The chainflex® laboratory concentrates on special experiments and tests that are not covered by the relevant normal standards and laboratories but are absolutely necessary for determining the service life and functional capability of moving cables. [Uncover linktext="Read on..."]
There have been, and still are, a virtually infinite number of cable suppliers, who also sell cables claiming to be "chain-suitable". For customers, however, the question increasingly arises as to how suitable for use these cables really are and when they can be expected to suffer damage of some sort. The often used experiments and tests indicated in standards are only rarely relevant to the very special requirements of customers as these special applications simply cannot be described with standards.
The igus® laboratory has dedicated itself to looking into exactly these customer requirements. Going further than the normal standards or regulations of formulating bodies such as VDE, UL and others, igus® has created tests and manufacturing standards that are specifically for chainflex® cables and that do full justice to the actual requirements placed on cables in continuously moving applications.
In this context, igus® always gives consideration to different tests and evaluations:
1. Tests of materials In line with customer requirements, new materials for the conductors, insulation and outer jackets are developed. Whereby considerable differences that are not apparent at first glance can be discovered, especially in the case of conductors and jacket materials. To this end, up to eight different chainflex® standards are used in the tests.
2. Tests of the technical design These tests systematically evaluate new designs, manufacturing methods and the associated influences on service life. When these tests were performed in the past, it was found that supposedly identical manufacturing methods can lead to substantial differences when it comes to moving applications.
3. Quality tests during production Cables randomly chosen in accordance with certain selection algorithms are subjected to special igus® tests after the end of production and after the standards-based tests that are usual in cable manufacturing. The laboratory tests up to 10% of all completed cables in a continuous bending test and carries out the necessary structural examinations.
4. Long-time tests of service life These test projects, which have to be carried out over a period of up to 4 years, investigate the actual maximum service life of the selected cables.
In these tests, special care is taken to ensure continuous monitoring of the parameters so that any failure can be detected exactly when it occurs.
5. Customer-specific applications Customer-specific investigations in accordance with igus® standards are a special service provided.
These tests are based on customer-specific sequences of movement in the customer's application and, especially in the case of critical applications, offer the significant advantage that the tests define the limits of the product and possible improvements are made possible before the start of large-scale series production.
The chainflex® laboratory Different prerequisites have to be met, of course, so that the above tests can be carried out systematically and and in a reproducible manner.
In addition to the igus® test standards that define clear rules for the tests and ensure comparability, the necessary environment must be created. The comprehensive laboratory covers more than 2,750 m2 and offers these conditions:
More than 50 different test stands and machines can be used by the laboratory team. Very different travels (from 0.3 m to 120 m) can be chosen from and horizontal as well as hanging applications can be replicated.
The torsion test stands with 12 triflex® axes offer a wide variety of testing options and expand the torsion test program, which is rounded off with four different six-axis robots.
Special testing equipment for abrasion and media tests, which are performed under test conditions that are considerably more real than the storage and aging tests carried out in accordance with UL or VDE is especially used for the development of materials. This has made a considerable contribution towards ensuring that the igus® outer-jacket materials precisely match the materials used in energy guidance systems and thus guarantee maximum reliability.
However, the frequently underestimated thermal influences on moving cables can also be investigated in a special cooling container, which has a 7 m-long axis and enables temperature curves from -40 °C to +60 °C.
The great advantage of this is that it is not necessary to rely on the VDE's usual winding mandrel tests; instead, aging can be tested in continuous movement with a large variety of temperature curves. As part of this testing, the 7 m-axis can be operated with different radii and chain types.
All the tests, of course, whereby currently more than 600 cables are being tested, are documented systematically and effectively. The reason is that these 600 test cables mean that more than approx. 5000 measuring points have to be monitored continuously.
The monitoring systems developed by igus® are used in this process. In addition to online monitoring, they ensure documentation with extremely high accuracy, allowing wear to be detected before a failure.
This early detection - without destructive testing - is especially important for being able to draw conclusions regarding any design changes that may be necessary. All the cables are then broken down into their components in accordance with previously defined sequences, after which they are tested and documented in detail.
This ensures that substantiated information on all chainflex® cables exists and enables the user to make reliable plans for his cable selection.
For over 25 years, we have been conducting tests in the largest test laboratory for cables and energy chains. This allows us to make reliable statements regarding the durability and service life of our products. Find out what you can expect