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2022 Vector Awards: Gain Recognition, Receive Cash Prize for Your Innovative Energy Supply System Application

Are you using an e-chain® for cable management in your application? What about chainflex® cables? Do people describe your use of them as “innovative” or “cool”? Did an e-chain® help bring your sustainable application concept to life? Then enter for your chance to win the 8th biannual Vector Awards

The Vector Awards is a way for us to recognize and award the ingenuity of our customers. We want to hear about your design challenges and how igus products helped you solve those problems. Were there harsh environmental conditions to consider? What about high accelerations or long travel distances? Whatever the challenge, you figured out how to overcome it with engineered plastics – and we think that’s pretty awesome. 

A panel of judges will select four winners: first, second and third place as well as a fourth sustainability award for applications making an environmental impact. Winners receive cash prizes ranging between €1,000-5,000 and are recognized during an award ceremony at the Hannover Messe trade show.

Entries are due by February 11, 2022. To submit an application, fill out this form. You can also visit this webpage to learn more about the judges, prizes, conditions of participation, and to download a pdf of entries and winners from 2020. 

2020 Vector Award Winners

Gold Vector: Gildemeister Italiana SpA

Gildemeister Italiana SpA from Italy won first place with their MULTISPRINT multi-spindle lathes. The system helps reduce setup times, lead times, process development and integration. 

Application Description

  • System: MULTISPRINT multi-spindle lathe

  • Industry: machine tools

  • Customer requirements: 

    • Safe energy supply for all six spindles

    • Travel up to 180 millimeters

  • igus® solution: 8 cable carriers, 64 cables and 73 hoses

Customer Requirements

The heart of the machine is the spindle drum with six spindles for simultaneous machining of several workpieces. The main spindles in the drum have a travel of up to 180 millimeters. The drum moves the workpieces very precisely and quickly to the tools. A trip for one of the six spindles to the next position takes only 0.65 seconds. In order to return to the starting position after processing in the six stations, the drum must be turned back by 300 degrees. The unit, which weighs over three tons, only needs a second to do this. The biggest challenge: safe energy supply for all six spindles.

igus® Solutions

Using 8 cable carriers, 64 cables and 73 hoses, we created a unique energy supply system that takes part in the rotation of the drum and enables the linear movement of the spindle drums. 

Silver Vector: AlpinaTec Technical Products GmbH 

AlpinaTec Technical Products GmbH from Austria placed second with their "GESTRA" project, a specially developed radar-based system for searching and mapping space debris.

Application Description

  • Machine type: Three-axis positioning system

  • End customer: Fraunhofer Institute

  • Customer requirement:

    • System with swivel angle >400°

    • Narrow installation space

  • igus® solution: Series E4.56 with rear bending radius and chain combs as strain relief

Customer Requirements

The "GESTRA" project consists, among other things, of a transmission and reception system for which two three-axis positioning systems with electrically clamped and backlash-free drives, corresponding cable, and supply paths were designed. The compactness of the cable carrier was one of the major challenges in this project due to the specified narrow construction volume, complexity and degrees of freedom of the axis arrangement, and diversity of the media, signals, and resulting "variety" of hoses and cables. 

igus® Solutions

Taking into account the narrow space conditions, a double-sided double carrier system was defined for the elevation axis. The whole system is able to cope with the changing gravity conditions, which was a decisive criterion. In close cooperation with igus®, a complex "floating island" was developed and implemented especially for the azimuth axis. Cable carriers from the E4.56 series and strain reliefs (article number 3250.ZB) were used for this system. 

Bronze Vector: Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH

Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH from Germany came in third with their friction stir welding machine. 

Application Description

  • Plant: Friction stir welding machine

  • Operating time: 24 hours per day, 7 days per week

  • Industry sector: Machine tools

  • Customer requirement: quick and easy installation

  • igus solution: R4 series closed energy tube

Customer Requirements

Grenzbach uses friction stir welding technology for welding seams with excellent properties. In the automated welding systems of the machine manufacturer, the welding head is of the utmost importance, as it must be able to realize rotary movements of +/- 720°. The same requirements, therefore, also apply to the cables and hoses used, which must be guided safely inside the welding head. The adjacent construction and media supply must be as flexible as the welding head. The complete cable carrier should be integrated into the supporting structure of the machine, which means that space is limited.

igus® Solutions

The direct coupling of a twisterband with a cable carrier R4. The system, pre-assembled by igus with matching connectors, labeled and pre-assembled into modules, allows for easier assembly.  The 24/7 design of the components ensures low maintenance and low-wear operation. In case of service, a simple and quick exchange is possible.

Green Vector: Drop Water Co

Drop Water Co from the US was the recipient of our first-ever green vector award for sustainability. Their new sustainable beverage vending machine fills customized beverages in biodegradable containers at the touch of a button. The water for the vending machine does not need to be transported, as the machine is connected to a water source on site. 

Application Description

  • System: Drop Water Co vending machine

  • Industry: Automat technology

  • Customer requirements: Safe energy supply

  • igus® solution: Ready-made readychain® energy chain systems

Customer Requirements

A linear robot, which is supplied with energy and data, is used to produce and dispense the beverage. Despite the use of a cable carrier, the lines in the prototype failed. It was found that the lines rotated slowly with each cycle and the lines were twisted after >1,000 cycles.

The second problem was packaging. In order not to have to buy, cut, modify and finally assemble every single component, the company needed a solution that saved time and assembly costs.

igus® Solutions

With the correct interior layout and a readychain® system in place, the machine now works perfectly. This enabled the company to save a lot of time and money for assembly.

Green Vector: Huber SE

Huber SE was also awarded with a green vector award for their sewage sludge turner, the HUBER SOLSTICE. With this system, solar drying becomes a technology that combines sustainability in ecology and economy. Dewatered sticky sludge is reduced in mass and volume by solar drying to approximately one quarter and transformed into granular material. The plant can be used to recycle drinking water from the polluted Bahr-El-Baqar sewer system for 500,000 people.

Application Description

  • Plant: Sewage sludge turner

  • Customer requirements:

    • Fail-safe power and energy supply

    • Long travels

  • igus® solution: e-chain® Series 3500

Customer Requirements

The automated plant in Bahr-El-Baquar processes a total of 475,000t of sludge at 4,000 operating hours per year. This makes the project one of the largest sludge drying projects worldwide. In order to be able to guide the cables of the plant safely over long travel distances – even under heat, moisture and dirt – appropriate cable carrier systems were sought. 

igus® Solutions

For a fail-safe power and energy supply of the automatic plant, igus® e-chain® Series 3500 with chainflex® cables are used in 128 units in a steel trough with a travel distance of 100 meters.