igus is expanding through investments in low-cost automation, and has now taken a majority stake in Commonplace Robotics headquartered in Piesendorf near Osnabrück. As an integrator, Commonplace Robotics specializes in intuitive control systems and software and power electronics for robots, in both industry and education. The two companies have been cooperating extensively for six years. They have developed, among other things, the igus Robot Control, which complements the low-cost igus kinematics made of high-performance plastic.
Dr. Christian Mayer, who worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Engineering and Automation at the time, founded Commonplace Robotics 11 years ago. The name says it all. Make it cost-effective and easy to integrate and operate the bots so that they become “familiar” – meaning they can be used anywhere. The first products to have a proprietary control system and power electronics were teaching robots.
Dr. Meyer approached igus in 2016 because he found that igus robotic kinetics matched his vision of a “common niche” – cost-effective, simple and suitable for industry. Since then, the two companies have jointly developed products such as the iRC igus Robot Control, actuator, and ReBeL cobot. New developments can be implemented quickly thanks to the high level of vertical integration of Commonplace Robotics – from firmware and software to cabinet chassis switching and circuit board assembly.
Pushing low-cost automation forward with increased innovative power
“Many customers are surprised that they can perform simple robot tasks in just 30 minutes without any programming knowledge,” said Frank Blass, CEO of igus GmbH. “We are very pleased that after extensive collaboration over the past six years, it is now possible to take a more focused approach towards low-cost automation.”
With this acquisition, Commonplace Robotics and igus are combining their innovative strengths. “We are looking forward to exciting technology projects with igus. The low-cost RBTX robotics platform, operated by igus, is bringing new demands from customers from all walks of industry into our labs every day,” said Dr. Meyer. “A lot of this can be implemented quickly, especially as we scale. with this investment.
The latest cooperation product is the ReBeL cobot for 4,970 euros, including the control system. The actuator, also available as a single component, combines the know-how of igus plastic in the gearbox with power electronics and software from Commonplace Robotics. With six axles, the ReBeL can handle a load of up to 2 kg with a range of 664 mm and a net weight of just 8.2 kg.
Orders and orders come from traditional areas of applications such as quality control and pick-and-place applications in mechanical engineering. However, new application areas such as restaurant automation or urban farming are now more frequent.
Interested parties can learn more and get a live demonstration of the innovations developed together at Motek in Stuttgart (Hall 7, booths 7320 and 7321) and SPS in Nuremberg (Hall 4, booth 310).
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