CRBs Give Surgeons a Steady Robotic Hand

Robotic surgery wouldn’t be surgery without…the surgeon. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the surgeon is in the theater with the patient. In robotic surgery, the surgeon can be in the next room — or possibly anywhere in the world — controlling the robot arms and instruments via a “wristed” console. At the console, the surgeon’s hands turn and maneuver rotating hoops. Crossed Roller Bearings (CRBs) are implemented with these hoops, ensuring they move smoothly and with precision so the control software can translate the gestures and scale them into the robotic arm’s actual movement.

IKO Crossed Roller Bearings are well-suited for surgical robot controls because the hoop inputs impose different loads onto the bearing with the surgeon’s various gestures. To manage this, CRBs handle radial, thrust and moment loads in a single unit. Additionally, CRBs offer the precision and versatility controllers demand — all in a compact size. Because the CRBs inside the control console are pivotal to the surgeon’s ability to guide the instruments, it’s important to keep these characteristics in mind when selecting CRBs for this application:

  • High precision and zero backlash. Because only a portion of the surgeon’s finger or hand gestures are translated through the robot, the console requires a proper bearing that will allow the hoop input’s movement and rotary motion but without introducing any “play” that could otherwise affect the translation.
  • Small size. In robotic surgery control consoles, space is typically at a premium.
  • Smooth motion. Precise positioning of surgical instruments begins with smooth rotary motion at the user input.
  • Light preload. In order to provide the surgeon with the exact tactile feel necessary to perform the manipulation, preload management is essential.
  • Customizable. Sometimes additional modifications may be necessary to achieve a desired tactile feel or satisfy other design requirements.

CRB Features and Options Enhance the Surgeon’s Dexterity
IKO crossed roller bearings are well-suited to address the distinct challenges of surgical robot controls, such as the ability to handle the various loads applied at the inputs by surgeons as well as the ability to respond accurately to their gestures. Many of our CRBs come in compact and slim sizes to fit tight spaces within the controllers. Another slim version includes separators between the cylindrical rollers to deliver even smoother rotation. All of our CRBs feature rollers crossed at right angles between inner and outer rings to create a rigid unit that has greater precision while also economizing space and weight.

We can also customize CRBs with factory-adjusted preloads or create higher-precision grades with superior rotational accuracy. Our sales engineers can review your requirements to help you select the right CRB to help surgeons perform their robotic procedure with the greatest dexterity possible.

For more information about IKO CRBs for surgical robots, please visit our product page.

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