robolink® D – direct drive articulated arm supports lean automation

Complementing its robolink® W low-cost, wire-driven modular robotics kit, igus® introduces robolink® D – a direct drive articulated joint kit. Currently available in three joint sizes – size 20, 30 and 50 – the new development is based on self-lubricated PRT slewing ring bearings, with the joints driven by a worm gear drive and NEMA 17 or 23 stepper motor.

“Until now, the stepper motors were not placed in the robotic joint itself, but instead in a separate drive unit, driven by means of Bowden wires coupled to it,” says Robert Dumayne, director, igus®. “In order to carry higher loads with better precision, robolink® D is our second concept where the motors are integrated into the joints. The direct drive makes the robolink articulated system tougher and more durable than before, opening up more opportunities for lean automation.”

The robolink® D components kit, which comprises articulated joints, consisting of iglidur® PRT slewing ring bearings, a worm gear and a plastic housing, that can be optionally equipped with igus® stepper motors and connecting components, as well as limit switches for zero point definition. Designed with the ability to be collaborative, or ‘soft’, robolink® D gives robot manufacturers, mechanical engineers and automation specialists the opportunity to develop safe working environments for repetitive tasks or in applications where robotic movements would enhance productivity. Potential applications areas range from automotive production to medical technology.

“With robolink® D, it is possible to use the individual articulated joints as a construction kit to make an articulated arm with up to 6 degrees of freedom,” adds Robert Dumayne. In addition to the articulated joints, different connection elements (made of plastic) and connection tubes (made of aluminium) are also available. STEP files of the connecting parts are available free of charge; the control elements are not included.

Whether used as individual components, or as a complete system, the modular design allows a high degree of flexibility to be maintained. The designer is free to select their own control solution, with many options available, including stepper motor control cards, PLCs or educational solutions such as Mathlab, Labview and ROS. For more information about robolink® D, please visit: or call igus® directly on 01604 677240.

robolink® D – direct drive articulated arm supports lean automation



Its igus® UK’s 25th Birthday this week, so we wanted to share with you 25 facts about igus®

– Enjoy!

  1.        The name “igus®” is derived from the German phrase Industrie Spritzguß which means the technology of moulding.


  1. igus® employs around 3000 people in the world.


  1. All employees and visitors at igus® receive free food in the igus® canteen, every day.


  1. igus® was one of the first industrial companies to put a website address on a print advertisement in the UK.


  1. In the UK, igus® can be found on average at an exhibition every 4 weeks.


  1. igus® UK’s longest serving employee is Dave Spence who has been with us for 22 years.


  1. igus® does not have a typical hierarchy of management, instead igus adopts a “solar system” where the customer is at the centre and everyone is a manager.


  1. One of the fastest growing areas in igus® is the installation of e-chains® on site at the customer.


  1. igus® is the first (and so far only) company to manufacture 3D printable engineering plastics.


  1. igus® started making plain bearings before e-chains®.


  1. The reason why igus® launched the chainflex® cable range is that all other cables failed when used in e-chains®, igus® developed and manufactured a cable which did not.


  1. Although now retired, the founder of igus®, Gunther Blase is still very involved and visits the factory most days.


  1. Both the smallest and largest plastic e-chain® in the world is made by igus®.


  1. igus® launched the first e-chain® electronic catalogue on floppy disk in 1991.


  1. In 2011 igus® manufactured the first plastic bearing range made from bio-polymers in the world.


  1. You can buy over 100,000 standard catalogue products from igus®.


  1. As well as moulding all components, igus® also has their own on-site tooling company called i-form.


  1. The igus® factory in Cologne was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw. His other famous designs include Heathrow AirportT5, Leicester space centre.


  1. Based on a sales engineer making 16 visits a week, one sales engineer over 25 years would have made 19,200 customer visits.


  1. For 25 years the slogan at igus® has been “in today out today”, the goal is that all customer orders are shipped within 24 hours.


