PI 047-13 2013-05-27

Bosch Rexroth Gives Some Legs to Walking Robot


The “Mantis” hexapod robot is aimed at applications both in the film industry and other sectors, such as unmanned subsea exploration, and work in environments that are sensitive to terrain damage.

Mantis, the world’s biggest operational all terrain hexapod robot, which was unveiled earlier this year, has made an appearance at the Elmia Wood 2013 forestry exhibition (5 – 8 June 2013) in Sweden. The nine foot (2.7 meters) tall robot, which resembles a giant insect and can be driven remotely or piloted from the machine’s cockpit, took four years to develop and features Bosch Rexroth components and know-how.

18 Rexroth 4WREE6 valves provide the integral function of controlling the hydraulic cylinders that operate the Mantis’ six legs. Each leg features three independent closed loop axes, one at the knee and two at the hip, with feedback provided by sensors installed on the outside of the leg.

Mantis is the brainchild of chief designer Matt Denton, managing director of Micromagic Systems, who first decided upon the concept and created the computer controls that give the machine its high functionality. These include the ability to move omnidirectionally (forwards/backwards, crab left/right, turn left/right), climb over uneven ground and raise and lower on command.

Speaking about the machine’s development Matt said: “I’d been making smaller hexapod robots for a number of years for use in the film and TV industries as well as for private collectors. I felt that if I could scale up the machine to the point where it could carry a person that, as well as demonstrating what is possible with current technologies and British engineering, there could be further applications both in the film industry and other sectors, such as unmanned subsea exploration, and work in environments that are sensitive to terrain damage.

“I was aware of Bosch Rexroth valves from their use in special effects on films I’d worked on in the past. Having contacted Bosch Rexroth I was put in touch with Nigel Hart who, as well as specifying the Rexroth 4WREE6 valves, provided assistance and advice on the hydraulic design of circuits, safety considerations, reducing the reservoir size and cooling. What impressed me most about the Bosch Rexroth valves, and proved essential to the functionality of the machine, was the smooth and accurate control they provide.”

In addition to the 18 Rexroth 4WREE6 valves Mantis features a Rexroth A10VO63DFR pump, typically used in booms and cranes that supplies the robot’s hydraulic power. Fitted with load sensing the pump ensures that only the right flow and pressure is delivered reducing power consumption.

Nigel Hart, sector manager for Marine and Offshore at Bosch Rexroth UK said: “Mantis is a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved with today’s technology. It is also indicative of the significant changes that have happened throughout the industry over the past ten to fifteen years. Now even the most simple of components come with intelligence that allows it to perform a variety of functions and adapt to a number of applications.”

To find out more about Mantis visit

Economical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation, and Renewable Energies to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, pneumatics, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology all from one source. With locations in over 80 countries, more than 37,500 associates generated sales revenue of approximately 6.5 billion euros in 2012.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services, active in the fields of automotive technology, energy and building technology, industrial technology, and con-sumer goods. According to preliminary figures, more than 306,000 associates generated sales of 52.3 billion euros in 2012. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.5 billion euros for research and development in 2012, and applied for over 4,700 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is “Invented for life.”

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