Tuesday, 20 January 2015

igus introduces chain and roller compatible cables for order picking equipment

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Energy and signal cables up to 14 metres in length are guided in the hoist frame by guide rollers, and move every time the mast is raised or lowered. (source: igus GmbH)

The design-engineers for the Still EK-X vertical order picker found the answer: they used a chainflex cable that was originally developed for use in energy chains. Both igus and Still determined from various tests that this cable is not only ideal for applications in energy chains, but will also perform well with guide rollers.

Orange is the colour of choice for many operators of logistics and distribution centers, warehouses, and order picking plants, because they are using forklifts, tugs, and order picking equipment made by Still. The company is headquartered in Hamburg and is part of the Kion Group, which in turn is the world's number two forklift manufacturer with turnover of approx. EUR 4.5 billion (2013).

The vertical order pickers from the EK-X series are particularly impressive systems Their job is to travel to specific pallets in the narrow aisles of a high-bay warehouse from where the driver picks individual packages. The order pickers reach gripping heights of up to twelve metres. The modular design principle allows them to be adapted to the exact application. For instance, buyers can select from various cabs, liftmasts, operator panels, and battery systems, and even custom designed options can be implemented.

Meticulous design – down to the last detail
The Reutlingen facility of Kion Warehouse Systems GmbH is responsible for developing and manufacturing this equipment. The factory builds approx. 2,000 material handling machines per year, which are designed with extreme care down to the last detail. This is certainly the impression at igus GmbH, which is working together with Still and Kion Warehouse Systems as a supplier to a project.

The reason for the collaboration was to optimise the hoist frame on the EK-X series. This created the need to reduce the overall installation space requirements for the electrical and hydraulic line guides in the liftmast. Achim Schwarz, Product Manager for narrow aisle vehicles at Still GmbH: "We originally equipped the deflection points with a polygon element that formed a semi-circle with small rollers. But the limited installation space in the new liftmast called for a solution with a roller."

Failure mode "Corkscrew"
Still has already used this deflection principle in smaller order picking equipment, where it performed well. Due to the longer cable runs on the EK-X series, the lateral guide of the roller was improved slightly – the initial testing promptly revealed that this solution would unfortunately not work in this case. Volker Haspel, responsible for electrical engineering design at Kion Systems: "The cables we normally use started twisting and then looked like a corkscrew. They failed during the test shortly thereafter."

At this point of the development the contact to the cable experts at igus was established. They were already able to assist customers with similar experiences approx. 25 years before. Andreas Muckes, Product Manager chainflex: "When we developed our first energy chains, we found that the chain worked great, but the commercially available cables frequently did not last long. Back then, this was the kickoff for our cable product range."

A look under hood of the cable: Braiding in layers or bundles?
igus then developed the chainflex product range, which differs from conventional industrial cables in one significant detail: conventional cables are braided in layers. This means that the cores of a cable are braided with a relatively long pitch in several layers around the centre, and are then equipped with a jacket extruded in the shape of a hose. When the cables move in the energy chain, the cores along the inner radius are compressed, and the cores along the outer radius are stretched. This exerts pronounced push-pull forces on cores. As these forces are distributed in the cable, the braiding structure of the cores is destroyed. This causes the cable to deform, resulting in the so-called "corkscrew". This ultimately leads to core failures.

After having understood this causal relationship, igus developed cables with a completely different design principle. The cores are first braided in bundles, which are then braided at a small pitch around a centre element. This centre element is not only used as a filler, but also functions as a strain relief element. The result is very similar in appearance to a wire rope. As additional support for this high-strength braiding structure, a jacket is extruded under pressure to additionally guide the cores in length direction. All these measures have the result of minimising the forces created in the cable, and preserve the structure.

Are chain compatible cables also roller compatible?
This design is more complex, and producing these cables requires greater effort. But the expense is worthwhile for motion-controlled cables, since cores and the entire cable are exposed uniformly to the forces generated during bending processes. Andreas Muckes: "We have never seen a corkscrew on a cable braided in bundles, therefore making this one of our most important design principles.

The question now was: are chainflex cables braided in bundles not only chain compatible but also roller compatible? The igus lab conducted appropriate preliminary tests, and Kion also tested the cables extensively. Mechanical engineering designers were also included in the testing. Matthias Fohrer, Design-Engineering + Mechanical Engineering Development: "Testing this type of cable is a highly complex task. They perform relative motions in the hoist frame, and pronounced dynamics occur during order picker travel. One must also take into account the tensile forces, which occur in this case in contrast to energy chain cables." The igus staff was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Kion design-engineers were investing this much effort into this topic. Andreas Muckes: "Very few companies take this approach."

