Guiding hoses in CNC machine tools: Which e-chain with extender crossbars should I choose?

Trima, a manufacturer, is an example of the requirements for guiding hoses.

Trima Triebeser Maschinenbau GmbH specialises in customer-specific CNC machining centres for wood, plastic, and light metal processing. Energy chains were to be used to guide the cables and a suction hose for a new machine.
24-hour operation machine operation and design-related space restrictions played a role in the decision-making process concerning the e-chain with extender crossbars. What challenges should be considered in the choice of e-chain with extender crossbars? And which system was ultimately selected?

Trima: Established model- and mould-making specialist

Trima Triebeser Maschinenbau GmbH, based in Zeulenroda-Triebes, Germany, specialises in customer-specific CNC machining centres for wood, plastic, and light metal machining. Model- and mould-making places very high demands on workpiece processing, which therefore often calls for individual machine concepts. Trima's solutions allow high-precision workpiece processing in one-off and high-volume production. They also perform well in particularly demanding work on three-dimensional bodies. After the machines have been sent from Germany all over the world, they are used in a wide variety of areas. The machines are then used to manufacture windows, stairs, doors, and furniture; in arch processing; for creating engravings; and to produce toys, special parts, and much more.
And thanks to its comprehensive knowledge and many years of tradition in mechanical engineering, Trima has been able to firmly establish itself in these fields of application. The in-house development and design department, a high level of vertical integration, and the comprehensive service to ensure the machine's operational capability also played a role.
E4Q e-chain with extender crossbars for hoses in woodworking The 3m-high Trima CNC machining centre allows high-precision machining of wood, plastic, and light metal workpieces. An e-chain with extender crossbars safely guides a 6m suction hose with a diameter of 300mm.

Suction hose on a woodworking machine A suction hose hangs on a machine tool in woodworking (icon).

Requirements of e-chains with extender crossbars and energy chains:

Machine tools for model- and mould-making, like those designed by Trima, are fundamentally available with three- or five-axis technology. In the future, the focus will be on five-axis technology, which offers even more variability in use. This also applied to this Trima project: A machine tool was to be designed for foundry tooling. It was equipped with a gimballed head that could reach every corner of the workpiece without colliding. The machine specifications placed high demands on all components. The drives had to work reliably, and the spindle could not heat up. And all cables and hoses on the X-, Y-, and Z-axes had to be moved safely and without failure.
This machine is primarily used for woodworking, so the suction plays an extremely important role. In this environment, it is not the chips that are the problem, but the wood dust, which must not ignite under any circumstances. A complete enclosure would be the safest solution, but also the most expensive. For cost reasons, the decision was therefore to use a suction hose that has to be guided safely and cleanly.

Guiding hoses and cables in machine tools: The requirements

  • Robust but flexible cable guidance
  • Fail-safe in continuous operation (24-hour operation)
  • Easy on cables, even over long travels
  • Maintenance-free even at high speeds and accelerations
Machine tool

E4.1 e-chain with extender crossbars guide suction hoses The extender crossbar version of the E4.1 energy chain. Specifically, Trima uses an E4/light.

Which e-chain with extender crossbars and energy chains were used? And what were the design advantages?

So how were the cable and hose guidance requirements met in the machine tool?
A very large chain had to be used to guide the voluminous suction hose, which is over 6m long, has a diameter of 300mm, and immediately catches the eye. While smaller hoses can be guided easily in energy chains, only an e-chain with extender crossbars would work here.

After detailed consultation, the machine expert chose the solution from an energy chain modular system made up of 70,000 parts: the E4/light, specifically the e-chain with extender crossbars version ([Link pagenr="26705" title="Our latest e-chain with extender crossbars, the "E4Q" design study, can be found here"]). It is suitable for hoses with a maximum outer diameter of 300mm. The crossbars are mounted directly on the side link, ensuring optimal hose and cable guidance. The extender crossbars are so rigid that they ensure safe guidance even under load over the entire travel without additional design elements. The cable-friendly E4/light energy chains thus allow the desired continuous operation.
E4.1L CAD data
E2/000 CAD data

3D CAD models for all e-chains with extender crossbars, free to download.

You can download all 3D CAD models of our energy chains without registering.
The following chain series have extender crossbar variants.
E4.1: E4.32 | E4.42 | H4.32
E4.1L: E4.38L | E4.48L | H4.64L
E2/000: 2400 | 2450 | 2500 | 2600 | 2650 | 2700 | 3400 | 3450 | 3500
View CAD data now

Our energy chains are easily integrated

The limited space available to the customer was also addressed during the consultation. After all, every centimetre counts during machine construction. A special design feature on the Y-axis is that, in addition to the bulky suction hose, the e-chain with extender crossbars also directly carries the cable-guiding E2/000 energy chain. This is another way to save space in machine design.

Other built-in energy chains are the E4.1 universal chain on the X-axis and another E2/000 energy chain on the Z-axis. Trima uses separators for all installed energy chains. The rounded contours allow these interior separation elements to ensure a long cable service life in rough everyday operation and always keep them in line. The guided cables cannot slip or become tangled.
e-chain with extender crossbars for hose guidance in a woodworking machine In addition to the bulky suction hose, the e-chain with extender crossbars carries the cable-guiding E2/000 energy chain. This saved additional space.