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Analogue Mechanical Systems as Drivers of Innovation?

Translated by Jessica Dolan

Classical mechanical systems as drivers of innovation in our digital world: does something like this still exist? The term “innovation” rather brings to mind topics like "artificial intelligence", "augmented reality" and "digital platforms". But topics from classical mechanics - such as drives – also offer innovations that excite even the most digital engineers.

Thanks to our AI-based technology monitoring at ROKIN, I encounter not only new digital technologies but also classic analogue or mechanical technologies time and time again. In this article, I would like to briefly highlight three clever and fascinating drive concepts that have begun to change the shop floor and product world of engineers.

TechBite #1: Transmission without gears? A classic rethought

Are gear teeth really necessary in a transmission? IMSystems relies on friction instead of positive locking as in classical gear drives. Their product Archimedes Drives opens up new possibilities for the drivetrain of the future in terms of backlash, torque, wear, transmission ratio and noise. Here’s a video about it:

TechBite #2: Eliminate friction in motion thanks to floating transport systems

Friction and movement are inseparable in mechanics. Thanks to electromagnetic levitation, however, friction in movement can be eliminated. Automation and motion specialist Beckhoff uses what we know from maglev trains to automate logistics systems. Their XPlanar system creates new degrees of freedom with regard to acceleration, smoothness, positioning and orientation. Here is a short video about it:

TechBite #3: CFRP helps in Formula 1. Why not with machine tools?

Motor spindles in CNC machining are traditionally made of steel. Not so with Carbon-Drive. Here, spindles for machine tools are manufactured from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). This opens up new dimensions in terms of weight, stiffness, strength and thermal expansion of spindles. Here is a video about it:

Excited about these and other technologies and seeking inspiration for innovation in your own company? Our AI algorithms continuously search the rising flood of information for the latest technologies - especially for the needs of industry. In our TechSheets you will not only find technology examples on a specific topic in the context of Industry 4.0, but also manufacturer information, studies and much more.


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Thomas Kinkeldei


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