New standard for liftmast cables
The tests in the labs of both companies showed: the cable design with braiding in bundles will hold up very well on rollers. The special jacket materials and their processing also contribute greatly toward their durability. Testing showed that the shape of the roller has no direct influence on the service life. The decision for the Still designers was therefore clearcut: the cable was defined as the standard for the EK-X liftmast. The specification calls for a chainflex cable with braiding in bundles and TPE jacket. Instead of the original blue colour, Still receives the custom colour black, which blends well into the environment, since the hoist frame and hydraulic lines are black.

Sophisticated design, thoroughly tested
The cables used in the order pickers range in length between 4.50 and 16 metres. There is no doubt that they are exposed to extreme loads. The equipment is used continuously in most applications, with the hoist frame always in motion. The chainflex cables in these environments move as much as they do in many thousands of energy chain applications. Still therefore found a solution for a task that resulted from the modified geometry of the hoist frame and the deflection rollers. The cable specialists at igus also benefited from these findings. They now know that their cables are not only chain compatible but will also perform well in roller guides.

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The chainflex cables are braided in bundles and were specifically developed for use in energy chains. The do not develop "corkscrews" in response to bending motions and are therefore chain compatible without restrictions. (source: igus GmbH)

About igus India
igus® operations in India started in the year 1998 with head quarters in Bangalore. igus offers widest range of products that includes polymer bearings, igubal® spherical bearings, DryLin® linear bearings & guide systems enable them to serve the whole industrial establishments in India from a small work shop to huge industrial establishments.

Monday, 19 January 2015

igus launches solutions for material handling applications

The tribopolymer specialist offers the sector a broad range of corrosion-free, lubricant-free and lightweight products, from guidelok slimline Fright through to the iglidur PRT.

motion plastics’ are plastic components that drive, support and supply and igus wants to demonstrate its expertise in this area to its customers. The companys products enable cost reductions while also improving technology. To help its customers in the material handling sector not only to save money, but also reduce space requirements, weights and installation times. For example, igus has designed the autoglide system, after all, you do not always need a guide rail to reliably cover long travel distances. Guide combscan be used to convert the function of the igus energy chain crossbars so that the chains drive themselves when laid.
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igus motion plastics’ – plastic components that drive, support and supply for the material handling sector. (Source: igus GmbH)

Ever faster or ever higher
In the material handling sector, customers place ever higher requirements on machine manufacturers. For example, it must be possible to cover transport routes at ever greater speeds. To make this possible, igus has the developed the guidelok slimline F. This system prevents the vertical running energy chain from swinging sideways (due to the moment of inertia) and ensures it remains securely in the guide trough at high acceleration speeds. An alternative to the classic cable drum, the e-spool, is also available. A standard e-chain is wound and unwound from a spool and an igus twisterband enables the rotary movements of the system. As no slewing ring is required, cables for various media with a maximum diameter of 16 millimetres can be compactly wound up in the chain. The windable energy chain system is now available in two further versions, with a motor flange and even more power for greater filling loads and as a heavy duty (HD) version. Here, an extra strong spring is installed for retracting the e-chain on vertical applications. All three e-spool types are available from the standard range in different extension lengths (four, seven or 14 metres), each with one or two twisterbands. The maximum extension and retraction speed is 1 m/s.

Use for lubricant-free plain bearing technology
A further suitable solution from the igus range of lubricant-free linear modules is the drylin SLW-25120, which combines a compact design with a huge load capacity. This spindle linear module can bear radial loads of up to 1,000 kilogrammes and axial loads of up to 250 kilogrammes. Despite this high load capacity, the module has a slender and compact design that can be easily and flexibly installed. It is suitable for both manual and electrical adjustments. Its slender and robust design makes the drylin SLW-25120 ideal for demanding positioning tasks. The iglidur PRT polymer slewing ring bearings are also ideal for the material handling sector. These currently come in seven sizes and three designs. The smallest slewing rings have an inner diameter of 20 millimetres, the largest of 300 millimetres. Furthermore, igus GmbHs flexible iglidur J universal gliding element enables users to create their own slewing ring bearings in custom sizes. Depending on the design, slewing ring bearings with diameters of up to one metre constructed on the basis of these gliding elements can even be subjected to loads of up to ten tonnes.
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The guidelok slimline F guide system enables drive speeds of up to 7 m/s and acceleration speeds of up to 10 m/s2. (Source: igus GmbH)

About igus India
igus® operations in India started in the year 1998 with head quarters in Bangalore. igus offers widest range of products that includes polymer bearings, igubal® spherical bearings, DryLin® linear bearings & guide systems enable them to serve the whole industrial establishments in India from a small work shop to huge industrial establishments.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

2015 manus: On the lookout for challenging plain bearing applications

A for automatic telescope, B for boring device, C for cross trainer ... right through the whole alphabet, over 400 submissions competed for the 2013 manus award. Motion prevails in all these machines and equipment - and that is precisely where the lubrication-free plain bearings are used. The application phase for the 2015 manus continues until 20 February 2015, the competition where special applications with plastic plain bearings are recognised and rewarded. The awards carry prize money worth up to Euro 5,000 and will be presented at the 2015 Hanover Show.

