After several year of research and development Delft start-up IMSystems is ready to present its patented speed reducer to the market. This high precision gearbox uses rollers instead of gear teeth. At Automatica in Munich it will demonstrate its first product, a development kit for robot companies to test the system.
Thibaud Verschoor is co founder and head of product at IMSystems, a spin off of Delft University of Technology. IMSystems develops a speed reducer, a high precision gearbox that is mainly used in the automation industry. He explains: “A robot is composed out of multiple joints. Each joint has a servo motor, a speed reducer and a sensor. All that combined creates an actuator. And that actuator allows that joint to move into a specific position. So if you combine all these different joints this allows the robot to move freely through space. These speed reducers allow robots to perform better than what they’re doing today.” The speed reducer is a patented system in the Netherlands, a patent owned by IMSystems. .
He continues: “The industry that we find ourselves in relies heavily on durability and robustness. You have to prove that your technology can survive the environments that robots work in. Our technology works today; we can prove the accuracy, the speed and the efficiency of the speed reducer. The biggest challenge is: will this speed reducer also work 20 years from now when it’s continuously being operated in a robots. That is what we are working on right now. We perform continuous lifecycle testing for different cycles the robot experiences to make sure that our drive can withstand those requirements.”
These high precision gearboxes can be used in a multitude of different industries. “Our main focus right now is robotics. We sell our speed reducer to robotic companies for them to implement in of their robots. They then sell that robot to the final consumer, like an automotive company. They automate their production with the robotic companies that use our speed reducers.”
“The past year years we were very focused on research and development to make sure that we can meet that critical technical threshold for the quality requirements of a product. And I can say that we now have reached that stage, and we are bringing our first product to the market. This product is a development kit that allows any company that is interested in our technology to buy it, test it internally at their R&D facility to see if it is of interest to them. And if that is the case we can collaborate on creating a full system around the speed reducer.”
At Automatica 2022 in Munich the development kit will be available o the public. “At Automatica we will show the very unique working principles of our technology. We focus on three critical areas. The first is very high accuracy. Current speed reducers are made out of gears, and gears have teeth. There’s always backlash in the system, which needs to be overcome from a software perspective. Since our technology does not use gear teeth, but we use traction holders, we do not have that. Therefore we have a very accurate system”
“Additionally, since we rely on traction, we have a very efficient system compared to what’s available on the market today. We are talking about efficiencies around 90%. And on top of that it is very silent. So what we want to demonstrate is that we can make high precision gearboxes that can move very fast, at a very high speed can achieve very high accuracy, and are much more efficient than any product that’s available on the market today.”
In the Netherlands, and Europe I general, he sees a big switch to automation. “Many tasks are being taken over by robots. So there is a growing market specifically for robotics within the Netherlands. Looking at what applications are available today, and what industries operate in the Netherlands, there is a demand for applications that require a level of precision and performance that current speed reducers cannot offer. That is why we want to come in and change that.”
As a company we are coming out of our research and development phase and are offering our very first product to anyone that’s interested in using our technology. If there is a company that requires accurate, very high speed, and efficient movements of the joints for an actuator, our technology is exactly what they’re looking for. People who are looking for a technology which allows them to become a pioneer should contact us, so we can hopefully create a collaboration.”