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Igus: E-Chain Concept With Dynamic Pins

igus: E-Chain Concept With Dynamic Pins

Igus has developed the lokchain energy chain with extending and retracting pins for new machine design concepts. The goal of the new lokchain energy supply system is to automatically increase the operational reliability. They ensure that the energy chain operates safely and quietly, even with small bending radii and over long travel distances. This has the potential to reinvent power, data and media supply in many dynamic applications. Automatically extending pins hold the e-chain securely in the guide, allowing completely new solutions in vertical, hanging or circular movement applications.

Due to the special construction of the lokchain there is hardly any abrasion and wear, so the service life of the e-chain is increased. Another advantage of the new e-chain system is the mobility of the chain links. The flexibility of this e-chain offers the user the opportunity to develop completely new machine design concepts this system can also be used in vertical circular applications.

Merchandise Management 4.0: Electronic Igus Cable Catalogue With BMEcat

Merchandise Management 4.0: Electronic igus Cable Catalogue With BMEcat

Digital catalogue data now provided for chainflex cables

Selection, procurement, ordering, invoicing – complex merchandise management with products in the B2B area needs one thing above all: simple and standardised processes from the manufacturer to the recipient, and uniform worldwide. Under the name BMEcat, the Federal Association for Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics (Bundesverband Materialwirtschaft und Einkauf (BME)) has developed a standard system for the electronic exchange of catalogue data that can easily be integrated into existing merchandise management systems. igus, the motion plastics specialist, is now using the exchange format for catalogue data for its chainflex cables used in moving applications.

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Reducing Vibration Of Cable Carriers On High Precision Machinery

Reducing Vibration Of Cable Carriers On High Precision Machinery

Customers are demanding increased accuracy and precision from their production equipment across a wide range of applications. By Dan Thompson, product manager for energy chain cable carrier systems, igus Incorporated.

Increasingly complex automation has created the additional challenge of vibration of dynamic machine components significantly increasing vibration of the complete system. In a number of industries—including semiconductor manufacturing, machine tools and printer design—cable carrier systems can be a possible source of vibration.

Cable carrier systems supply energy, data and other media, and as technology increases, so too does the number of cables and hoses that require guidance. As cable carriers guide and protect cables and hoses throughout the motion of the printer, machine tool, etc., vibration of the supporting structure of the cable carrier can occur, as well as at the moving end or tow arm  of the machine.

This vibration can negatively influence the performance of a machine once it reaches a certain level. For manufacturers, as well as their customers, factors that limit the capabilities of precision systems must be tackled using cable carrier systems that minimise vibrations  and maximise smooth and precise operation.

In milling, printing, or other precise tasks, dynamic loads are the typical source of vibration, which can cause chatter on tools and workpieces alike. These chatter vibrations not only decrease the quality of the print, product, etc., but can also cause increased wear on the components of the machine itself, leading to product defects, system malfunctions and downtime. Because of this, the dependence on low vibration materials and machine components is on the rise in an effort to limit self-generated machine vibrations.

Designing Vibration-Reducing Components

 Most cable carrier systems utilise a pin-and-bore connection between the individual links of the carrier in order to guarantee a secure connection under high dynamic loads. This type of connection also gives the carrier system protection against external influences, resistance to high torsional forces, high tensile strength, and high mechanical durability. However, a disadvantage of the pin-and-bore design is the resulting relative motion between the links, which over time can cause wear on moving parts.

In addition, the rolling motion of a cable carrier system exhibits the so-called “polygon effect,” where the chain does not form a smooth rolling motion, resulting in an angular, or polygonal, transition between links. In addition to increased wear, this also results in a “stepping” motion, which can create system vibrations. This can—in a worst-case scenario—result in material failure due to catastrophic resonance. Even in less extreme cases, the vibration caused by the polygon effect results in material wear and decreased accuracy on the workpiece.

To  improve  upon  the design of cable carriers to reduce vibration, most manufacturers rely on a short link pitch to offer smooth, quiet motion. Igus’ low-vibration energy chain cable carriers combine a short pitch length with an advanced plastic spring element to replace the traditional pin-and-bore design. Replacing the conventional pin-and-bore design, the E3, E6, and E6-1 series of energy chains feature a flexible connection element that reduces the polygon effect due to their alternative geometry. This upgraded design offers extremely smooth and nearly vibration-free operation, even under high acceleration forces.

