The ability to use our hands is a vitally important function as they are involved in practically everything we do - from brushing our teeth in the morning and tiring work during the day or putting our sleepy children to bed at night. Hence impaired hand function can have serious consequences at work as well as at home. An enthusiastic technology and development company from Sweden is on a mission to manufacture bionic, power-generating products for people with reduced muscle strength or for providing additional power. The search for the perfect drive solution for this latest revolutionary innovation led Bioservo Technologies AB to Eichenberger Gewinde AG.
Ironhand® combines medical know-how, robotics and computer technology. The Swiss thread specialist is now breathing life into this magical hand with its passion for the perfect motion.
Listening is the path to success
The thread expert from Burg, Switzerland, welcomes the challenge of unusual materials, dimensions or thread shapes. The Eichenberger’s designers listen to customers and note their requirements in solution-oriented consultations. Helping the customers to develop competetiv and successful innovations together with the inspiring consultations which ensue, is the driving force for Eichenberger’s to prouce new developments following to the motto: Quality begins by focusing on our customers and ends with their satisfaction.
Quality of life, thanks to Ironhand®
Tasks which require a lot of grip can be extremely challenging for people with weak hands. Pain or a lack of strength can result in absence from work and in some serious situtions, job responsibilities may even have to be redefined (re-training). This may have consequences for the company as well as for the physical and mental health of the individual concerned. Providing tools can help people to master daily tasks again and/or return to work, that companies lose fewer qualified employees with key competencies, and individuals remain integrated in the world of work.
Ironhand® is based on Soft Extra Muscle technology and was launched in 2019. The modular system consists of a glove covering five fingers, and a drive system. Pressure sensors integrated in the power hand control servomotors in the device. This provides the wearer with particularly strong grip.
One step ahead with the right technology partner
Eichenberger Gewinde AG boldly uses exotic materials, thread shapes and dimensions outside the norm. Unusual geometries, company’s own designed interfaces, special materials and hardening procedures offer impressive extras. Where else can a ballscrew with the measurements of 9.3 x 2.125 mm be found, for example? Only from Eichenberger! The tools required for this are made by the company itself. In this way, the thread specialist guarantees short time-to-market for application-optimised products with top precision and cost-effectiveness.
In co-operation with Bioservo, Eichenberger has developed the perfect thread drive solution for Ironhand®. Bioservo is a globally leading company in the area of soft exoskeletons and motor support focusing on the hand and other upper body extremities. The Bioservo team had the idea of developing a glove to help prevent stress-related injuries and to rehabilite and to support people with daily tasks at home or at work.
Super strength made easy – thanks to ballscrews
Ironhand® consists of a lightweight glove with a wearable control unit that is carried as a backpack. It is able to increase the user’s grip strength by up to 80 N within milliseconds. The key components of this mechanism are five electrically powered, cold-rolled Eichenberger ballscrews. These ballscrews convert the rotational movements of the small servomotors into linear motion. Impressive efficiency of more than 94% guarantees perfect drive power.
The function of Ironhand® is similar to that of our hands. A hand movement is usually initiated by the muscles in the forearm. Those muscles pull on the tendons that are attached to the five fingers. Ironhand® works in the same way: The pressure-sensitive sensors in the fingertips of the glove recognise when the user grasps an object. A microcomputer calculates the required power. Servomotors drive five intricate ballscrews of 5 x 2 mm (Ø 5 mm, pitch 2 mm). They are connected with the fingers of the glove by thin wires. These fine connections move the fingers, and the additional strength is created by the slimline glove. The higher the pressure on the sensors, the more power the glove delivers. So Ironhand® recognises how the user grasps an object and intuitively and automatically adapts the gripping movement.
Standard ballscrews – or would you like a little extra?
Restricted assembly space with heavy loads is a frequent challenge. Silent movements within limited space are required. This is the Bioservo specification description for the mechanical drive elements. High positioning accuracies with the smallest lifts and high dynamics must be mastered when in constant use. Safety and reliability are the focus. Maintenance intervals, service life and of course cost also play important roles.
Products comparable in dimension or quality perform better than expected at Eichenberger Gewinde AG. Using individual designs or special manufacturing processes, the thread specialist adapts its products to the application in question thus making the impossible possible, creating solutions bring customers’ innovations to the forefront of the market. The cold-formed, inductively hardened Ironhand® ballscrews, with dimensions of 5 x 2 mm, combine speed, precision and minimum spatial conditions. Additionally, the perfect pitch ratio of the screw increases movement efficiency. “The five Swiss heroes”, with three clever single-thread returns integrated in the nut, stand out with their low weight and increase the cost-effectiveness of the overall solution.
Tailor-made for maximum precision and efficiency, ballscrews Carry 20 x 5