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Faster without wasted movement
Igus is claiming a world first with its C-Chain, a continuously rotating energy chain. It eliminates the need to over design systems, saving both space and energy, allowing smaller, more efficient machines to be built.
Opening up completely new directions for machine construction, Igus UK has developed what it says is the world's first continually rotating energy. Rotating all the way around, the Igus
C-Chain can supply grippers, sensor systems and other units with energy, data and media without superfluous start and return runs. Each position can now be directly approached in a continual movement, where loading and unloading, adhesion, drilling, etc can then take place.
"Whether it's small units on robots, pick-and-place applications, fast press feeders, large shelf-operating units or classic conveyer belts, conventional handling and transport applications cannot currently manage without a wasted run," says Justin Leonard of Igus UK. "Igus C-Chains are not only lightweight and reliable, with speeds of up to 8 m/s they can realise extremely fast machine cycle times."
Depending on the customer specifications, travel of 30 metres and more is possible. Numerous different carriages can be connected to the continuously rotating chain. These can supply rotating grippers, suction cups or electro magnets, for example, which can pick up work pieces, hold them, adjust them and set them down again. Also, processing tools required for turning, clamping, adhesion or drilling can be supplied. Regulation and control technology can also be on the carriage, compactly supplied with data and power from a stable guidance system - from barcodes or colour detection readers through to RFID reading units.
In operation, the chain moves easily and with low wear in the guide housing to the first carriage station. There, it feeds an all-round circular line, to which all the carriages are fixed. Each carriage can be addressed individually using modern electronics and bus technology. It receives the respective signals to enable it to work as required, for example through a pneumatic valve, electric motor or sensors. Each carriage can be triggered individually and can perform its tasks immediately at a pre-defined position.
Alongside the innovative central construction, transport, pick-and-place and other handling systems can now also be delivered in a slim package. Often, very large masses need to be moved at high accelerations in order to meet the required cycle times. "Accordingly, engineers tend to over design the systems to enable them to absorb the dynamic forces that result from backward and forward motion. With the Igus C-Chain system, on the other hand, space and energy can be saved thus supporting the trend towards smaller, more efficient machines," adds Leonard.
"The Igus C-Chain system provides sufficient filling space for a servo/motor cable, a control, bus or fibre optic cable, and protects and routes fluid hoses too," says Leonard. "All the necessary cables and hoses for load, data and media are housed in the compactly designed guide system." The Igus C-Chain system can be used in different installation positions, and is delivered as a complete customised module by Igus for easy integration into the machine, conveyer belt or production system.
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