Mobile robots from igus reduce costs for SMEs

“ReBeL on Wheels” makes driverless transport systems affordable thanks to modern plastics technology

igus launches a new series of cost-effective mobile AGVs and AMRs for education, logistics, and service with the aim of making mobile robotic systems affordable for SMEs. (Source: igus GmbH)

June 21, 2024 – Mobile robotic systems are being used in more and more work areas, from e-commerce warehouses to modern restaurants. Conventional models on the market start at around $37,500, while solutions with an integrated robot arm are priced at approximately $105,000. However, widespread use is often unaffordable for small and medium-sized companies due to the high costs. igus® wants to change this with new low-cost robotics offerings.

The market for automated guided vehicles (AGV) and autonomous mobile robots (AMR) is booming. The global market for mobile robotics, including service robotics, currently totals around $20.3 billion, and experts expect this figure to almost double by 2028. 

Mobile robots are particularly widespread in material handling and industrial applications. And these smart helpers are even increasingly making their rounds in catering and hospitals. igus has been successfully testing AGVs in-house for five years – driverless shelves that deliver mail and shipments to offices as well as mobile robots in production that move transport and rotary stacking containers. The experience gained flows directly into the development of a new Low-Cost Automation product line, the “ReBeL on Wheels.” The goal is to pave the way for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to cost-effective mobile robotics.

Mobile ReBeL solutions for education, logistics, and service

The foundation of the mobile robotic system is the ReBeL. Using plastic makes the robot particularly affordable at $6,899 and, with a net weight of 8.2kg, the lightest service robot with cobot function in its class. igus develops and manufactures all mechanical components that make up the ReBeL.

Its payload is 2kg, and its reach is 664mm. Various moving systems are planned in which the ReBeL is centrally integrated. igus is launching an affordable version for the education sector for $22,048, which includes a robot arm. Based on open-source software and equipped with a gripper, the ReBeL EduMove serves as an autonomous learning platform for educational institutions. It has a modular design so that other functions can be added, such as lidar, camera technology, or a slam algorithm.

Another version is an automated guided vehicle for SMEs, which can transport up to 30kg. With the optional ReBeL, simple A to B positioning tasks can be carried out. It dispenses with expensive sensor technology and instead relies on 3D sensor technology developed in-house. Its price is $26,998.

A lighthouse project on wheels

The goal of all these developments is the lighthouse project, a mobile robot with integrated HMI and vision that could even tidy up an office on its own.

“With this project, we are pursuing a bottom-to-top strategy in which certain components such as safety laser scanners are not included in the basic package so as to keep the price low,” explains Alexander Mühlens, Vice President and Head of the Low Cost Automation Business Unit at igus. “Nevertheless, the solution can be retrofitted for industrial requirements.”

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