Combined innovation: igus acquires majority stake in Commonplace Robotics

Member News

Motion plastics from igus with
intuitive software from Commonplace Robotics join forces for simple, low cost
solutions in automation

Motion plastics specialist igus
is investing in growing its low cost automation activities and has now acquired
a majority stake in robot integrator Commonplace Robotics, based in Bissendorf
near Osnabrück. Commonplace Robotics specialises in intuitive control and
software as well as power electronics for robotics, in the
industrial and educational sectors. Both companies have worked together closely
for six years and have jointly developed the iRC igus Robot Control, which complements igus’s low cost kinematics parts which are
made of high-performance plastics.

Commonplace Robotics was founded
11 years ago by Dr. Christian Meyer, who until then had worked at the
Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation. The name
says it all: making the integration and operation of robots so low cost and accessible
that they become “commonplace” – i.e. they can be used anywhere.

In 2016, Dr. Meyer approached
igus because he found that igus’s robot kinematics matched his vision of
“commonplace”: low cost, simple, and suitable for industry. Since
then, the two companies have jointly developed products such as the iRC igus
Robot Control and the ReBeL Cobot as well as an actuator. The manufacture of
Commonplace Robotics components – from firmware and software to control cabinet
construction and board assembly – is vertically integrated so new developments
can be implemented quickly.

Driving low-cost automation
forward with strength of two innovative companies

“Many customers are
surprised that they can realise simple automation tasks in just 30 minutes
without any programming knowledge,” says Frank Blase, CEO and Entrepreneur
of igus GmbH. “We are very pleased that after the intensive cooperation of
the last six years, an even more focused approach to low-cost automation is now
possible.” With the acquisition, Commonplace Robotics and igus are
consolidating their innovative strength. Dr. Meyer says: “We are looking
forward to several exciting projects with igus, especially via the RBTX
platform for low-cost robots, where new requirements from customers from all areas
of industry come to our laboratories every day. Much of this can be implemented
quickly, especially as we will grow with the new investment.”

The latest product of this
cooperation is the ReBeL Cobot, costing just EU4,970 including the control. The
actuator, also available as a single component, combines the plastic know-how
of igus in the gearbox with the power electronics and software from Commonplace
Robotics. With six DoF, the ReBeL can handle a 2kg maximum payload with a reach
of 664mm, with an operating dead weight of only 8.2kg. Enquiries and orders
come from both classical applications such as quality control and
pick-and-place applications in mechanical engineering, as well as new
application areas such as restaurant automation and automated farming.

At the Motek exhibition in Stuttgart (Hall 7, Stand 7320 and 7321) and the SPS Trade Fair in Nuremberg (Hall 4, Stand 310), interested parties can get a live demonstration of the jointly developed innovations.