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Unsupported vs Gliding Cable Carrier Applications

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

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Unsupported vs. gliding cable carrier applications The cable carrier is an integral part of any machine design and should be considered early-on in the design process. It can be implemented in a variety of ways depending on the motion of the machine, but the most common is a horizontal, unsupported, short-travel installation. In this type of application, the upper run of the carrier operates without touching the lower run throughout the entire length of travel. If the length of travel is too long for an unsupported installation, it is considered a gliding, long-travel application in which the cable carrier glides on itself. A guide trough and glide bar must be used to support the carrier. In this quick guide, get insight into the differences between unsupported and gliding cable carrier applications, how to implement them into your application, and critical rules to follow during the design and installation process. Designing Unsupported Applications If the upper run of an Energy Chain ® cable carrier operates without touching the lower run over the entire travel, it is classified as an unsupported application. The maximum service life of a cable carrier in an unsupported application is dependent on the type of cable carrier selected, as well as the fill-weight of the carrier. The fill-weight creates three sub-sets of unsupported cable carrier applications: 1. Unsupported with "straight" upper run (FL G ) This type of application is always preferred, as the cable carrier is able to run quietly and smoothly, without any exposure to additional vibration due to sag in the upper run of the carrier. In an FL G application, the upper run either has camber (curve along the upper run), is straight, or has a small amount of sag, between 0.39 and 1.97 in., or 10-50 mm, depending on the size of the cable carrier. 2. Unsupported with permitted sag (FL B ) An FL B cable carrier installation has sag in the unsupported run that amounts to more than .39 – 1.97 inches, but less than the carrier's maximum sag allowance, which is dependent of the type of carrier being used. FL B applications are permissible in most cases, but can become problematic if the travel frequency or acceleration of the cable carrier is high. S H F H S 2 R FL G FL B S H S 2 H F R Learn more at

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