Motus Labs' ML1000 Series of M-DRIVES Available for Use in Robot and Automation Industries

Motus Labs, a designer and manufacturer of mechanical motion control solutions for the industrial, service, and collaborative robot and automation markets, today announced commercial availability of the Motus Labs ML1000 series of M-DRIVES.

The disruptive drive architecture uses mating blocks or surfaces instead of traditional gear teeth resulting in a more rigid drive at a lower weight with up to twice the torque density and 15% greater efficiencies compared to competitive strain wave drives. These performance benefits provide a lower overall solution cost, increased precision, reach, speed, and longer life – significantly improving the ROI for robot end-users.

“We are excited to bring to market a revolutionary new drive that enables robot manufacturers the ability to differentiate their robots and create more value for their end-users,” said Joe Pollard, chief executive officer, and co-founder at Motus Labs. “Robot end-users gain superior price to performance, often saving up to $100,000 over the life of the robot and the ability to extend into markets previously unattainable, basically enabling companies to build what they can imagine,” added Pollard.

Motus Labs M-DRIVE Architecture

The M-DRIVE architecture was awarded its first patent in 2016 after five years of research and development by Carlos Hoefken, inventor, and automation engineer. Hoefken identified an opportunity to design a significantly new robotic gear drive that would increase performance and add value. The drive is the most critical, differentiating, and expensive component of the robot, that determines positioning accuracy and speed of operation. The patented design utilizes a series of cam-driven blocks that engage over 80% of the output ring surface area versus 10 -15% with traditional drives. Motus Labs currently has seven U.S. patents granted and eight additional patents pending.

“Industry 4.0 is on the horizon, and AI-driven robots require smart actuators that require smart gear drives – and that is where we started with the M-DRIVE,” said Carlos Hoefken, inventor, and founder at Motus Labs. “The M-DRIVE architecture aims to address three objectives. First, increase precision and drive performance and lower overall robot solution costs. Second, be an enabling technology for new applications in adaptive robotics. Finally, continue our innovative approach and bring to market smart robot components as the industry shifts from traditional automation to smart manufacturing,” added Hoefken.

M-DRIVE ML1000 Series

The ML1000 family of hollow shaft drives includes standard gear drive sizes ranging from 17-40. The family of drives accommodates the requirements of a fully articulated robot which has up to seven actuators or joints from the ‘shoulder’ or largest drive to the ‘wrist’ or smallest drive. The M-DRIVE series has up to twice the torque-to-weight ratio of the strain wave counterpart in the same size, resulting in reduced gear drive size and weight at each joint, lower overall arm mass, and moment of inertia, and smaller motor size and weight.

M-DRIVES also have up to twice the torsional stiffness of strain wave gears, resulting in better mechanical stability. For a typical robot, these advantages can translate into a 15-20% increase in robot speed and reach, up to a 50% decrease in wear at each robot joint, and a 10-20% lower actuator cost.

M-DRIVE 1000 Series Specifications

M-DRIVE Technology Advantages:

  • Up to 2X Torque Density
    • Reduced drive and motor size at every robot joint, reduces overall weight.
    • Designers configure robots with a smaller footprint, opening new applications with compelling pricing.
  • Up to 2X Torsional Stiffness
    • Less droop and higher repeatability
    • Reduce unneeded torque or complex compensation circuitry.
  • Up to 15% Increased Efficiency
    • Greater efficiencies result in cooler operation, no need to over-spec motors to manage heat.
  • Flexible Materials
    • 3-D printing plastics and composite components can further reduce weight.
  • Zero Backlash

Motus M-DRIVE Availability

M-Drive ML1000-17 is currently available for purchase, inquire at to get a quote or to discuss applications. The ML1000-20, 25, 32, will be available in late September. The ML1000-40 will be available in Q4.


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