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Driving the future of robotics

26th January 2016
Jordan Mulcare

Harmonic Drive will be joining exhibitors at Drives & Controls 2016 from 12th-14th April at Birmingham’s NEC. The company’s stand is aligned with the exhibition’s strong focus on the robotics industry and the Harmonic Drive team will be showcasing a range of servo actuators tailor-made to support the future of robotics from stand D775.

As the robotics industry gathers pace and evolves, there is an increasing need for high levels of power, accuracy and precision from smaller machines. Harmonic Drive will be showcasing several solutions that offer just this, including its CanisDrive range of compact hollow shaft servo actuators.

The CanisDrive's lightweight and condensed design offers a much smaller product without sacrificing performance. The range benefits from newly developed high capacity precision drive bearings, which allows direct mounting of the external load without the need for additional bearings or support. This keeps size to a minimum while retaining the high precision of the gear.

To ensure this consistently high performance, CanisDrive marks the first instance of CobaltLine gears being used in a servo actuator. CobaltLine gears are designed to deliver repeatable high peak torques with zero backlash and lifetime precision. The use of these gears provides elevated levels of torque density and durability, with 30% higher maximum torque than standard actuators.

“June 2016 will mark the UK’s first national Robotics Week as part of the nation’s push to increase innovation and the uptake of robotics,” said Graham Mackrell, Managing Director, Harmonic Drive UK. “We’re also starting to see drive from the Government’s RAS 2020 initiative to boost the robotics and autonomous systems sector in the UK and the £400m investment in innovation. This investment will see an upswing in things like collaborative robot technology as well as more advanced medical robots.

“Collaborative robots are designed to work alongside the human workforce, and to ensure they meet evolving International Standards Organisation (ISO) criteria as well as being responsive enough to react should they cross paths with a person. OEMs need to ensure the drives and gears they choose can perform reliably.

“High precision gears, such as those manufactured by Harmonic Drive, deliver highly accurate movements that can be repeated again and again with perfect precision. This level of accuracy and repeatability will help robot OEMs continue to innovate with peace of mind.”

It’s widely acknowledged that the UK is lagging behind the rest of the world in the widespread uptake of robotic technology. Harmonic Drive intends to support efforts by both Drives & Controls 2016 and government investments by offering products, advice and support to drive the growth of the industry as a whole.

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