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50m unsupported travel with new energy chain
Energy chain specialist Igus has developed a horizontal guiding system called Guidelok. The new system allows totally new energy chain solutions and is ideal for use in the machining industry; particularly where unsupported travels of up to 50m are required and metal chip debris makes a gliding system difficult.
Guided in a lightweight aluminium trough, the energy chain radius passes through the igus Guidelok system - a spring-loaded roller support bracket, which moves away from the moving radius allowing a smooth movement. The roller bracket then springs back out behind the radius to support the upper energy chain run. Due to this design no debris can settle between the sliding surfaces of the upper run and lower run of the energy chain and the open guide trough prevents a build up of swarf or chips.
The Guidelok gliding energy chain solution has recently been prototyped by a leading machine tool manufacturer, replacing a conventional heavy steel chain. "Previously an igus E-Chain solution would not have been viable," explained Justin Leonard of igus UK, "as metal chips, roughly the size of a pound coin, could have settled in the inner radius between the upper run and lower run causing severe problems. The new Guidelok system overcomes such issues."
Along with the main benefit of protecting the system against chips and debris, this Guidelok design offers a number of other advantages. The enormous improvement of the unsupported energy chain length allows OEMs to choose a smaller chain, saving overall costs. Secondly, by using a smaller and unsupported energy chain, the required drive force is reduced. Thirdly, the upper and lower run of the new Guidelok are separated from each other - minimising friction and wear and increasing the overall life span of the system.
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