»Men have it hard, but take it easy» with Eichenberger Gewinde AG

Carry is a no-wear ballscrew designed for applications that need to move large loads with low energy consumption. The screw drive excels with its robustness, precision, strength, efficiency and smooth running, as illustrated by its use in a robotic glove called the Ironhand®. More power in the hands thanks to cold-formed ballscrews. The Eichenberger Gewinde AG passion for perfect motion brings this magic hand to life.

When ballscrews improve more than just your arm-wrestling chances

The ability to grip strongly and enduringly without end - that would be the wish of many people doing heavy manual work in construction or in industry. Grasping weighty or tricky objects, carrying them for a long time or holding on to them for a long time requires muscular strength and tenacity. Awkward positions and postures at work are particularly demanding on the body and can also be very strenuous psychologically and impact on the well-being of workers.

Limitless strength in the hand

Preventive workplace measures are needed to relieve the strain of strenuous physical demands on employees and to systematically minimise work-related stress. In conjunction with Bioservo Technologies, an enthusiastic technology and development company from Sweden, Eichenberger Gewinde AG developed the perfect screw drive solution for Ironhand®. The robotic glove is the world's first active soft exoskeleton for the hand, which improves the health of workers performing grasping, repetitive and static work tasks. The Powerhand is based on Soft Extra Muscle technology and was launched in 2019.

With manual work, every hand movement is made possible by the interaction of the muscles in the forearm and hand. These muscles then move the finger joints via tendons. In principle, the Ironhand glove works in the same way. Pressure-sensitive sensors in the fingertips of the glove detect which grasping movement the user wants to perform with the hand. The system computes the additional gripping force required. Very small motors activate five very dynamic and precise ballscrews, which pull thin cables in the finger links of the glove. Thus, when the finger flexes while grasping, these filigree ball screws shorten the artificial tendons and give the Ironhand® enormous grip power. The higher the pressure on the sensors, the more power the Ironhand® delivers. It can be individually adjusted to personal preferences and the type of work to be done. All information is logged in the control system, making it possible to track who has used how much force and when. This enables a digital risk assessment of the hand. Grip-intensive applications with high ergonomic risks can be identified by analysing the data in actual practice and countermeasures can be taken accordingly.

 

Ironhand®_picture 2-2-1
With great passion for the perfect motion, Eichenberger Gewinde AG brings this magic hand to life.

Muscles are relieved, the productivity and well-being at the end of a shift are improved.


Five rolled ballscrews provide concentrated power

Drive technology is in a state of tension. Increasing time and cost pressure are set against objectives such as precise processes, high load ratings and speeds, long service life or reduced weight. Over the decades, Eichenberger has developed an impressive range of ball and sliding screw drives. The Swiss thread professional always endeavours to build on an existing product and to adapt the screw drive to the specific requirements of the application. This brings a decisive price advantage and makes the customer's product more competitive.


bg-header-01Tailor-made for maximum precision and efficiency

In many industries, advanced mechanisation and digitalisation are making it possible for modern machines to carry out physically heavy work or to relieve the workload. This is the case with the Ironhand®. Employees performing heavy work in a wide range of industries owe their well-being and productivity to the Ironhand®.

The dynamics and strength of the Ironhand® gripping power arise from quiet, slim and extremely resilient ballscrews. Servo motors do not generally stand alone; for most applications they are combined with gearboxes for transmission purposes. It is the five cold-rolled, slim yet extremely robust Carry ballscrews that convert the rotary motion of the small servo motors into a clean linear motion. Their impressive efficiency of over 94 % ensures remarkably powerful drive performance.

Five Swiss heroes reduce physical stress

The glove is available in four different sizes and can be worn by left- and right-handers. A battery pack, worn like an ergonomic backpack, houses both a computer unit and the ballscrews with the motor that give life to the individual finger joints.

Ironhand Lifting Box-1

 

Limited installation space often poses a challenge with high loads. Noiseless motion in the smallest of spaces is required. This is exactly how Eichenberger's partner describes the demands on the ballscrews that embody the mechanical drive elements of the Ironhand fingers. High positioning accuracies with the smallest strokes and high dynamics in continuous operation have to be mastered without compromising safety and reliability. Maintenance intervals, service life and of course costs, all play a major role.

Products comparable in dimension or quality perform better than expected at Eichenberger Gewinde AG. Through individual design or special manufacturing processes, the thread professional adapts its products to the application and makes the impossible possible. In this way, products are created that bring the customer's innovations to the forefront of the market. The cold-formed, inductively hardened Ironhand® ballscrews, 5 x 2 mm in size, combine speed, precision and minimal space requirements. In addition, the ideal lead ratio of the spindle reinforces the efficiency of the movement. The "five Swiss heroes", each with three ingenious single-gear returns built into the nut, are also amazingly lightweight and increase the cost-effectiveness of the overall solution.

Ballscrews make it easy

The cold-rolled, powerful ballscrews provide endurance and grip strength for the Ironhand®. Intense, repetitive and/or static work can be performed effortlessly. In the handling sector, there are a number of tasks where the hands are repeatedly exposed to high forces or have to press continuously, such as when silicone strips have to be manually fitted to car doors. The glove reduces workload when awkward or heavy objects have to be held for long periods of time, for example in glass installations. It assists in lifting, carrying and installing heavy parts. Laying and finishing concrete on construction sites is an arduous task, as holding and guiding the loader is very strenuous. Ironhand® significantly reduces the effort required to grip and manoeuvre this machinery. Furthermore, the Ironhand provides unrivalled strength when operating power tools such as grinders, screwdrivers or even pneumatic hammer machines, and it provides power to the hands when cutting metal with angle grinders - the fields of application are manifold.

Ironhand® differentiates movements using a combination of sensor sensitivity, force, finger symmetry and locking tendency. Profiles can be changed at the touch of a button on the remote control located in the chest area. Using these settings, it is possible to react flexibly to different situations during the course of a working day, such as performing less strenuous tasks in the morning and more physically demanding jobs in the afternoon. This also means that different users can work with one system. The system can provide a maximum of 80 N of grip force within milliseconds.

 

Ironhand®_2019_3-1Powerful grip on highly repetitive and/or static tasks


One step ahead with the right technology partner

Eichenberger Gewinde AG ventures into the world of exotic materials, thread forms or dimensions that lie outside the norm. Unusual geometries, custom interfaces, special materials and hardening processes offer impressive extras. The company manufactures all necessary tools in-house. In this way, the thread specialist guarantees a short time-to-market for application-optimised high-precision and cost-effective products.

This is what we did in the case of the Ironhand®. If you are interested in finding your ideal solution in conjunction with us, please take a look at our Inspiration Check.

 

IMG_0717-1Together with the user, we actively find a solution to meet their requirements.



Listening is the path to success

The driving force for development at Eichenberger is competitive and successful customer innovations and the inspiring conversations that go with it. Mr. Martin Remning Wahlstedt, Development Director BIOSERVO, is enthusiastic about the thread professional from Switzerland: "At the heart of the Ironhand® kit are five electrically driven, cold-rolled ballscrews. They convert the rotary motion of the small motors into a linear motion and ensure what for us was a surprisingly good drive performance. Thanks to these fine, lightweight yet very reliable and accurate drive components, we were able to develop an efficient, comfortable-to-carry control unit that fits perfectly in the backpack.


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Ursula Schädeli

Marketing, Eichenberger Gewinde AG

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