Taiwanese tool manufacturer Hartford uses fully harnessed igus energy chain systems in its robotic machining centres, reducing assembly time from several weeks to just half a day.
In very few industries are throughput times as important as in the machine tool industry. Cutting out individual work steps achieves considerable savings in process times and costs.
The design engineers at Hartford, the largest manufacturer of CNC machining centres in Taiwan, know this well. In the last 50 years, Hartford has exported more than 46,000 machines to 65 countries. Since 2017, it has been developing its Aero series, robotic machining centres for the very large components needed in the aerospace industry, for which precision and reliability are critical factors.
Therefore, it is important to have a reliable energy supply from the switch cabinet to the moving parts. At the same time, all the information regarding axis positions and dynamics must be passed back to the control system without interruption. In the first model in this series, the Aero626, this happens at accelerations up to 0.5g and a maximum travel speed of up to 1m/s.
A complete system from a single source
Hartford turned to igus, whose energy chains are configurable online, and whose specially designed, highly flexible chainflex cables are tested for two billion cycles per year.
As a complete system from a single source, these 'readychains' are harnessed to customers' requirements at 12 locations worldwide, then delivered ready to install. All chainflex cables have an oil-resistant PUR outer jacket, so additional protective hoses are not needed. As a result, the amount of space needed for the cables, and therefore the size of the chains, is reduced, which in turn reduces installation and maintenance times and costs.
Through close collaboration between igus Taiwan and Hartford, a 3D drawing of the readychain with assembly frame was created in order to simulate the assembly procedure. The benefit could be seen straightaway: the first energy chain fitted with all electrical cables was installed on the machine in an hour, and the second with hydraulic hoses was even faster, taking just 40 minutes.
Cutting out work steps
Normally, machine tool manufacturers try to avoid too many different work steps being carried out on a system at the same time. A lot of manual work done by different employees does not necessarily enhance efficiency; rather, it increases the chance of errors.
Previously, two employees took one and half weeks on the x axis of an Aero system and a further week on the y and z axes. Now, by using igus readychains, four e-chains can be fully installed in half a day, cutting out several work steps, reducing costs and greatly improving productivity.
Complete harnessed igus readychain systems are available in Australia from Treotham which is able to provide users with a fully customised solution for almost any application.
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