Material Selection And Its Impact On Vibration

No matter how specialised the design of a cable carrier system, without materials that are properly able to dampen vibrations, damage and eventual failure can still occur. Compared to their metal counterparts, plastic materials are much better at damping vibration forces, due to plastics’ viscoelastic behaviours.

The plastic material igumid G, which makes up igus energy chains, is a proprietary blend, made up of a reinforced polyamide 6 (PA6) base. Polymer blends like these are also able to dampen vibrations by using the interface between the material’s components (ie: fibres and other structures blended throughout the base polymer) as a mechanism for reducing vibratory forces.

Technology Outlook

The new E6-1 series of cable carriers has shown to have the lowest levels of noise and vibration in cable carrier applications due to its material makeup and design. This new generation offers a weight reduction of approximately 30 percent when compared to the E6 series, and exhibits even lower noise and vibration levels. A shortened pitch and “brake” in the stop dog system reduce the sound pressure levels by an additional 2 dB(A). Optimised geometry makes operation of the E6-1 system very smooth, eliminating the polygon effect almost entirely, even at higher speeds  and   accelerations.

Another option for reducing vibration on machine tools can be provided via special cable carrier design. An example of this would be creating a nested arrangement of cable carriers, which can dramatically increase milling accuracy in certain cases. These nested systems can change the system properties of the machine, and can be combined with additional systems to help minimise or eliminate damaging vibrations. These systems apply external forces to minimise or completely eliminate damaging vibrations via damping or cancelling solutions, differentiated into passive and active systems.

Passive systems attain their vibration damping effect by converting the vibration energy to another form. In this circumstance, an additional mass transforms the kinematic energy from the vibration into thermal energy or a relative motion between two other bodies. Active systems employ an external energy supply to create a phase-canceling vibration.

Both passive and active systems can effectively compensate for vibrations, but also have a cost impact, as these types of systems are typically only available as a customised one-off solution and cannot be transferred to other machinery. The economic use of these types of adaptive solutions is not always viable for the price-sensitive machine tool market; therefore, the primary effort in research and development for vibration-reducing systems going forward should focus on identifying and reducing the component sources of vibration.

Improving Operational Efficiency

As the demands for process accuracy for a range of applications increases, the need for technical advances to reduce vibrations also grows. An important element of a successful strategy is to improve the operational smoothness of energy supply systems in dynamic applications. New solutions, such as the polymer spring link connection for igus energy chain, can significantly contribute towards realising the objective of attaining a low-vibration machine tool. While other solutions are available, the lowest cost option to create a low-vibration system is to integrate low-vibration machine components.

Igus: R4.1L Series Of Enclosed Energy Tubes

igus: R4.1L Series Of Enclosed Energy Tubes

For applications in metalworking where energy tubes come into contact with hot chips, motion plastics specialist igus has now brought a high-temperature version of its proven R4.1L to the market. Due to the igumid HT material, even extreme temperatures up to 850 deg C can be withstood briefly, with no chips penetrating or even adhering to the plastic.

The R4.1 L series has been specifically developed for the machine tool industry in order to be able to offer torsionally stable, enclosed and light energy tubes. The modular design makes adapting to the particular application simple and installation quick. With openable lids, filling with cables and hoses is easy and fast.

Igus: CF27.D Chainflex Cables

igus: CF27.D Chainflex Cables

The CF27.D Chainflex cable series by igus have a minimum bend radius of 7.5 times the cable diametre, and are suitable for use in small installation spaces and  dynamic applications, for example in gantries.

These servo cables combine a braided structure with and gusset-filling extruded TPE inner jackets, which provides stability for the braiding and to guide the braided shield during constant movement. The series also features an abrasion-resistant halogen-free, flame-retardant PUR outer jacket and is available in 28 different types.

Igus: R2.1 Chip-Repellent Energy Tubes

igus: R2.1 Chip-Repellent Energy Tubes

The sealed R2.1 series energy-tubes from igus are for use in moving applications to keep metal chips out. The tubes consist of two parts: a link and a crossbar that functions as a form-fit lid.

A new size with an inner height of 48 mm is available as a version with lids that can be opened along the inner radius. The sizes with an inner height of 26 mm or 40 mm are also available as versions that can be opened along the outer radius.

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