Ongoing product simplifications are an important factor for igus at the moment, a fact exemplified by the company’s commitment to offering new and upgraded internet tools, such as its online catalogues, product configurators and service life calculations. It now offers these for thirty-one countries in seventeen different languages on its website.
The T3 Band Chain for applications involving very high speeds and accelerations was one product to catch the attention of visitors. The cable carrier runs extremely smoothly with minimum vibrations and virtually no noise (33 dB(A) with 26.5 dB(A) of background noise). The side bands are injection-moulded as one piece, reducing production costs and thereby increasing affordability for the customer. This means the chain is cheaper to produce and therefore the T3 Band Chain is more affordable for the customer. Available ex-stock, the Energy Chain was developed primarily for applications in the electronics industry, but also for measuring machines, high-speed handling systems, graphic machines or linear motor shafts.
An alternative product for these applications is the “E6” Energy Chain; now available with an inner height of 35 mm. Both chains are suitable for cleanrooms, because they suffer virtually no wear. The same applies to the LeviChain released at Hanover 2006. The energy chain floats within a magnetic force field and was deemed cleanroom-compatible by the Fraunhofer IPA Institute just prior to the 2007 exhibition.
Another new release was a universal solution in the form of E4.1: an Energy Chain combining all the key advantages developed in the past for series E4, E4/4, and E4.100 in a single product. These benefits include a base grip for lateral stability over long distances; rubber nubs which act as silent brakes and external and internal straps for fast assembly. The chains are also dirt-repellent and have a smooth, wear-resistant surface.
Ideal for use in conjunction with new E4.1, the new “Quicklok” crossbar mechanism is a rapid locking device, which allows the opening links of a chain to be effortlessly opened and closed with a screwdriver. This design is ideal for very full chains which need to be repaired, or when fast retrofitting work needs to be carried out.
Another new product presented was the Guidelok system for vertical applications, where hanging chains are kept in place even when there are massive transverse accelerations. Thanks to this new design, applications in aisle stackers, lifts, hoists or material handling equipment, for example, no longer require expensive casings. The Energy Chain is held in place inside a trough by two tilting levers automatically activated by the radius. This means that the Energy Chain can not swing out or deviate to the side, even on masts up to 40 metres high. The Guidelok system captures and contains the Energy Chain within the trough.
The new P4 profile roller chain was awarded an iF product design award and was displayed with the other winners in a special area at the show. The chain features “Autoglide” crossbars, making it both faster and quiet. The upper run rollers run through the lower run rollers, not over them, as in previous designs.
Both P4 and new, heavy duty roller Energy Chain “5050RHDAX” are ideal for outdoor cranes. The latter has stop dogs only on the outside of the side links, so they do not clog up with dirt. Potential applications also include power plants, coal conveyors, mining and woodworking machines.
Condition monitoring for preventive maintenance against mechanical damage has become an increasingly important part of large-scale Energy Chain Systems. igus launched its PPDS condition monitoring system for cranes at last year’s Hanover show, but this year boasted PPDS Easy, a slimmed-down solution, which includes an automatic emergency shutdown in case of overload.
igus claims trends in cable management over the past few years have come to incorporate robotics, too; from heavy production robots to small palletising robots.
The company has offered multi-dimensional Energy Chains to protect highly stressed cables on robots for about three years now. At the Hanover show, the company presented two new sizes of its Triflex R product range: TRC/TRE.85 and TRC/TRE.30. The former is ideal for welding applications and the latter for narrow bending radii on 6-axis mini-robots. For multi-axis applications, igus now also has its single-core, torsion resistant Chainflex CF Robot cable.
Another new cable product, this time for the crane engineering and material handling industry, is the TPE fibre optical cable CFLG.6G.TC. Tested in the igus in-house technical centre down to temperatures of -40°C, this cable can supply cranes with data even in Arctic regions.
As a leading supplier of components and systems to dynamically supply energy and data, igus is also researching new opportunities in the field of contactless technology.
With invis power, the company has now unveiled a complete product family for inductive energy transmission over distances up to 400 metres. Here, just as with its cable-bound systems, igus relies on a modular design principle. Instead of a long and tedious installation project, the customer receives a simple selection of components to implement one or several built-on sockets. Contactless - and therefore involving no friction or wear - invis power offers maintenance-free outputs with a net efficiency of 92 to 94 percent that range from 5 to 40 kVA, depending on the requirements of the customer.
For wireless data transmission, igus has invis data. 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 into an electric signal and transported further via copper cable. This is the best way to transport large data quantities quickly, safely and inexpensively without any disturbance by electromagnetic fields.