Igus Showcases Range of Energy Chain Systems at Hanover Industrial Exhibition

Easily assembled and filled compact components that are even faster, more silent and wear-resistant, illustrate igus’ constant refinements in the supply and transmission of, energy, data and media.

The challenge, however, is to develop customised solutions for many different applications where the user can sit back and see it installed and one hundred percent problem-free.

The energy chain (including cables and special blend polymer bearings) manufacturer showcased its numerous product innovations and systems at the recent Hanover Industrial Exhibition.

Represented in Australia by Treotham Automation, igus revealed it had kept step with rapid developments; not only in the area of cable-bound chain systems but also with inductive energy and wireless data transmission: igus has been developing, for over one year, exclusively chain-free solutions.

This research had yielded many new opportunities in numerous fields and applications.

Permanent simplifications are an important factor at the moment, as igus continues to offer new or upgraded Internet tools such as: online catalogues, product configurations and service life calculations for 31 countries in 17 languages on its website.

New: T3 band chain is fast, silent and clean room-compatible:

For applications with high speeds and accelerations, igus has now developed the T3 band chain. This lightweight, energy supply, system for short strokes runs smoothly with minimum vibrations and virtually no noise: 33 dB (A) with 26.5 dB (A) of background noise.

The side section bands, 120 mm long and injection-moulded as one piece, reduce production, assembly, and manufacturing costs making the T3 band chain affordable for the user.

This new energy chain was developed for applications in the electronics production industry: for measuring machines, high-speed handling systems, graphic machines or linear motor shafts.

igus E6 energy chain series, now available in a new intermediate size with an inner height of 35mm, can also be used. Both chains, the E6 and the new T3 band are suitable for clean rooms, because they are virtually abrasion-free.

The same applies to the floating magnetic energy chain LeviChain, another option that has now been certified as clean room-compatible by the Fraunhofer IPA Institute. One year after the product launch, initial field tests are already being carried out in the electronics industry.

Series E4.1 extended all applications possible with just one energy chain:

Simplification from a large range of design options was also the guiding principle for the concept behind the energy chain series E4.1.

The E4.1 has kept igus design engineers busy for many years and was certainly one of the ambitious projects in the history of energy chains at igus.

For a universal solution, the E4.1 family of energy chains can open from both sides and combines all the design ideas developed in the past few years for the E4, E4/4, and E4.100 series, now available in a single family.

Design developments include, a base grip for considerable lateral stability, high accelerations over long travels and for long unsupported lengths, silent brakes and rubber nubs as additional noise-reducing options, and external and internal straps for fast assembly, with or without pretension.

Each E4 series is dirt-repellent with a smooth, wear-resistant surface, and features the additional new development, in line with the E4.1 range, of a new crossbar with a Quicklock mechanism.

This rapid locking device means the opening links of the chain can be effortlessly opened and closed with a screwdriver, and is ideal for full chains in need of repair, or when retrofitting work needs to be carried out rapidly.

Like the new interior separator options, these new ideas highlight the trend towards process simplification, further providing users with additional flexibility in every situation.

New system Guidelok, no deviations at great heights:

Another new product, presented by igus in Hanover, continues the compact and ease-of-assembly theme. Guidelok, a system for vertical applications, keeps hanging chains in place, even when there are massive transverse accelerations.

Due to recent design developments, applications such as: aisle stackers, lifts, hoists or material conveying equipment no longer require expensive casings.

The energy chain is secured in the trough by two tilting levers automatically activated by the radius.

The net result of this being the energy chain cannot swing out or deviate to the side, even on masts 40 metres high; the Guidelok system capturing and containing the energy chain.

Assembly simplification has been enhanced by yet another igus innovation: the development of a new fixed point, screw-on plate for its aluminium trough system. With this, all drilling work is eliminated, and connecting elements can be fastened directly inside the trough.

No more dirt: new roller energy chain 5050RHDAX:

Even for long travels with high loads whether that is 150 metres while being exposed to the dirt involved in open-pit mining or cement plants, or over 500 metres while being exposed to wind and saltwater on ship-to-shore cranes - all-polymer energy chains are today an in demand solution.

These contexts challenged designers to make further simplifications without mitigating the safety considerations associated with harsh conditions.

One example, available ex-stock, is the P4 profile roller chain. Awarded the industry design award iF award 2007 the P4 features rollers divided onto the upper and lower runs. The rollers on the upper run move silently at speeds of up to 10m/s, as opposed to the rollers of the lower run.

igus’ newly developed heavy-duty roller energy chain 5050RHDAX has the limit stops are on the outside, with large gaps between moving surfaces to prevent dust and dirt deposits clinging and detracting from the efficiency of the system.

This is condition monitoring for preventive maintenance against mechanical damage. It has also become an increasingly important part of large-scale energy chain systems.

As one of several versions, igus is now offering PPDS easy, a slimmed-down solution, which includes an automatic emergency shutdown in case of overload.

New: Triflex R for welding robots, mini-robots, 3-D cable CF Robot:

According to igus, trends in cable management over the past few years have also focused strongly on robotics; from heavy production robots to small palletising robots.

At the Hanover Industrial Fair, the company presented multi-dimensional energy chains designed to protect highly stressed cables.

igus’ Triflex R product range is available in two new sizes, its, and in accordance with customer demands, the TRC/TRE.85 is available in a closed or open design that is ideal for welding applications.

Also new, is the TRC/TRE.30, a version for narrow bending radii for 6-axis mini-robots. Igus has developed the functionally efficient cable for each robotics application, in addition to the chain itself.

For 3-D applications, the company now has new Chainflex CF Robot. This shielded single-core cable has already been tested in +/- 270 degrees and through more than three million torsional movements.

Another new cable product, for the crane engineering and materials handling industry, is the TPE fibre optical cable CFLG.6G.TC. Tested at the igus in-house technical centre, at temperatures below -40°C, this cable can supply cranes with data even in the Arctic regions.

New: transmitting energy inductively – invis power wear-free over hundreds of metres:

As a supplier of dynamic energy and data supply components and systems, igus is also researching new opportunities in the field of contactless technology.

With invis power, the company has now unveiled a well-developed complete product family for inductive energy transmission for lengths up to 400 metres.

As with its cable-bound systems, igus relies on a modular design principle. Instead of expensive, tedious projects, the customer receives a simple selection of components in order to implement one or several built-on sockets.

Contactless, and therefore without friction or wear, invis power offers maintenance-free outputs with a net efficiency of 92 to 94 percent ranging from 5 to 40 kVA, depending on the requirements of the customer.

Inductive transmission paths can be useful in aggressive environments such as compost plants, or clean rooms, where no abrasion whatsoever is permitted.

invis data: industry-compatible radio system, new modular IP67 housing:

For wireless data transmission, igus has also now developed two solutions comprising a robust family for use outside the switch cabinet: invis data.

Solution number one: a high-frequency signal (e.g. USB 2.0 or FireWire 1394a/b) is converted into a light signal in a coupler, transmitted via glass OWG and then converted back to an electric signal, and transported further via copper cable.

This is the right way to transport large data quantities quickly, safely and inexpensively without any disturbance by electromagnetic fields.

According to Blase, this makes sense in the case of long distances, where OWGs are better than copper, and in EMC-stressed environments.

Solution number two: comprises radio engineering products for transmission links up to 1,000 metres, and a proprietary system for distances up to 20 metres, both with clear visibility.

As a polymer developer, igus has developed industry-compatible versions in which the printed circuit board is protected inside a sturdy, dirt-repellent housing; it is still only possible to transmit smaller data quantities wirelessly than by cable. The radio-typical limitations of air as a transmission medium still remain.