What Goes on Inside Our Flexible Cables Test Lab?

We have already written a number of articles about our test laboratory at our headquarters in Cologne, Germany. We have also described special customer tests and have shown why the laboratory is so important. Today, we will take a closer look at routine cable test operations. What do our colleagues do there?

Setting up our own or customer-specific experiments

Our goal is to ensure that the quality of our cables continues to keep up with rising requirements. That is why we set up additional tests beside our own; we also use customer-specific experiments to take a closer look at our cables. This enables us to give our customers more precise information about a cable’s service life and reduces the possibility of unplanned machine downtime. Tested cables not only give the customer peace of mind but verify quality and durability. Our laboratory tests also justify our service life guarantee of up to four years and give our customers meaningful numbers and facts. These objectives are the foundation of many experiments in our test laboratory. For instance, we test cables in a wide variety of motion patterns, but usually linear energy chains. All our robot chains, on the other hand, wind up on the torsion test bench in our triflex® chains (pictured right).

Experiment monitoring and regular measurements

Before each experiment, we define a precise object and determine the procedure. Our tests are subjected to fully automatic, continuous monitoring, measured values documented and results established. This ultimately gives us a clear evaluation. We’ve achieved this high degree of automation by developing AutoMess. In addition, regular resistance value measurements are made with a high-precision Wheatstone bridge, which can measure even the smallest resistance fluctuations. But it is only necessary in experiments in which a connection to AutoMess is not helpful. This is the case for tests with a low service life goal, for instance.
Special measuring instruments (pictured right) are used with bus cables to determine data transmission behavior. Resistance values by themselves are not sufficiently meaningful. At igus®, we perform hundreds of cable tests at the same time. We usually measure automatically so that we can cover the great demand. AutoMess is a measurement system that we developed for these requirements. It supplies millions of pieces of data to feed our service life calculator. This allows each customer to directly access our laboratory knowledge, so to speak.

Cable dissection

All tested cables are then dissected and analyzed down to the smallest detail. This is how we find out which assembly was subjected to how much stress. We can continuously document the condition of the tested cable after the experiment. This gives us not only the measured values on paper, but also optical comparisons, which help us detect changes to the cables. All this work is done in the background, putting our sales and product management personnel in the comfortable position of being able to give our customers precise information. Try out the chainflex® flexible cable service life calculator here or contact us if you're interested in a custom cable test for your application.