Monday, 24 June 2013

New twistable fibre optic cable makes safe data transfer possible for robots

Bus system problems often occur during twisting applications in energy chains, particularly with shielded data cables if the shields get damaged or open up. This is not the case with glass fibre optic cables: These do not have a mechanically vulnerable shield braid, and they are insensitive to EMC whilst transferring high-speed bus signals up to a length of 400 m. Following comprehensive tests, the Cologne-based company igus GmbH has now developed a new twistable fibre optic cable for all 3D movements in energy chains, to keep bus systems working reliably. The twistable TPE fibre optic cable "Chainflex CF Robot-LWL" makes high data rates possible and can be routed directly alongside high-capacity electrical power cables. The special design uses twist-optimised compensating elements, and the mechanically strong fibre optic cable is absolutely robust even with rotary angles of +180° eg on a robot arm.

One million cycles, 360° torsion angle

The new fibre optic cable has been running on a test set-up 1 m long in the igus technical centre for more than 1 million double cycles. There is no change to the excellent data transfer rates even at a torsion angle of 360°. The fibre optic cable has a 2-fibre optic core, is resistant to oil, bio-oil and UV light and remains flexible in the cold. The FOC wires with high-tensile aramid fibres and dampers are stranded firmly around a GRP core. The pressure-extruded outer sheath is made of a halogen-free TPE mixture. Highly dynamic in continuous movement, the cable can be used for indoor and outdoor applications at temperatures from -20 to +60°C.


The "Chainflex CF Robot-LWL" has a fibre diameter of 50/125 ┬Ám and is suitable for almost all high-speed buses provided that suitable converters are used. This covers a wide range of uses in Flex Cable Applications, such as in energy chains on robots and machine handling where vision technology plays an exciting role. This helps to meet the requirements on moving quality control monitoring, which are becoming ever more demanding. The new fibre optic cable is a solution suitable for industrial applications for image transmission for GigE, FireWire IEEE1394a/b and USB. 

Image: "Chainflex CF Robot-LWL" for energy chains – new 2-fibre gradient fibre optic cable for all torsion applications.

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