First Low Cost Robotics competition for ideas: Jury honours time-saving robotic solutions

MLC-Engineering receives award for combining low-cost robots with optical measurement technology

The awards ceremony at Motek
  • Client

    igus GmbH

  • Services

    Plastic bearings and energy chains

  • Technologies

    Polymer bearings and energy chains

  • Dates



Cost-effective automation of simple tasks – thanks to low-cost robotics, this is no longer a dream of the future. The submissions for the first Low Cost Robotics ideas contest showcase the exciting potentials in this technology. The winner was announced now at the 2017 Motek: MLC-Engineering. The southern German company combines a modular robolink articulated arm with optical measurement technology, resulting in a time saving of 76 per cent.

From an autonomous production cell in 3D printing to a mobile harvest robot - we see wide range of new ideas in the twelve submitted applications at the first Low Cost Robotics competition. What is common to all is that they demonstrate how simple tasks can be automated by the use of inexpensive robotics, thus saving time and money. This is impressively demonstrated by the winner MLC-Engineering using an igus robolink articulated arm in optical measurement technology. This cost-effective 5-axis robot, priced at € 3,579, takes the finished part from a production machine and then transports it to an optical measuring device after completion of the work piece. It then positions the work piece several times within the measuring area of the measuring device in order to check all relevant dimensions. This transmits the values to the control system, which carries out a "good/bad" evaluation. Depending on this evaluation, the robolink robot places the work piece on a conveyor belt or in a scrap box. The automation of small tasks has a great effect in the end: employees can devote themselves to superior tasks and shorter cycle times can be implemented. This saves 76% of the time at the end.

The awards ceremony at Motek

The concept of MLC-Engineering convinced the jury composed of members from the fields of research, specialised press and manufacturers. Courage, refinement and the idea of optimisation led to a unanimous assessment. At Motek, Michael Lamber was able to receive a voucher for a robolink articulated arm or comparable robotics components worth € 3,000 at the igus stand as the first prize. The Horb School of Commerce and Home Economics can look forward to the 2nd prize worth € 500. In the scope of the curriculum of the "state-certified technician (m/f)" in the department of mechanical engineering, the students submitted the idea of modifying a knuckle joint press in such a way that purchasing chips are fed automatically, defined holes are punched and then carried away again. The aim of the project now is to pick up the already perforated purchasing chips and to place them in an oriented manner. The pick up, orientation and placement of the chips will be implemented in the future with the help of a robot.

Further information on Low Cost Robotics can be found at (in German)