Numerous applications in state-of-the-art production environments call for the use of robots in order to achieve short cycle times for handling tasks involving long transport distances and high speeds – with low system costs, of course. Cable-driven parallel robots are an innovative concept for automation solutions in intralogistics, even when requirements are extremely high. Fraunhofer IPA is constantly working on perfecting this technology. In terms of the size of workspaces and system costs, cable robots are clearly superior to standard robot systems. Further advantages are energy efficiency and a modular setup.
The latest development at Fraunhofer IPA is the demonstrator "IPAnema 3". Compared to conventional industrial robots, the cable-driven parallel robot IPAnema features:
Furthermore, these features can be individually adapted to specific requirements. The cable robot type IPAnema 3 has already been used for additive and subtractive manufacturing (see project HINDCON. The robot is controlled by a realtime-capable CNC control system that is easy to program using the tried and tested G-Code (DIN 66025). A programmable logic controller (PLC) allows an easy integration into existing systems.
Cable robots are not only extremely robust and portable but can also be implemented flexibly. This enables them to be used in a wide range of working environments. Depending on the application, a work space of up to 100 m edge length is achievable. The efficient transmission of power through the cables and the use of cable winches allow each cable to bear a load of up to several tons. In applications where safety is a critical factor, such as when lifting extremely heavy or fragile loads, additional cables can be easily added to offer more protection against the failure of individual components. Alternatively, the work space can be extended. This enables manufacturing processes involving very large components to be automated, such as rotor blades for wind turbines or aircraft fuselages.