  1. A team member of igus® UK marketing once had a UK top 10 hit single.


  1. An igus® UK sales man once played for Norwich City.


  1. An igus® UK director once represented England for rifle shooting.


  1. The most unusual insurance claim by igus® UK so far is when a race horse jumped on a company car and flattened it.


  1. igus® bearings were used in one of Lenny Kravitz guitars.

igus® Video of the Week – online 3D printing service with instant quotations

igus® Video of the Week – online 3D printing service with instant quotations

igus® has introduced a new online 3D printing service using lubrication-free, abrasion-resistant iglidur® tribo-filament. These parts are extremely strong even when compared to traditionally machined and injection-moulded techniques, making them suitable for low cost prototyping and low volume manufacturing.

For an instant quotation, easy-to -use online 3D printing service can be completed in three simple steps …

  1. Drag and drop your STL file into the igus® configurator
  2. With the 360° viewer, check your model and enter the units of measurement
  3. Select a suitable tribo-filament, the desired order quantity and place your selection in the shopping basket to instantly receive a quotation

Once the order is placed and depending on the complexity of the design, your product can be delivered in as little as 24 hours.

3D Printer Office igus® Video of the Week – online 3D printing service with instant quotations.3

Predict the future with the worlds first intellegent cable.

igus® takes the next step towards industry 4.0 by developing the worlds first chainflex® cable that warns the user before it fails. If problems arise, such as the threat of a core breakage, the cable issues a warning while in operation. This enables the user to replace the cable before it has a chance to fail.

A big stride for preventive maintenance and therefore,  increased plant availability. The cable will be presented at the 2016 Hannover Messe.

If you are already interested, you are welcome to gain initial experience as a beta tester.

Predict the future with the worlds first intellegent cable

Video of the Week – solving the productivity puzzle for OEMs

Video of the Week - solving the productivity puzzle for OEMs

Matthew Aldridge, managing director of igus®, introduces one solution to the UK’s productivity puzzle – by intellectually outsourcing secondary tasks, OEMs can concentrate on their core skills.

“We are experiencing a rise in demand for subassemblies that can be slotted directly into industrial machines,” says Aldridge.

Customised readychain® is a more cost effective way to order multiple components, because the cables and hoses come pre-assembled in the energy chain. Advantages of choosing readychain® are clear to see, in terms of reducing cost and time for the OEM, eliminating inventory costs, and increasing factory capacity. In addition, readychain® is fully tested and certified and delivered with a guarantee.

Video of the Week - solving the productivity puzzle for OEMs.2

Tribo-tape for canal boat hatches

The sliding hatch on canal boats is nowadays as ever present as the main entrance, the practicality of a sliding hatch, the intended ease of use and its space saving abilities are the main reasons for their presence. They usually consist of two pieces of angle iron welded to the roof of the boat. The hatch then slides forward and backwards on runners.

However there are some issues that can occur affecting the hatch movement such as metal to metal wear, making the hatch hard to manoeuvre and also the potential for gouge marks to occur in the runners from forced movement. Adverse weather conditions can also play a part and being exposed to the elements over time will cause rust and corrosion which in turn will also affect the movement of the sliding hatch.

Some common preventatives for such issues are standard teak wood and Vaseline and PU sealant which can work temporarily but aren’t long term solutions and can actually cause dirt and debris to build up on the runners.

igus® has recently developed its new tribo-tape material, made from tribologically optimised iglidur A160 material. Designed to reduce wear on a wide range of applications due to its low friction and abrasion values, the tribo-tape has maintenance-free dry-running properties that in turn, improve all types of sliding surfaces. Tribo-tape can improve the function of a sliding hatch door by eliminating alignment issues from wood expansion, there is also no need for lubrication so dirt and dust particles are not attracted which also assists with the long term smooth running of the sliding hatch.


For your free sample of tribo-tape click here

Tribo-tape for canal boat hatches

Tribo-tape for canal boat hatches.2


Video of the Week – drylin® E – pick and place – inspection flat gantry

igus® Video of the Week – online 3D printing service with instant quotations

Automating tasks greatly assists manufacturing effectiveness, enabling lower costs, shorter production times and faster response with local production. The drylin® E modular gantry system from igus® provides a simple, affordable and reliable way of automating pick-and-place, test and measurement, or labelling and marking functions.

A complete system can be easily constructed utilising drylin® E linear modules, toothed belts, gear racks and NEMA stepper motors. igus® energy chains and cabling are used to protect wiring during movement and assist gantry Operation.

