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Robotic Systems

The robotics industry continues to grow rapidly as the demand for automation grows in both the business and consumer markets. Robotic applications frequently require high torque and torsional rigidity during power transmission, even while demanding light weight and low inertia. Vibration control is also required in applications like cobots or material handling and articulation, which use components with dampening or vibration isolation properties.
Safety is a priority in robotic systems that handle delicate components or other critical tasks. Designers often look to incorporate axial hard stops, visual guides, and other components that ensure a robot stops or continues operation even when another part of the system fails.

About

Beam Couplings

Ruland beam couplings are manufactured from a single piece of aluminum or stainless steel with a multiple beam, or spiral, design that allows for greater torque, torsional stiffness, and misalignment accommodation compared to commodity style single beam couplings. Medical and surgical robots with frequent stops, starts, and reverses often prioritize light components and responsiveness and have low to moderate torque requirements, making beam couplings a good choice.
Ruland’s 4-beam style couplings have two sets of two beams allowing for increased flexibility and a more compact size compared to 6-beam couplings. This style is often used in encoders or other positioning sensors found connected to servo motors in robotic systems. The 6-beam style has two sets of three beams for higher torque and torsional stiffness capabilities. Designers frequently use 6-beam couplings in robotic vision systems for their dampening capabilities.

Ruland beam couplings are zero-backlash, accurate, and can accommodate all forms of misalignment making them ideal for a variety of applications. Designers prefer aluminum beam couplings for their cost effectiveness and low inertia. Stainless steel beam couplings are capable of handling higher torque than aluminum beam couplings, but their increased mass leads to significantly greater inertia. Ruland beam couplings are available with clamp or set screw attachments in bore sizes from 3/32” to ¾” and 3mm to 20mm.

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Beam Couplings
Zero-Backlash Jaw Couplings

Jaw couplings are comprised of two aluminum hubs and a flexible elastomer element called the spider. Ruland jaw coupling hubs are machined with a curved jaw profile, resulting in a press fit with the spider allowing for zero-backlash operation. Jaw couplings are commonly used in cobots, vision, and other robotic applications where high acceleration/deceleration curves are present and vibration dampening is required. Ruland manufactures zero-backlash jaw couplings with a balanced design for reduced vibration at speeds up to 8,000 RPM.
Designers can choose from three spider durometers based on their dampening, torque, and torsional stiffness requirements. The jaw coupling spider serves as the wear element, resulting in a fail safe design. In the event of spider failure, the aluminum hubs lock together and continue power transmission, allowing the application to be safely shut down for maintenance. Spiders can be replaced to restore the original performance characteristics of the coupling – this is significantly less expensive when compared to other coupling styles that require complete replacement at the end of their service life. Bores are available in sizes from 1/8” to 1-1/4” and 3mm to 32mm. The three piece design allows the user to mix and match clamp or set screw hubs with inch, metric, or keyless bores making it easier to tailor the coupling to specific system requirements.

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Zero-Backlash Jaw Couplings
Bellows Couplings

Ruland zero-backlash bellows couplings are comprised of two anodized aluminum hubs and a flexible stainless steel bellows allowing for a lightweight, high torque solution that is required for many robot designs. The stainless steel bellows remain rigid under torsional loads while accommodating all forms of misalignment. Ruland manufactures bellows couplings with a balanced design for reduced vibration at speeds up to 10,000 RPM.
Bellows coupling have the greatest size-for-size torque and torsional stiffness of any Ruland flexible coupling making them a common choice for surgical robots where high torsional stiffness is preferred to ensure accurate positioning. They are available in clamp and set screw hubs with or without keyways in bore sizes from 1/8” to 1” and 3mm to 25mm.

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Bellows Couplings
Rigid Couplings

Rigid couplings are often the optimal choice in precision servo-driven systems in which no misalignment is present. Ruland rigid couplings are manufactured with precision honed bores to ensure collinearity for a precise fit and greater torque transmission. Non-collinear bores introduce small amounts of misalignment that reduce the otherwise substantial benefits of using a rigid coupling. Rigid couplings have the highest torque rating and torsional stiffness of any coupling offered by Ruland. Torque is a very common challenge in robotic systems design, especially for robots that are required to lift or manipulate heavy loads.
Ruland rigid couplings are shipped with screws treated with proprietary Nypatch anti-vibration coating, allowing for even seating of the screw, repeated screw installations, and reduced galling. Bore sizes are available from 1/8” to 2” and 3mm to 50mm. Rigid couplings are available in set screw and one- and two-piece clamping styles and manufactured in a variety of materials: 1215 lead-free steel with a black oxide finish for the highest holding power, lightweight 2024 aluminum for low inertia, and 303 stainless steel for corrosion resistance.

