Robotics

igus’ robotic arm on The Gadget Show

18th December 2019
Alex Lynn

During day to day business at igus UK, it is not unusual to get the odd phone call from customers and potential customers who have a novel idea on a new machine or concept. One Friday morning, a few weeks back, igus received such a call from the producer/director of The Gadget Show, a long-running television series on Channel 5 that focuses on consumer technology. 

“Ian Bayliss explained that he had come across igus looking for a robot,” said Adam Sanjurgo, Product Manager for low cost automation at igus. “For their imminent 400th episode, they wanted to have a robot involved in the celebrations. The idea was to use a robotic arm to strike a match and light a candle on the cake. My response was simple; Yes, we can.”

In the low-cost automation range, igus has three types of robot for three simply defined reasons – modular, fast and flexible. For the candle lighting task, the flexible robolink DP was chosen. A new four- or five-DOF robot, it can carry a payload of three kilogrammes and has a reach of 790mm. Made using standard igus materials, this robot is lubrication-free and maintenance-free, while offering long life.

“Our confidence of achieving this goal was high, after completing some initial testing at our factory in Northampton,” added Sanjurgo. “It came to the day of filming, and what an experience it was. Our part was the final section to be filmed on the day, and with lots of variables working against us in terms of cake position, matchbox position and even the air conditioning in the studio, there was tension in the air and everyone was looking to us for a successful take.

“With the robot programmed to perfection, we not only amazed everyone on set we also amazed ourselves, the robot was so precise, yet so gentle to successfully strike the match and slowly raise up to the top of the cake and light the candle of the 3D printed edible cake. On set, watching The Gadget Show being filmed was a true privilege to be involved with.”

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