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Modular components are ideal for industrial applications as they make implementation easier and allow for more advanced and specialized applications to be developed. The Apiro gearbox system from igus® is one way to bring modularity to industrial applications, while also providing a wide range of other benefits. This blog will explore those benefits and why Apiro gearboxes are an ideal solution for a near-endless number of applications.
The name Apiro is derived from the Greek word “ápeiros”, meaning infinite. This meaning has guided the design philosophy of the Apiro product line, aiming to be a solution with infinite possibilities and fit for infinite applications. To this end, multiple different sizes and kinematics of the Apiro are available. Rotary and linear motion can be combined in one system — thanks to the multi-functional aluminum guide profile available as part of the Apiro system — to create complex machines like SCARA robots and articulated robot arms. Multiple different gear ratios are also available and can be combined, as well as both worm gear and bevel gear variants. Gearboxes can be connected through a hollow space in the middle of the gearbox where a drive shaft can be inserted.
Besides robot arms, Apiro systems have been used to create gantry robots, devices for multi-lane adjustments and curve adjustments in packaging machines, and multi-axis pick-and-place robots. Of course, this is just a small selection of the possible applications with Apiro systems, but even among these few there’s a significant amount of variety and ingenuity.
A dry-running alternative to standard gearboxes
So what makes the Apiro stand out from other gearboxes, besides its modularity? The answer lies in the materials used to develop the Apiro. The gears themselves are composed of dry-running iglide® materials, which eliminate the need for external lubrication. This not only cuts maintenance costs, but also provides resistance to dirt and dust.
Inadequate or improper lubrication is one of the leading causes of gearbox failure, contributing to 34.4% of all gearbox failures. This is nearly double the amount of the next closest cause, which is water and particulate contamination (19.6%). Due to the dry-running nature of the Apiro, failure stemming from improper lubrication is entirely eliminated as there’s no need to manually lubricate the system. The Apiro is also suitable for splash water applications and resists dirt and dust, eliminating failures stemming from both water and particulates. Ultimately, this leads to a significantly more reliable and cost-effective component than a traditional gearbox.
Another strength of the Apiro is the ability to connect not only to other gearboxes, but to drylin® linear actuators and dryspin® lead screws as well. This is especially useful in the packaging industry, where lane adjustments can utilize multiple actuator/gearbox connections to easily perform necessary motions with just one motor powering the system. Manual adjustments are also possible, and optional color-coded handwheels are available to further simplify installation and operation.
Industrial components are relied upon for consistent operation, regardless of the component or the application it’s used in. Improvements are constantly being made to conventional industrial components, and the Apiro gearbox is one such improvement. The consistency and reliability it provides relative to traditional gearboxes, paired with modularity and ease-of-use, make switching to the Apiro system an easy choice.
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