At SPS IPC Drives 2018, igus presented a new and globally unique concept for intelligent monitoring of bus cables in e-chain systems. The CF.D system, available in Australia from Treotham, detects even the slightest changes in transmission characteristics, so the high costs of unplanned plant shutdowns and production losses can be avoided.
The mechanical loads in e-chains eventually change the transmission characteristics of bus cables. As well as linear travels, this also applies to three-dimensional movements, for example in dress packs on robots. The result is disruptions in data transmission and unforeseen plant failures.
The system consists of an evaluation unit and a response module, which are integrated at the beginning and end of the moving bus cable. The evaluation unit is usually placed in the switch cabinet on the fixed end side and the response module in the distribution box on the moving end side. Special data packs are transmitted between the two for measurement purposes and the condition of the cable is evaluated by the increasing number of lost or damaged packs.
If a predefined value is exceeded, the operator is alerted via a yellow LED and the switching of a contact. This alert threshold can also be queried via the connected network and the current situation displayed in a web browser. Exceeding a second alert threshold is signaled via a red LED and indicates a failure of the bus transmission, so the error can be quickly located by looking at the switch cabinet.
This innovative system enables the monitoring of a cable in dynamic operation, without additional measuring wires or sacrificial cables.
igus has been developing this family of products, in which various sensors and monitoring modules add intelligence to motion plastics products such as e-chains, cables, linear guides and slewing ring bearings, since 2016. They measure, among other things, the wear during the operation and alert the operator early enough to plan repair or replacement.
By networking using the igus communication module (icom), online status and alert display, for example via a computer, tablet or smartphone, is just as possible as direct integration into the customer’s infrastructure. These smart plastics are already predicting the service life of numerous customer applications, such as in the automotive industry.
The next step of development is the increasing integration of components, such as the receiver in a connector housing.
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