Tech Talks

Caring for Cables

Tech Talks by igus helping solve design engineering problems with motion plastics

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Learn more at Cable carriers guide and protect cables and hoses on moving machinery. They also prevent tangling or damage from debris or contact with the machine itself. Proper use of a cable carrier extends the service life of both the cable and the machine itself. Any application involving moving machinery and repetitive motion will benefit from a cable carrier system, including machine tools, woodworking machinery, robotic arms, cranes, and more. igus ® energy chain systems ® are maintenance-free, corrosion-resistant, and highly reliable plastic cable carriers designed to replace steel carriers in almost any application. A variety of energy chains ® are available for all application requirements, including micro-chains for the smallest applications, E-Z chains for quick installation, E6 chains for low vibration and noise, fully-enclosed e-tubes for applications with flying debris, and multi-axis triflex ® carriers for robotic applications. Types of installation Cable carriers are essentially the lifeline of any machine, and should be considered early-on in the design process. The carrier can be installed in a number of ways depending on the movement of the machine, but the most common method for installation is in a horizontal, unsupported configuration for a short travel distance. In this style of installation, the upper run of the carrier is operated without touching the lower run throughout the entire length of the travel. The maximum unsupported length is different for every application, but this type of installation is generally expected to have the longest service life. If the length of travel is too long for an unsupported installation, it can be considered a gliding application. In this configuration, a guide trough can be added to keep the carrier in place as it glides over itself over a longer travel. A number of other installation configurations are possible for energy chains ® , including rotary, zig-zag, and side- mounted installations. Steps for specifying a cable carrier 1. Gather necessary technical data. This includes the length of travel, the cables and hoses to be installed along with their diameters and weights, required speed and acceleration of the carrier, and environmental factors like heat and chemical exposure or flying debris. 2. Measure the largest cable or hose: The largest cable or hose in your system will determine the minimum size of a cable carrier. Add 10% to the size of the largest cable, or 20% to the largest hose, to determine the minimum interior height of a cable carrier to ensure proper clearance. 3. Select your style: Next, select the style of the cable carrier. igus ® recommends that you always choose the snap- open style if appropriate, as these types of carriers will allow the easiest access to cable and hoses at any point within Caring for cables

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