They perform their service millions of times in the truest sense of the word "silent". But since they are so inconspicuous, they attract little attention to themselves. To counteract this, the manus award was introduced for the first time in 2003, and in the last competition, 437 participants from 33 countries competed. Now, after twelve years, it will be the seventh time that applications using plastic plain bearings will be examined, applications are characterised by technical and economic efficiency and the creativity of the developer. "With this competition we want to support innovation and award bold applications, regardless of the industry," says Gerhard Baus, authorised officer for plain bearings at igus GmbH. "Among the winners of the 2013 manus award were the developers of a pneumatic rotary piston engine or a friction clutch, as well as the designers of a cross-country skiing exercise machine." An array of inventions from a sausage toaster to a foldable car were presented at the competition.

Participants can apply online with a short text, images and videos of their application. This joint initiative of igus GmbH, Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe (Institute for Composite Materials), the Industrieanzeiger (industry indicator) and the Fachhochschule Köln (University of Applied Sciences Cologne) invites all developers and designers from around the world to participate. After the application phase an independent jury will select the winners. Whether for applications for the industry or individual pieces, the only requirement is that at least one built prototype of the proposed application must exist.

Award ceremony at the Hanover Show
The prize-giving ceremony of the manus award will be held at the Hanover Show on the booth of igus GmbH. The winners of the contest will be rewarded with a prize of up to Euro 5,000. Visit www.manus-award.com and get all information, applications competing in the past years and a link to our online registration.
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The manus award goes into the seventh round - the application phase runs until 20 February 2015. (Source: igus GmbH)

About igus India
igus® operations in India started in the year 1998 with head quarters in Bangalore. igus offers widest range of products that includes polymer bearings, igubal® spherical bearings, DryLin® linear bearings & guide systems enable them to serve the whole industrial establishments in India from a small work shop to huge industrial establishments.

igus presents innovative e-chains for automotive sector

With the increasing electrification of cars, so too is the demand for moving energy supply systems to reliably guide and protect. igus, the plastics expert, deals with all the challenges that energy supply systems bring with them in vehicles. In addition to its standard range of lightweight plastic chains, igus can also give customised solutions for every customer.

Whether in cars, commercial vehicles or special vehicles, the demands on energy supply solutions are becoming increasingly complex. The number of cables is steadily increasing, as is the required number of cycles. To protect them and optimise their service life, energy supply systems are increasingly being used. The applications are many and varied; from seat adjusters or sliding doors and tailgates to adjustable headlights and the power supply to entertainment systems. All these applications have very limited space for the energy supply system yet must offer absolute reliability. Replacement of chains and/or cables would result in complex issues, for example where panels must be removed.

"With its plastic plain bearings, igus has had a strong presence in the automotive industry for many years and has been certified according to the standard ISO/TS 16949:2009. This demonstrates our expertise in this area," says Johannis Zournatzis, Industry Manager for automotive e-chainsystems at igus GmbH. "The large number of cables in a vehicle must also operate continuously in moving applications. In order to be able to guarantee their safe use, we provide carefully matched chains and cables as well as expert advice." Suitable lightweight and compact energy chain systems are available, such as the easy-to-open E2 micro or one-piece E1, a kind of strip that can be easily shortened and lengthened. "Since we want to find the ideal solution for each customer, we offer customised solutions using close collaboration, in the event that the standard repertoire doesn't suffice," says Zournatzis. This means the need-based development of chain types, sizes, bending radii and accessories, even custom-made new moulds for injection moulding. In the test lab in Cologne, spread over a floor area of 1750 square metres, special solutions for long-term use in motion are also developed and tested.

Safe use and simple installation
The igus energy chains protect cables during operation and are also easy to install, due to the design of connectors and strain relief elements. Cables can be inserted easily due to the easy-to-open chain designs. Energy chains protect cables by preventing accidental kinking or damage. This makes igus energy supply systems in the car not only safe, but also simple.

Know more about this product here: http://www.igus.in/energychains?C=IN&L=en

The number of cables in cars, which are frequently moved, is steadily increasing. To protect them permanently and thus and optimise their service life, energy supply systems are increasingly used in these applications. (Source: igus GmbH)

About igus India
igus® operations in India started in the year 1998 with head quarters in Bangalore. igus offers widest range of products that includes polymer bearings, igubal® spherical bearings, DryLin® linear bearings & guide systems enable them to serve the whole industrial establishments in India from a small work shop to huge industrial establishments.