 35 subsidiary companies. igus’ product portfolio covers four main areas, including cables and cable carriers, linear motion technology, bearing technology, and low-cost automation robotics. 


Demonstrating the 7th-axis robot. Image courtesy of igus


The company provides innovative solutions for agriculture, energy, mining, aviation, infrastructure, medical technology, 3D printing, automotive, and more. The company recently announced the release of a ready-to-connect 7th axis that can be added to articulated arm robots.

The axis comes available with adapter kits for ZLW toothed belt axes, which extend the radius of action of a given robot by the so-called 7th axis.


The drylin Toothed Belt Axis ZLW-20

The toothed belt axis from igus is self-lubricating and comes with a choice of 3-axis distances (120/160/200mm). The axis also enables higher torque support depending on user requirements. The belt axis is designed with a robust wide round belt, a central belt adjustment on the carriage, and features dirt resistance due to its open design and zero lubrication.

Customers can either purchase a belt axis made with hard-anodized aluminum or corrosion-resistant stainless steel. The stroke length of the axis is up to 3000mm and a load capacity axial up to 75kg. The load capacity radial is up to 300kg. 


Integration with Universal Robots

Robot control software by igus is available for easy control. The drylin can be integrated with Universal Robots (UR) through URCaps. URCaps is a platform that provides distributors and integrators with proven combinations of robots and accessories.

Users can incorporate UR with cobot clamps or triflex cable carriers for robots. For easy fitting of the toothed belt axis to robots, igus offers several solutions for UR3, UR5, and UR10 robots, robolink DP robots, and DCi robots.


The drylin Toothed Belt Axis ZLW-20. image courtesy of igus. 


“A customer who acquires the new complete system receives, on the one hand, an adapter plate for easy attachment of the robot and the energy chain to the axis and, on the other, the corresponding integration solution, in other words the switch cabinet with cables, motor controller and the respective software solution,” said Alexander Mühlens, Head of Automation Technology at igus GmbH in a recent news release.

The triflex collaborative robot cable management kit offers triflex R TRE cable carrier links (30mm or 40mm), lock clips, a strain relief bracket, hook and loop, or plastic mounting brackets, and an assembly tool. Clamps are silicon free and, therefore, suitable for the automotive industry. 

All of these fittings are suitable for a variety of robot arm parameters and universal applications. If customers opt for light plastic brackets for assembly of their bots, these are also available from another kit provided by igus.