Aggressive environmental conditions usually arise when metals are abrasively machined. Metallic swarf and lubricating oil collection affect elements such as cable guidance and linear guide systems. To operate machines with as few interruptions and as little downtime as possible, closed energy chains or energy tubes are often used to protect the cables inside them.
Large machining centre gantries are the speciality of machine tool builder Kao Ming in Taiwan. The long travel lengths of up to 13 metres provide challenging requirements for the supply of energy and media. By choosing the guidelok, Kao Ming decided in favour of a system that is reliable, robust and operates without support.
In refining machine tools, design engineers are always looking for ways to combine more powerful systems with space-saving solutions. This not only allows reduction of the overall system dimensions, but also provides considerable savings potential for the energy costs arising in ongoing operation. For instance, energy chains in such contexts must allow tight bend radii at high travel speeds and accelerations.
The "system technology" business area of the renowned spindle manufacturer FRANZ KESSLER, develops and produces swivelling spindle heads and rotary pivoting tables, which enable a very precise processing of metal and increasingly also composite workpieces. Kessler uses chainflex solutions for the energy and signal supply as they meet the very high demands regarding service life and reliability.
During machine tool development, the focus was on high availability. Downtime was to be reduced, allowing customer operation that was as economical as possible. The high-quality systems would frequently be used in three-shift operations, seven days a week, and had to handle these demands with no problems. The customer focus for the following application examples was on energy chains, linear guides, and plain bearings that remained reliable under the high, constant movement loads.
There is scarcely any other industry in which reliability is so important as in the automotive industry. Because production downtime is so expensive, fail-safe components are important for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. An Austrian engine manufacturer therefore relies on "smart plastics" from igus. Sensors measure wear during operation and notify the user early enough to plan a repair or an exchange.
Modern machine tools require several months from assembly to commissioning. To get to normal operation faster, the highly complex systems will ideally be ready to go within a few weeks. Well-thought-out modular products, competent consultation and supplier base reduction contributed to this goal for the following applications.
In its robotic machining centres, Taiwanese tool manufacturer Hartford uses fully harnessed energy chain systems. This cuts out many process steps for the manufacturer, reducing assembly time from several weeks to just half a day. At the same time, customers can always depend on receiving a safe and reliable solution from a single source when they order readychains.