“Automation is a central competitive factor for traditional manufacturing groups, […] for small and medium-sized enterprises around the world.”

Joe Gemma, President of the International Federation of Robotics

Robots are Coexisting with the Workforce

Low cost robotics is the automation of modular, lightweight and cost-effective components to create a highly functional robotic system. It is utilized for both simple “pick and place” systems and complex applications. The goal of low cost robotics is for humans and robots to collaborate in the workplace. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are capable of interacting with their environment and working alongside humans to provide additional support. Building and programming robotic systems also requires similar skillsets of manufacturing and maintenance work. This allows low cost robotics to create more opportunities for employees to thrive, while significantly enhancing manufacturing processes.


The low cost robotics innovation competition 2018 – North America

The possibilities are endless but what is YOUR innovative idea to improve a manufacturing process with low cost robotics? You live in the United States of America or Canada? Share your vision with us, describe your concept or application and you can win a robolink® articulated arm (or robolink® individual parts) worth $3,000 sponsored by igus®.

Entries are due by 04/28/2018. The winner will be announced at the igus® trade show booth at ATX East in June 2018.

How to enter

Terms and conditions

Roland Behrens, Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automationn

“We started using low cost robotics early and tested the first version of igus® robolink® in 2010. We liked the prototypes so much that we started a project with EU funding and support from igus®. ALEXA was born – a fully-fledged robot arm developed as a handling aid in assembly. Today it is part of a laboratory where we develop assistant systems for surgeons. An incredible development that only few of our robots could achieve.”

Dieter Belzer, Managing Director of EPS GmbH

“We have developed a scanner that fully and automatically digitizes books. To fully automate the process, we were looking for a cost-effective and highly reliable solution that would assist us in flipping highly sensitive paper. That’s how we came across low cost robotics. The high modularity of the robot arm enabled us to use our own suction application and to control everything with our own PLC control.”


Accomplishing more, working less

Low cost robotics allows for massive potential in the field of programming. Engineers can considerably increase productivity by programming low cost robotic systems to help workers with daily tasks. This automated support not only takes off some of the workload for employees, but also allows them to be more efficient in completing tasks. Programming for low cost robotics creates many new job prospects, as more and more businesses are catching on to the robotics trend. Since cost-effective technology is ideal for conducting automation tests, colleges should also reap the benefits of low cost robotics.

How to optimize your manufacturing process

The Low Cost Robotics eBook by Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Feldmann.
Faculty of Engineering, University of Duisburg-Essen
This eBook answers the following questions:


  • What is Low Cost Robotics?
  • How much does a robotic arm cost?
  • What do you need to consider before your purchase?
Free eBook!

Configure tailor made solutions through modularity

Modularity is a key advantage of low cost robotics. Versatile configurations are possible, which is crucial when it comes to cutting costs. Your robot can be perfectly compatible with its assigned task and environment, while being affordable at the same time.

Furthermore, if you modify your manufacturing process, most robot systems can be easily adjusted according to your needs. If the modification still does not meet your requirements, the system can be enhanced simply and inexpensively with additional modules.


Comparing modular design and fixed systems

With modular designs, there are endless options available: two-arm robots, mobile solutions and complex integrations, all of which are suitable for a wide range of applications. Modular designs and fixed systems differ greatly in price and customizability. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of these two solutions and what to consider when selecting one of the two.

Learn more

Automated book scanner

Employee resources can be used more efficiently by automating simple work methods. Here, the robotic arm automatically turns book pages, after they have been scanned, through the use of an aspirator.

Underwater applications

Low-cost robotics works particularly well in harsh environments. This gripper arm is equipped with underwater angle sensors and motors placed in a sealed aluminum housing, making it ideal to operate under water.

Robotic arms used by a Chinese tool manufacturer

This robotic arm picks up an aluminum mobile phone shell (100g) with a pneumatic suction pad. The repetition accuracy is about 1 mm, and one cycle takes 15 seconds. Unfavorable conditions, such as skin contact with coolant splashing, are no longer a concern thanks to the robotic arm.

Lightweight manipulator

The ALEXA robotic arm is built from the robolink® modular robot kit developed by igus®. Equipped with a multi-camera system, the robotic arm can position items extremely accurately, which makes it ideal for automated sorting tasks.

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