Better cable stowage for EV charge points


igus presents a design study for a compact, automatic cable management system for electric vehicle chargers

A quick pull and the power cable retracts: With the new automatic cable management system called e-tract 2.0, igus wants to make charging electric vehicles at charge points more convenient for EV owners. And thanks to a sophisticated interplay of two deflection rollers, long extension lengths are possible with limited installation space.

Many EV owners will be familiar with this situation: After charging the vehicle at the home’s charge point or wall box, they must wind up the power cable by hand. The short cut is to leave the cable on the floor, unprotected from wind and weather and a trip hazard. “That’s why we’re working on a compact retraction system that automatically rewinds the cable – just like a vacuum cleaner cord,” says Justin Leonard, head of the e-chains and chain products at igus UK. The system is currently still a design study, a trial implementation is planned and laboratory tests are already underway. “In order to offer the simplest and most space-saving solution possible, igus plans to integrate the charge point electronics into the e-tract 2.0 system. “

Long cable lengths with limited installation space

The system is very compact, but the cable can be extended up to a length of five metres thanks to a clever interplay of two deflection rollers. The castors sit at the ends of the rectangular housing, and the cables are wound up in several runs, like a pulley system. If the user pulls on the power cable, the lower pulley moves towards the upper roller on a linear rail during extension. “Thanks to this dynamic multiple deflection, we achieve long pull-out lengths with limited installation space,” explains Leonard.

The five metre cable length means users can easily attach the plug to the vehicle. To provide full freedom of movement, the housing is mounted on a swivel foot. After charging, a short pull on the cable is enough to engage the winding and the system automatically winds up the cable again.

Long service life with no maintenance

The system has several important features. The retraction system is designed for longevity. Weather- and UV-resistant plastics are used in the housing, some of which are recyclates (recycled plastics). The rollers are made of a high-performance plastic that protects the cable. The cable itself also has a defined bending radius. Another special feature: the power connection connected to the charging point / wall box does not rotate during unwinding, so a slip ring – indispensable for classic cable drums – is superfluous. “Thanks to this design principle, our retraction system is more fail-safe,” says Leonard. “EV charge point owners will also be able to use the automatic retraction system outdoors for many years without maintenance.” This principle can also apply to many other applications, from control panels to wired tools on assembly lines and work benches.

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