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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

Drone in a box

with lightweight and maintenance-free motion plastics

Most of the drone flights are controlled manually ("hands-on piloting"). The smartphone and/or remote control is used for take-off, flying and landing. Here, the pilot stands in close proximity to the drone so as to keep it in sight. After about 20 to 30 minutes, the battery capacity is exhausted and the user has to charge the drone via a charging cable at a socket. For many industrial applications, this procedure is impractical, uneconomic and hard to realise.

The drone in a box principle

With a drone in a box system, you can let drones fly automatically and autonomously. Typically, three components are necessary:

  • drone that can be charged automatically, e.g. via charging contacts on the landing skids, a gear you attach to a normal drone or an automated battery replacement in the box.
  • The box serves as a platform for the drone to take off and land. It is designed in such a way that it can charge the drone or automatically replace the battery. During the charging process or when the drone is not meant to be in the air, the box is a secure repository.
  •  Control software plans and controls flight applications and routes.

Contact an expert
motion plastics for drones in a box

In January 2021, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the first fully autonomous commercial drone flights. A company based in Massachusetts was granted the permission to operate drones without hands-on control or direct observation by a pilot. Although this is only allowed in rural areas in altitudes up to 122 metres (400 foot), the permission is still a significant step towards the extension of the commercial use of drones for farmers, postal organisations, power plant operators and other customers.

motion plastics for the drone box


Resistant to moisture, dirt and corrosion   Lubrication-free and maintenance-free   Light and compact

Drone box with igus products

1. Opening and closing the cover

►  High helix lead screw DST-LS
►  Flange lead screw nut DST-JFRM
►  2-hole fixed flange bearing EFOM
►  Special stepper motor with splash guard MOT-AD
►  Energy chain E2 mini

Different products for use in the drone cover
dryspin lead screw in the drone cover

2. Centring the drone

►  Reverse toothed belt axis ZLW-0630-OD
►  Special stepper motor with splash guard MOT-AD
►  Energy chain E2 micro

Products for centring the drone
drylin rails for centring the drone

3. Raising and lowering the landing platform

►  Linear guides for lead screws SLW-0630
►  Energy chain E2 mini

Linear guides for lead screws SLW-0630 and e-chain E2 mini
dryspin lead screws for raising and lowering the landing platform

4. Replacing the battery

►  Worm gear RL-D
►  Low-cost robot RL-DP-4

Worm gear RL-D
Worm gear during the replacement of the drone battery

Application areas

There are several application areas for the drone in a box - below are some examples:

  • In the security industry, the concept is used to start the alarm in case of an emergency, to fly to the place where the alarm occurred and to take pictures of the scene. Regular, planned patrol flights are also possible. Furthermore, companies have already used the technology to make big events safer.
  • In agriculture, the concept is already being successfully used for inspection and measuring tasks. With special cameras on the drone, it is possible to recognise changes in the vegetation at an early stage.
  • In the maintenance of factories or power plants, drones in a box are used to stream aerial views and data of the plants to the staff in real time. This can help detect, e.g. gas/water leaks or necessary maintenance work.
  • In many parts of the world, packing stations have become a useful way of dropping off parcels irrespective of the time. If these stations were extended by starting and landing places for drones, many package deliveries could be automated in future.


I would be happy to answer your questions

Shipping and consultation

In person:

Monday to Friday from 8am - 8pm.