Energy chain "E6" low noise and vibration

Published:  05 December, 2008

Energy chains are used in production equipment, robots and tooling machines to guide and protect cables and hoses. Sometimes vibration can occur on the support channel and at the towing arm during the movement. The laboratory for tooling machines (WZL) and business operations RWTH Aachen carried out a study: "vibration investigations on energy chains". The results were that the "E6" energy chain from igus stood out due to minimum vibration and maximum smooth running.

 

The WZL tested five energy chains on a highly dynamic linear test stand with direct drive. The "E6" energy chain and the 380 series from the "E4.100" standard program both from igus were investigated as well as three comparable energy chains from other suppliers. The energy chains all had interior widths from 100 to 105 mm and interior heights from 42 to 52 mm. The speed of movement and acceleration of the system were varied (speeds of movement: 25 m/min, 50 m/min, 100 m/min and 200 m/min; accelerations: 10 m/s2 and 20 m/s2). The vibration near the energy chains was measured at 6,000 Hz, using 3-axis acceleration sensors on the towing arm and in the support channel.

 

TÜV Rhineland certifies quiet running

The energy affecting towing arm is up to 28 percent lower with the igus energy chain "E6" than with the other energy chains tested. The RWTH Aachen found the "E6" to have the lowest vibration level by far. In line with this proof of smooth running, an official report prepared by the TÜV Rhineland shows that the "E6" is also extremely quiet. During laboratory tests in the company's technical centre, the energy chain was tested at 37 dB (A) self-supporting at 1 m/s.

 

Spring element tested with 220 million cycles

The key design feature of the igus energy chain series "E6", is that the classical pin/bore connection have been replaced by a resilient polymer spring .The so-called polygon effect that can occur when an energy chain is unrolled, is now reduced to a minimum. This leads to extremely low noise development and almost vibration-free running of the energy chain. This is ideal in the combination with linear motors, for example, where extremely high accelerations can be achieved with the "E6" whilst keeping a smooth motion. The resilient spring element of the "E6" energy chain was successfully tested in the igus laboratory for 220 million cycles.

 

Almost abrasion-free, according to Fraunhofer Institute

Thanks to its modular design, the "E6" energy chain can be lengthened and shortened at any point. The spring element connects the individual side parts into a sturdy energy chain which works fault-free during highly dynamic applications even after millions of cycles. The polymer spring elements are almost abrasion-free, proven by tests by the IPA Fraunhofer Institute. With its abrasion-resistance and low wear level, the "E6" energy chain is suitable for clean room applications according to the specifications of the IPA Fraunhofer Institute (to be realised with special material ISO-Class 1). Further typical areas of application are laser/torch cutting systems, measuring/test machines, semi-conductor and electronics industry, medicine and pharmaceutical industry, tooling machines, automation and high-speed handling.

 

ESD version for constant conduction values

Finally, the "E6" energy chain is also available as an ESD version (ESD = electro-static discharge), particularly for safety in explosion-protection areas as well as for ESD interference resistance in sensitive production areas. The "E6-ESD" chain is made of the special igus material "GC" which has been certified by the Federal Physico-Technical Institute (PTB). Here, the spring element plays a central role. Thanks to this, the individual links in the energy chain are connected mechanically and electrically throughout all the installation positions. This way, "E6-ESD" achieves permanently constant conductive values without contact area wear in the long term.

 

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