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rob. cable management made easy

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

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tech talk made easy Industrial six-axis robots perform intricate, repetitive movements that greatly improve productivity and throughput. The end-of-use tool on these robots require power, data and other media to be supplied through cables that run on the outside of the robot. These cables must bypass each axis of the robot using a secondary cable management system. Here, incredibly complex movement can be achieved, but only if high-performing cables and cable management systems are used. Robotic cable management Modern, flexible cables for torsional motion In respect to continuous flexing applications, the three types of movement include linear, torsional and multi- axis (free movement). The end-of-use tools on robots require all the same types of electrical requirements as a linear system, but a cable designed for linear movement should never be used for robotic applications. From the outside, a linear and torsional cable look the same. The unseen difference is the construction and special design of the torsional cable. Torsional cables should always be used on robots, as they are able to bend more than 180˚, absorb strain and extend the life cycle of the cable. Cable failure can eliminate productivity achieved through automation, which presents one of the biggest issues with robotic cable management—it is often the last step to be taken in the design process. Six-axis robots have multiple movement profiles and several points that must be considered when routing cables for the end effector. The rotational capabilities of the sixth-axis alone require a cable that can withstand torsional forces. A cable designed especially for robotic movements should be considered in the early stages of development. The cable carrier used in industrial robots must allow cables to move freely within and remain dynamic while the robot is in motion. There are many traditional cable management systems that bind cables together, which restricts movement and creates points of stress, therefore accelerating cable failure. Poor cable management combined with a cable unsuitable for torsional robotic movements can also cause early cable failure and unwanted downtime.

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