igus® GmbH is a globally leading manufacturer of energy chain systems and polymer bearings, founded by Günter Blase and his wife Margret in 1964. For the first twenty years, igus® was a supplier of complex technical polymer components. In 1983 Frank Blase, the son of Günter Blase, started the own product lines with energy chain systems and polymer bearings and set up a network of sales engineers. Between 1985 and 2014, igus grew from 40 to more than 2,400 igus® employees, supplying the world with its subsidiaries in 35 different countries and distributors in 55 countries. Its headquarters are located in Cologne with 1,400 employees working on 57,000 m² office, production and storage areas. In 2013, the company generated a turnover of 427 million € with its “motion plastics”, innovative plastic components for moving applications. These polymer products guarantee lower costs and raise the service life of machines by eliminating lubrication and lowering maintenance works, everything delivered from stock immediately – that is the core idea and objective behind all igus® products, systems and services. igus® tests durability, friction and stability of its products in the largest test laboratory in its sector with 1,750 m² and more than 100 test machines. It develops new compounded materials every year (e.g. 142 in 2012). Today, igus® offers about 100,000 products from stock and from "size one" to over 200,000 customers worldwide.
IGUS is the end-user in the NimbRo Manufacturing Team and brings in its manufacturing expertise and its flexible lightweight cable-driven manipulator construction system robolink®. IGUS provided the use case and will be responsible for requirement analysis of energy chain assembly and the definition of evaluation procedures and performance criteria. IGUS will also be responsible for the development and construction of the chain link assembly cell. IGUS will deploy two variants of the developed solution in its plant and thoroughly evaluate the performance of the robolink® feeder.
IGUS has extensive experience in industrial automation. A large number of specialized solutions have been developed to automate various parts of its energy chain and polymer bearing production processes. One example of these is the chain link assembly machine that will be used in this project. IGUS also developed the two variants of its robolink® manipulator construction kit. IGUS has experience with working with academic and research partners, e.g. through previous cooperations with UBO and though the ECHORD experiment ALEXA.