The winners of the 2021 LEAP Awards (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program) were announced in a digital ceremony this week with products across several categories, including Mechanical.
Critical to LEAP’s success is the involvement of the engineering community. WTWH Media was not involved in the selection of the winners. Instead, this year’s winners were chosen by an independent judging panel of 12 engineering and academic professionals.
In the Mechanical category, the winning submissions are:
BRECOroll Timing Belts
BRECOflex CO. L.L.C. is rolling into the future with an innovative timing belt that reduces slider bed friction in material handling applications. It’s called BRECOroll. BRECOroll has nylon rollers integrated into the teeth of the timing belt enabling it to roll across the slider bed with all of the efficiency of a high precision timing belt and a fraction of the friction of traditional systems. If you are looking to reduce drive energy and friction, especially when conveying heavier objects across long spans, BRECOroll is the ideal solution. BRECOroll became available for distribution in the spring of 2021.
Ideal applications for this product
BRECOroll is the ideal solution for any material handling application where the product load is bearing down on the slider bed causing or drag/friction resulting in belt wear and stress on the motor. The belt is designed for loads up to 6kg [13.2 lbs] per 40mm of belt length.
Typically, timing belts used for material handling tasks are very long. The belt’s load side usually lies in a support rail which causes friction. BRECOroll provides the solution for slider bed friction. This new innovation has rollers on shafts integrated into the belt teeth. These rollers replace the sliding friction with rolling friction resulting in less stress on the belt and the motor.
BRECOroll characteristics include:
- Replaces sliding friction with rolling friction of approximately half the value (μ <0.2)
- Maximum recommended speeds up to 1 m/s (3.28ft/s)
- Load-bearing capacity of 6kg [13.2 lbs] per 40mm of belt length
- Rollers are located on every other tooth (every 40mm along the belt length)
BRECOroll Advantages Include:
- Longer belt life because of reduced friction and heat
- Smaller motor possible due to reduced friction forces
- Overall reduced energy consumption
- Cost savings on downtime for belt replacement and drive maintenance
- Can accommodate backings and profiles
Development process and innovations involved in development
The starting point for the development of BRECOroll was the desire to create a solution that improves upon the existing timing belt when transporting objects and to do so in the most structurally simple way. Simultaneously, it needed to provide a potential for effective support of the tooth profile side of a timing belt. The desired outcome as shown in the attached image was to incorporate a rolling element into the tooth that can support the timing belt on the guide rails of the conveyor systems and prevent oscillations during starting and stopping. In turn, it reduces friction, heat, and stress to the belt as well as the motor.
While developing the concept of replacing slider friction with rolling friction, other considerations were taken into account such as adding rollers or roller bearings to the guide rails. However, in the case of timing belts, you need to avoid tooth engagement impacts. Therefore, either a lot of narrow support rollers would have to be arranged in the guide rails offset across the width so that each tooth profile is always supported by a support roller; or smooth, toothless longitudinal tracks would have to be provided on the timing belts in which multiple (at least two) narrow support rollers, similar to roller-bearings, extend across the width and ensure support. Both possibilities are, however, expensive and burdened by technical compromises. BRECOroll was the most logical and cost-effective solution.
The innovation and design that this timing belt represents is unprecedented. The result equates to substantial cost savings over the life of the belt and drive motor, as well as increased production due to there being less downtime for repairs and replacements.
IKO CRBTF Crossed Roller Bearings
The IKO CRBTF Super Slim Crossed Roller Bearing builds upon IKO’s advanced development of crossed roller bearing technology in several ways:
-Super slim design, just 5mm wide
-Mounting holes on inner and outer rings provide easy mounting
With its slim design, the CRBTF solves the complex problem of robotic arm and joint applications. Not only does it provide high rigidity and accuracy, it can fit into smaller spaces and can also reduce the size and weight of equipment because no extra mounting plates are required to install. With advanced robotic applications becoming smaller and smaller, the CRBTF solves the size and space problem with reliability and precision.
CRBTF was designed and developed to help in the fields of small robots and rotary stages. As these fields continue to advance in technology, there is a growing demand for small and high rigidity bearings.
The compact design of this bearing with an ultra-slim 5mm width contributes to down-sizing. The CRBTF provides an easy assembling process using the mounting holes provided instead of the time-consuming process of press-fitting. The use of CRBTF also reduces the number of required parts generally required for a press-fit mounting style such as housings or pressure plates which in turn helps with weight reduction of the device.
Brake & Mechanical Torque Limiter Combination for Cobots
Ogura’s newly developed MCNB-TSp brake series features a very accurate and precise holding torque. The same brake is also capable of brief slipping at a given torque with negligible impact on life. Essentially, it is introduced as a mechanical torque limiter and electromagnetic brake wrapped up in one. The torque limiting capability adds an advantage in that safety can be improved, and surrounding components can be designed for lower loading. The benefit is that system weight can potentially be reduced leading to higher production speeds along with longer battery and brake life, and improved quality and throughput.
The brake series has a very thin profile, which is what cobot/robot manufacturers require. Torque is high for the given size and weight. Power requirement is low based on optimized flux paths and utilization of over-excitation and PWM power control.
To create this solution, Ogura had to rely on its experience, manufacturing knowledge, and R&D department. In fact, an entirely new proprietary material had to be developed. Many different materials were tested along the way. Surfaces finishes were also scrutinized for the highest consistency and repeatability. From a mechanical perspective, new spring types were evaluated for optimal performance, pressure, and torque control under spring compression. This cutting-edge development helps Ogura lead the way on a global scale while providing product solutions at an acceptable market price. It also puts the pressure back on cobot and robot designers to rethink how they design and manufacture their equipment given this new brake/torque limiter functionality.
Filed Under: Awards • acquisitions, Uncategorized