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Rigid Couplings
Shaft Collars

Ruland offers the widest range of standard round and threaded bore shaft collars for robotic applications. They are manufactured in set screw and one- and two-piece clamp style. Robotic system designers prefer clamp style because they do not mar the shaft, are infinitely adjustable, and have higher holding power when compared to set screw types. Ruland mates halves of two-piece collars throughout the manufacturing process for proper fit and to maintain holding power.
Clamp style shaft collars wrap evenly around the shaft ensuring a precise fit and maximum holding power capabilities. They are commonly used for guiding, spacing, stopping, and component alignment. Ruland manufactures shaft collars with tightly controlled face to bore perpendicularity (TIR ≤ 0.002" / 0.05mm) which is critical when the collar is used as a load bearing face for components such as bearing or gears. Robotics applications often have threaded shafts due to vibration and high axial forces. Ruland manufactures one- and two-piece clamp style threaded shaft collars with double tapped threads ensuring precise and burr-free threads to extend shaft life, have a proper fit, and allow for easy installation and removal with damaging the shaft.
Shaft collars from Ruland are carefully manufactured in our Marlborough, MA factory for strict control of proprietary processes that ensure superior fit finish and holding power. They are made from 1215 lead-free steel with a black oxide or zinc plated finish for high holding power, 303 and 316 stainless steel for corrosion resistance, high strength 2024 aluminum, engineered plastic, and lightweight titanium. Ruland shaft collars are available with bore sizes ranging from 1/8” to 6” and 3mm to 150mm.

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Shaft Collars
Quick Clamping Shaft Collars

Ruland offers two types of quick clamping shaft collars – with cam lever and with clamping lever – which require no tools for installation, adjustment, or removal. Quick clamping shaft collars with cam lever have an integral lever that sits flush with the outside diameter and is finger actuated. The design features a tension-adjustment screw that can be adjusted to tailor axial holding power to application needs. Quick clamping shaft collars with cam lever are one-piece clamp style and require shaft end access to install properly. They are best suited for light duty and low RPM applications where frequent change outs of items including media, guide rails, or other setup fixturing is required. Ruland manufactures handles in 6063 aluminum and bodies in 6061 aluminum with bore sizes from 1/4" (6mm) to 3” (75mm).

Quick clamping shaft collars with clamping lever feature a Ruland manufactured shaft collar combined with an adjustable clamping lever that replaces standard hardware. This creates a shaft collar with a ratcheting handle that can easily be installed, removed, or repositioned without tools. They have the benefits of traditional Ruland shaft collars such as not marring the shaft, tightly controlled face to bore perpendicularity (TIR of ≤ .002" or 0.05mm), and a fine burr-free finish allowing them to be used in a wide range of packaging applications. The shaft collar is offered in standard materials including: 1215 lead-free steel with a black oxide or zinc plated finish, 303 and 316 stainless steel, high strength 2024 aluminum, and engineered plastic. The lever is sourced from JW Winco and features a zinc plated handle with a stainless steel threaded stud and internal components.

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Quick Clamping Shaft Collars
Adjustable Clamping Handles

Adjustable clamping handles are a mechanical component designed to replace standard metric or inch hardware in robotic applications that require frequent adjustments. They allow the user to turn a lever by hand to install, adjust, and remove robotic components such as motors, sensors, processors, control panels, and mechanical parts without tools.
Robotic applications benefit from adjustable clamping handles that are quick to install or remove for reduced downtime, corrosion resistant for use in most operating environments, and lightweight to help reduce the overall weight of the robot. Ruland offers adjustable handles with black levers for general purpose and orange levers for safety and ease of identification.
Ruland offers adjustable handles with levers in zinc die-cast and thermoplastic. The zinc die-cast levers have a powder coated finish and are ideal for use in corrosive environments and extreme temperatures. The thermoplastic levers are glass fiber reinforced for added durability and lightweight to reduce stress on torqued components, robot weight, and energy use. Inserts are available in steel for high holding power and stainless steel for increased corrosion resistance. The variety of standard stock options offered allows designers flexibility to select the right part for the application. They are sourced from JW Winco and stocked in our Marlborough, MA location.

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Adjustable Clamping Handles
Modular Mounting Systems

