Application Review- KUKA

On visiting KUKA Roboter GmbH we were in the presence of a true pioneer in the field of robot and automation technology. The Augsburg-based company developed the FAMULUS, its first industrial robot with six electromechanically-driven axes back in 1973. In 1996, they then played a role in bringing in the era of real mechatronics with a PC-based control system. Today, KUKA Roboter produces and sells automated production solutions for the automotive, medical and solar industry as well as aviation, aerospace and machine tool sectors to name a few.


The robot can cover a larger working area thanks to the linear axis

For many years, the KUKA developers have entrusted igus® chains with the cables for their linear axes. The fact that these are highly robust and reliable, is however not what tipped the scales in their favour. Instead, Hans Brix, linear axis developer, says that it is the exceptionally long unsupported length of the igus® chains, which allows the greatest possible extent of movement by the robots.

KUKA has now laid the chain with the cables on the support structure for the first time. As a result, the trough system is no longer required and the design is far more compact, automatically saving several square metres of space.


A comparison of two systems: in the image on the left, the cables run in an external guide trough. On the right, the e-chain® has been placed on the robot’s support structure. This saves space and reduces costs

igus® generally fills its e-chains® with the cables desired by the customers and then supplies them as complete units that can be simply and quickly installed on site. To date, KUKA has always used a middle-ground option and filled the chains with its own cables. This too is possible if desired by the igus® customer.


KUKA employees and the “iglidur® on tour” team agree: igus® e-chains® last; igus® scarves provide lasting warmth

We would like to thank all the KUKA Roboter GmbH employees that we met for their friendly reception and, in particular, Hans Brix for giving us an interview.

Best regards,
igus® and the “iglidur® on tour” team

Video of the Week – Offset adjustment for energy chains with FTA

Allowing for lateral offset at the moving end, the floating tow-arm (FTA) from moving energy specialist igus® ensures smooth running of energy chains in a guide trough by floating from side-to-sideto compensate for misalignment in the system. The igus®FTA system is suitable for a variety of applications; in particular for ‘ship-to-shore’ container cranes where the system can accommodates for play in the trolley wheels and rails.

Offering stress-free movement along the entire travel distance, which can be up to 100m, the FTA system extends operational lifetime of the system and can handle speeds up to 2m/s.

Small, lightweight and cost-effective, the FTA system from igus® is compatible with the company’s “PPDS basic” unit for remote condition monitoring; this helps prevent damage and downtime on gliding applications with smaller energy chains.