5/5/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Lightweight Gears for Robots

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As manufacturing design, equipment and processes evolve, new opportunities are springing up for gear makers in markets experiencing high rates of technological innovation, whether that be hybrid drive systems or industrial robotics.

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Photo courtesy of Harmonic Drive AG

Gearing specialist Harmonic Drive UK has launched a new series of extremely lightweight and compact gears for the next generation of robots. Targeting the semiconductor electronics market, the new CSD Component Set is equipped with a heavy-duty cross roller bearing to deliver high payload performance in environments with limited space.

The CSD Series delivers the required high power to weight ratio in a compact form factor, and is available in two variants. The CSD-2UH range boasts the smallest outside diameter, and the CSD-2UF has the shortest overall length. “We’ve designed the CSD range to be compatible with existing systems,” says Graham Mackrell, managing director. “While it’s primarily targeted at the robotic and semiconductor market, it will perform equally as well in other demanding high precision applications such as broadcast, aerospace and machine tools.”

This news put me in mind of a couple of things. One, lower costs and increased ease of use will spur significant growth in industrial robotics over the next decade, according to a study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). And while automation isn’t necessarily the first market that springs to mind when thinking of gears—that’s usually automotive and aerospace—it’s a good indication of how evolving technologies and designs create new markets for manufacturers. These same improvements are being made in other areas, such as marine drives, mining and construction vehicles, hand tools, motorcycles and various industrial mechanisms such as machine tools, just to name a few. If you can train yourself to identify new design trends, you’ll be ready to take advantage of a new revenue stream once it starts to flow.

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