The maintenance-free drylin® E flat gantry requires no external lubrication and offers clean, corrosion free operation. It is suitable for loads up to 30kg, and can reach speeds of up to 1.5m/s. Go to the igus® website, configure a gantry to have a full system assembled and shipped in 24 hours at:

Video of the Week – igus® e-chains® for offshore applications

igus® Video of the Week – online 3D printing service with instant quotations

A rugged, yet light weight alternative to the traditional steel drag chains used in the offshore industry, igus® offshore e-chains® make an ideal fit for harsh environments or those hard to access places. Available in a wide selection of sizes, they can accommodate cables and hoses with large diameters safely to the application, whether it’s offshore, on drilling rigs or ships, or in the harbour.


With their tribopolymer structure, offshore e-chains® are naturally UV and sea water resistant and, because they are self-lubricating, do not require continued maintenance. Their strength allows hanging applications of up to 200m in length, whilst maintaining a flexible, modular design that is quick and easy to install.


Offshore e-chains® can be used in many ways in various offshore applications, including chain-block and e-chain drum versions. ATEX solutions are also available. To watch a short clip showing some of the potential applications where igus® offshore e-chains® can be used, please visit:

igus® shows world’s largest plastic energy chain, the E4.350, at Subsea Expo 2016

At this year’s Subsea Expo, which runs from 3rd – 5th February at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (Aberdeen AECC), we will be showcasing the E4.350 ESD energy chain – the largest plastic energy chain in the world, as well as introducing Corry Sutherland, the company’s recently appointed Oil & Gas product specialist.

High-performance plastic brings significant benefits to Offshore industry

The E4.350 ESD energy chain has been developed specifically for offshore applications, and other industries where oversized cables and hoses need to be guided and protected. In addition to the significant price advantage over traditional steel energy chains, the modern high-performance engineering plastic used in the E4.350 is stronger than steel for a given size and much lighter. It is also inherently resistant to corrosion and weathering, and unaffected by exposure to virtually every type of chemical and petrochemical, as well as by exposure to UV light from the sun.

Manufactured from igumid® ESD, a permanently conductive tribopolymer that incorporates special additives that ensure electrostatic charge is dissipated in a controlled manner, the E4.350 ESD energy chain is suitable for use in areas where the ATEX or IECEx standard applies. The material is also self-lubricating, requiring no grease or oil on the joints throughout its working life, even in the presence of high levels of soiling and contaminants; this dramatically reduces, and can even eliminate the need for routine maintenance, and enables the life of the energy chain to be predicted more accurately.

Modular in design, the E4.350 energy chain can easily be shortened and lengthened as required. Steel energy chains, on the other hand, have many more components and require more tools and time to dismantle. In addition, igus® energy chains offer excellent rigidity and high load capacity when shear forces are at work due to their tongue and groove design. Specifications include, inner height: 350mm, inner widths: 400-800mm, bending radii: 500-1000mm and pitch: 470mm. An Interior separation system and mounting brackets can be supplied. Additional features include, quiet operation, straight running due to inner/outer link design, and stable opening crossbars at every link.

Corry Sutherland – Oil & Gas product specialist

Corry joined igus in October 2015 as the company’s Oil & Gas product specialist. He has worked in project engineering roles within the Oil & Gas industry for over four years and brings a wealth of technical and project management experience with him. Corry is an ex-Piper with the Scots Guards and currently serves with the British Army (Reserves) 7th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland.

“We are delighted to welcome Corry to igus®,” commented Justin Leonard, director of igus®. “His experience in the Oil & Gas industry makes him the ideal man to take our business forward in this area. This coupled with his dependable, can-do approach is sure to be highly valued by our customers.”

Corry and other members of the igus® team will be available on Stand 195 throughout the show to take visitors through the benefits and potential applications of their E4.350 ESD energy chain, as well as provide insight into the full range of igus® products suitable for offshore use.

igus® shows world’s largest plastic energy chain, the E4.350, at Subsea Expo 2016 igus® shows world’s largest plastic energy chain, the E4.350, at Subsea Expo 2016.2 igus® shows world’s largest plastic energy chain, the E4.350, at Subsea Expo 2016.3

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