Igus is exhibiting several new developments in power and data supply for robotic equipment at Automatica 2008 in Munich (Hall B3, stand 508). The company has developed a new universal module called Triflex RS, specifically for robotic applications in very cramped conditions. This multi-axis robotic energy chain is always guided parallel and close to the robot arm, thereby preventing a loop forming or cables becoming strained at the robot head. The low-profile module can be mounted directly to the existing fastening points on the robot, and the moving end of the energy chain is attached to the robot's sixth axis with a mounting bracket. This system allows general movements, so no specific programming is required. Thanks to its compact design, the system can even be used if there is a valve cluster or distributor box on the third axis.
Alongside the new developments in spring rod modules, there are also new special protective jackets now available. They protect the energy chain from liquid metal splashes or other materials, which helps to ensure the energy chain has a long service life. These are important in hot conditions such as in foundries, or for paint or sealing applications. The protective jackets are pulled over the energy chain and held by a Velcro fasteners or elastic.
Another new product on show is the E4.1 energy chain, which is flexible and robust for use on a robot's seventh axis. Assembly times can be reduced by up to 80 per cent thanks to improved opening and separating bridges. A quick-locking feature ensures little force is needed for opening and closing, even for very fully loaded chains. Special design features, including the tongue-and-groove link joint, improves the self-supporting length by more than 20 per cent. The tongue-and-groove joint ensures very high rigidity even with strong lateral forces.