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Advanced Engineering 2021

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

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Easily import igus chainflex flexible cables into EPLAN

Easily import igus chainflex flexible cables into EPLAN EPLAN Electric P8 users can now easily configure and import igus chainflex cables, complete with connectors, directly into their EPLAN projects in minutes. Why chainflex cables? In dynamic applications where cables are used to connect moving parts of a machine, cables may have to move backwards and forwards or with a twisting motion, at high speeds and accelerations and high duty cycles. Usually these will be within some kind of cable carrier or energy chain to guide and protect the cables and enforce a minimum bend radius.

igus has developed its chainflex range of cables to last millions of cycles in such demanding applications. igus achieves this long life in constantly flexing applications such as in energy chains, by clever design of the cable itself - hence the name chainflex. Firstly, the copper cores are more finely stranded. The cores are then twisted with a very short pitch and braided and bundled wherever possible. This reduces the relative strain on each core. Instead of a plain extruded jacket, chainflex cables have a pressure-filled jacket. This fills all of the space around the cores and ensures that they cannot untwist.

If EMC shielding is required, this will be of the braided type rather than wound foil, and it will have a shallow braid angle to prevent gaps opening up as the cable flexes, or work hardening of the shield strands.

Using these design principles, igus has developed its chainflex range of cable to cover all electrical requirements: from control, to power, encoder to servo drive and from sensor to specialist cable types such as thermocouple cables.

More and more machine builders are looking to save time when assembling machines. Fitting cables with connectors is a good way to do this, but can be labour intensive, as well as requiring a large inventory of stock (connectors, crimps, etc). This has a cost in terms of cashflow and inventory. By supplying a cable pre-fitted with connectors to the customer specification, igus allows the customer to save these costs and build machines more simply and quickly. Using this "readycable" concept, igus offers its full range of chainflex dynamic cables, but connectorised or terminated to the customers requirements.

igus UK supplies thousands of such cables, both to common drive or encoder manufacturer standards, or to any specific standard needed by the customer. These cables are not only quick to fit and use, but offer all the advantages of the chainflex cable design.

EPLAN offers its users huge advantages in project design and planning for electrical systems, and part of this is the ability to easily design cable runs into a project. When a customer has a moving cable application in a project, they can now easily integrate igus chainflex cables into EPLAN, using the new igus extension. Once downloaded and installed, the free extension adds an igus QuickPin toolbar into EPLAN allowing the user to create and import a connectorised chainflex cable configuration. The igus QuickPin program is launched from this toolbar by starting a new configuration, and is run in a separate browser window.

EPLAN and the igus QuickPin configurator
The igus QuickPin configurator was developed by igus to allow customers to quickly and easily specify igus chainflex cables to be supplied complete with their choice of connectors (readycables). Once started from within EPLAN, the program has three simple stages, which just take a few minutes to complete:

1) Select the cable - When selecting the required igus chainflex cable, the full range of igus chainflex cables are represented, but any cable can easily be found as they are grouped by type (eg servo, measuring etc). From here the exact item can easily be selected from the list of available cables. The user is also required to define their desired cable length and any labelling they wish to have on the cable.

2) Select the connectors - The user then selects the required connector type at each end, from simple selection lists; by manufacturer or connector type: round, square, D-type, round sensor type etc. The user then picks from available options for that particular connector type, for example male or female, straight or angled connectors, insert types and materials, clockwise/anticlockwise numbering, keyway location and choice of soldered or crimped pins.

3) Specify the pinouts of the cable into the connectors - The user can easily drag and drop the cable core connections into the possible terminations on the specified connector. There is also an automatic assignment option if the exact pinout is not important.

Once this process is completed, a macro is generated for the specified configuration and placed into the macro download manager. From there it is easily inserted into the EPLAN project to be used as part of the project being created by the user. The EPLAN igus QuickPin extension is now available for free download from the igus UK website.
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