During the 2010 Hanover Fair, igus announced the results of the igus Vector Awards competition. Now in its second year, the igus Vector Awards programme is sponsored by the Industrial Automation sector of the Hanover Fair and runs in association with the automation association within the German central association for electrical engineering and industry (ZVEI), the tooling laboratory (WZL) of the RWTH Aachen and TUV Rhineland.
Justin Leonard of igus UK states: "Last year we had about 80 entries; this year has grown significantly to 110 entries – some of them quite spectacular – submitted from all over the world." The winners of the Bronze, Silver and Gold Vector Awards were presented with their prizes during a special reception at the igus booth during the Hanover Fair.
The winner of this year's Vector Gold Award is power utility company CEZ Group, based in the Czech Republic. Installed on the conveyor unit of a large lignite excavator being used at one of the company's power stations, the igus E4/4 series 5050RHD E-Chains system travels 615m, which is claimed to be the world's longest travel with a plastic energy chain. Importantly, as the energy chain system is equipped with igus Chainflex cables, operators of the excavator have seen significant improvements to operational safety, and system downtime caused by cable breakage have been eliminated. The utility company has since installed a further three such systems from the igus E4/4 range with pre-harnessed Chainflex cables.
The jury awarded the Silver Vector Award to the National Mineral Development Corp Ltd (NMDC) in Hyderabad, India – a state-owned company that carries out mineral exploration work. On one of the company's bucket wheel reclaimers a heavy steel chain was used between the rotary discs to enable the cab to rotate +/-180 degrees - here the weight of cables in the energy chain alone can weigh up to 54kg per metre; previously this became damaged after just two years in operation. According to NMDC, the replacement igus energy chain system, which is 18.5m long and has a reverse bending radius (RBR), has been running stably, reliably and with little maintenance required, without any downtime.
The Bronze Vector Award went to the advanced redevelopment of a travelling column milling machine. The new and improved machine was to be more precise, more flexible and economical than its predecessor. The rigid machine bed made of composite mineral and the symmetrical travelling column ensure greater precision. In order ensure the design was compact and to keep energy supply costs as low as possible, the Y and Z-axes of this machine were to use an energy chain. Here the travel is 0.7m on each axis and, with a maximum speed 1.3m/s, the universal igus E-Chain series E4.1 was selected, with an inner height of 42mm. The patent-registered interlocking side links help maintain high lateral stability, which is necessary at lateral acceleration through the X-axis of up to 8m/s2.
An overview of all the energy chain applications submitted can be found online at: www.vector-award.com. Alternatively, a Vector Award brochure can be requested free-of-charge by email to .