Exhibitors & Products
Events & Speakers

The Cologne-based company igus develops and produces motion plastics, i.e. lubrication-free high-performance plastics designed to help improve technology and cut costs wherever things move. And igus is really very successful at this. In energy supply systems, highly flexible cables, plain and linear bearings, and thread technology made of tribopolymers, igus leads the markets worldwide. The family-owned company based in Cologne is now represented in 35 countries and employs more than 4,500 people worldwide. And to avoid standstill in every respect, the in-house research department is constantly producing new innovations in the largest test laboratories in the industry. In recent years, the company has expanded not only around the world, but also internally through start-ups, for example for ball bearings, robotic gearboxes, 3D printing, the RBTX platform for lean robotics and intelligent "smart plastics". Key environmental investments also include the "chainge" program - recycling used e-chains - and participation in a company that recovers oil from plastic waste. As a regular guest at this year's HANNOVER MESSE 2022, which is finally taking place in real life again, the Cologne-based company will be presenting, among other things, its first recently launched low-cost cobot ReBeL.

With the ReBeL, too, igus is relying entirely on its motion plastics expertise: the robot is grateful for this with a dead weight of just 8.2 kilograms, which according to igus makes the ReBeL the lightest service robot with cobot function in its class. And the Cologne-based company leaves nothing to chance or to other companies: all the mechanical components that make up the ReBeL are developed and manufactured by igus without exception, including, of course, its heart, the world's first cobot gearbox made of plastic and suitable for industrial use. The payload of the ReBeL is 2 kilograms, with a reach of 664 millimeters. Its repeatability is also +/- 1 millimeter at 7 picks per minute. "Behind these numbers are 1,041 tests in our in-house lab since 2019, during which we performed tribological and thermodynamic tests on 15 material pairings and tolerance chains. A particularly big challenge was heat generation in the fully integrated shaft gear units; they are thermally influenced by the motor. In development, we therefore additionally focused on larger motors and better efficiency in order to significantly reduce heat generation," explains Alexander Mühlens, head of the Low-Cost Automation business unit at igus. "This enabled us to achieve continuous improvements and in the end even quintuple the number of cycles to two million. That corresponds to a usual service life of two years."