Modular mounting systems are a series of components that fit together to mount sensors, cameras, screens, and more in robotic applications. They give the designer numerous standard configurations to choose from that can fit almost any type of robotic application.
Modular mounting systems are an assembly often consisting of a mounting base, tube(s), tube connectors, bracket clamp and a mounting bracket. Adjustable lever kits are also available for quick adjustments. Mounting bases are used to mount the sensor system to another surface in the robot using two screws. If portability is desired, a magnetic based can be added. Tubes are the connection between the various clamps, connectors, and mounting bases. Round stainless steel tubes have better corrosion resistance while aluminum square tubes are ideal for lightweight applications. Two-way connectors have two through holes to feed tubes through and are available in parallel, perpendicular, and adjustable configurations. This gives the user the ability to customize their system to accommodate their positioning requirements. A bracket clamp attaches to a tube and mates with an equivalently sized bracket. Brackets are available with through hole for sensors or without hole for mounting directly to cameras, screens, and other components.
Ruland has greatly simplified this process of selecting components that fit together by offering predesigned systems for the most common robotic applications. They give the user the ability to start with a base design and then customize to the needs of the specific application such as adding scales to tubes, selecting the length of tubes, and using additional adjustable levers. Predesigned systems save designers time by having all of the parts needed to build a complete system on one page, having CAD files for complete systems instead of the individual components, and providing an example of how the different components integrate together should a design dictate the need to build a custom system. If a custom system is needed, Ruland has put together a quick tutorial on how to select the various components to ensure they fit together. All modular mounting system components are sourced from JW Winco and stocked in our Marlborough, Massachusetts factory.

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Modular Mounting Systems
Star Knobs

Ruland star knobs are ergonomic, star shaped handles with rounded edges that are attached to a threaded stud or tapped hole. They are used to replace standard screws in robotic applications that require frequent adjustments. Star knobs allow users to turn a knob by hand to install, adjust and remove robotic components such as motors, sensors, processors, control panels, and mechanical parts without tools.
Robotic applications benefit from star knobs that are quick to install or remove, low-profile, and lightweight. Robots are made up of multiple components that need to be operating correctly and the ability to change components without the use of tools saves time during repairs, adjustments, or replacements. Small knob dimensions allow for use in confined spaces that are difficult or impossible to reach with wrenches. The lightweight plastic knob design reduces stress on other components, does not slow the robot down, and can reduce energy use. Stainless steel knobs have better corrosion resistance and durability, can be used in washdown applications, and can withstand extreme temperatures from 20°C to 700°C.
Ruland star knobs are available in tapped and stud types with inch and metric threads ranging from #10-32 TPI to 1/2" - 13 TPI or M4 to M16. Knobs are made of lightweight, shock-resistant technopolymer plastic with zinc-plated steel components and stainless steel with stainless steel components. Star knobs are sourced from JW Winco and stocked in our Marlborough, Massachusetts location.

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Star Knobs
Vibration Isolation Mounts

Vibration isolation mounts have a metallic core encased in a rubber jacket with threaded components on both flat ends allowing them to connect two pieces of equipment together. They are used to absorb vibration given off by motors, preventing damage to other components and surfaces in robotic applications. They help reduce maintenance, wear, noise, and repair costs when installed on robots.
In table-top robotic applications, vibration isolation mounts are often sandwiched between the base of the robot and the legs of the table or conveyor that the robot is stationed. Vibration isolation mounts absorb the vibration of the motor which leads to less stress on the legs and a quieter work environment,
Rubber jackets of Ruland vibration isolation mounts have 55 shore A hardness for a balance of shock absorption and rigidity. Metallic cores are made from 304 stainless steel for high corrosion resistance or zinc-plated steel for higher strength and general-purpose use. Ruland vibration isolation mounts are available with inch threads ranging from #8-32 to 1/2”-13 TPI and metric threads ranging from M3 to M16. All vibration isolation mounts and are sourced from JW Winco and stocked in our Marlborough, Massachusetts location.

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Vibration Isolation Mounts
Rubber Bumpers

Rubber bumpers are threaded components surrounded by a rubber jacket that are used to absorb the vibration given off by motors or other moving elements preventing damage to components in robotic applications. They help reduce maintenance, wear, noise, and repair costs when installed in robots.
The threaded stud or tapped hole on one end of rubber bumpers allows them to be directly connected to motors, mounting frames, machine guard doors, and many other components you would find in a robotic application. The rubber jacket over the other end allows rubber bumpers to act as end stops, mounting feet, or buffers on machine guard doors. Rubber bumpers can be installed onto motors that operate at high speeds to absorb vibration and prevent damage to the motor or other components of the robot. For example, many robots move along uneven factory floors. Having a rubber bumper installed ensures the motor will be isolated from the vibration as the robot moves around the factory, allowing it to run smoothly and efficiently. They are also used as end stops to prevent the robot from moving too far in one direction, as mounting feet at the base of larger robots to prevent shock to floors, and as buffers on machine guard doors to protect the frame of the door.
Ruland rubber bumpers have jackets with 55 shore A hardness for a balance of shock absorption and rigidity. The metallic cores are made from 304 stainless steel for high corrosion resistance or zinc-plated steel for higher strength and general-purpose use. Tapped holes and studs have inch threads ranging from 1/4”-20 TPI to 3/8”-16 TPI and metric threads from M3 to M16 available on our site. All rubber bumpers are sourced from JW Winco and stocked in our Marlborough, Massachusetts location.

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Rubber Bumpers
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