Performance-plastics component and system manufacturer igus Inc. recently brought their mobile-exhibition roadshow to Cleveland where we Design World editors got the chance to rendezvous with some of their engineers and sales team. igus has used mobile exbits for several years but temporarily halted them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently igus resurrected its roadshow program to make it easier for customers to see firsthand how products can help solve design challenges.
In one chat, low-cost automation product manager Jan Hennecke gave us a tour of the machine planner within the RBTX.com site — first introduced in 2019 — to let designers automate tasks with solutions starting at $3,000 to $12,000.
“The platform is for users to automate various designs with our products as well as those from other companies providing low-cost components. These range from mechanical linkages to end effectors and vision cameras … there are lots and lots of components in the ecosystem,” explains Hennecke.
In fact, igus also offer three services via RBTX.
1. Designers can get a free engineering consultation with igus by simply booking an appointment via RBTX.com.
2. Designers can also use the website’s free machine planner. This includes a virtual environment in which designers can build and animate potential solutions.
3. The third service available via RBTX is a test before investment program. “Here we say to designers, ‘Hey — if you want an automated solution to handle a specific part, just send that part to us at igus. We’ll test which machine design works and verify the cycles times are acceptable and so on,’” explains Hennecke.
In fact, we’ve seen a couple examples of low-cost robotics possible to specify and purchase via RBTX. Earlier this year at the Automate 2023 show in Detroit, igus turned heads by putting real pricetags on some of these robotics in their tradeshow exhibits:
ICYMI @igus_Inc low-cost robotics on display at this year’s #AutomateShow • Josh Lewis mentions these are available on rbtx.com — marketplace for #lowcostrobotics • @therobotreport @DesignWorld @AutomateShow #detroit @wtwh_memich pic.twitter.com/EgALUNOhpL
— Elisabeth Eitel Young (@EitelonDesign) June 5, 2023
On a related note, this year igus announced a partnership with the MassRobotics Associated Network … as MassRobotics includes an extensive network of robotics suppliers, manufacturers, and service providers. “Being part of the MassRobotics Associated Network is a step forward in our mission to facilitate affordable, cutting-edge automation solutions,” says Hennecke in an official August announcement of the partnership.
One last feature on RBTX.com we got to see during igus’ roadshow exhibit is a section that showcases all working automated equipment designed and built with the low-cost components and systems on the site (for which igus has received permission from the end user to publicly profile).
“All the projects shown on this site have proven successful in the field for our customers … or through testing … or in our own factory. We have published about 450 solutions on RBTX.com and add more every week to give engineers a clearer idea of the exact components that are being used in specific applications,” says Hennecke.