Fast and safe in Industry 4.0: with smart igus energy supply on long travels
July 1, 2019
Smart plastics EC.T sensor monitors the condition of five times more abrasion-resistant high-speed polymer glide bars in e-chains
High speeds on long travels are special challenges for energy chain systems on machines and plants. Therefore, igus has now developed a new glide bar made of high-performance plastics with a five times longer service life. To monitor the wear-resistant rail, users now have the smart plastics EC.T sensor. This provides regular information about the condition of the rail and sends important technical information to the maintenance engineer in good time.
In order to make the industry capable of producing more efficiently, economically and competitively, the requirements in mechanical engineering are increasing with ever faster systems with travels of 200 metres or more and with higher fill weights. This development brings with it new challenges – not only for the energy chain and cables – but also for the glide bar in the energy supply system. Rolling energy chains have been performing these tasks for a long time without problems, but are more expensive. In order for the energy chain used in a guide trough to be able to move in a wear-resistant manner over long distances despite the demanding conditions, glide bars made of a long-lasting material are needed. Therefore, with the backing of its years of expertise in the field of wear-resistant plain bearing technology, the motion plastics specialist igus has now developed a new highly abrasion-resistant high-performance plastic, especially for high speeds of over 5 m/s. The glide bar made from the new high-performance polymer has already proven its credentials in the company’s own 3,800 square metre igus test laboratory with a five times longer service life than the previously used profile. The wear-resistant rail is designed in such a way that it works gently against the energy chain. In order to permanently monitor the condition of the glide bar, igus has also developed the EC.T sensor.
The new EC.T sensor measures the condition and gives maintenance recommendations
The new EC.T sensor is cast directly into the new high-speed rail. The sensor works wirelessly and is battery powered. At regular intervals, it sends a signal about its condition to the communication module icom. This prepares the data of all igus isense sensors and offers the option of integration in any desired maintenance tool. If there is an interruption of the conductor loop in the sensor, the service life algorithms can be used to predict the number of days until the next maintenance using the maintenance tool. The new glide bars with the sensor are used, for example, on linear robots in automotive production, on gantries in machine tool construction or on the 7th axis of industrial robots.
Rolling energy chains for travels with 1000 metres and more
Travels up to 1000 metres or more are implemented by igus with its rolling energy chains. Users can rely on a long-lasting and intelligent solution offered by the latest generation of P4.1 rolling chains. This is because a sensor is available for the plain bearings used, which ensure the lubrication-free mounting of the individual chain links. This informs about the condition of the sliding element. Additional sensors which provide information about the condition of the data and power cables, the abrasion of the energy chain or even measure push and pull forces, are also available for all igus energy chains. In combination with our own guaranteed and tested chainflex Ethernet, Profinet, servo, hybrid and fibre optic cables, igus offers state-of-the-art machine components that are equipped for all requirements in Industry 4.0.