British engineering celebrated with igus vector awards

02 October 2012

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British engineering celebrated with igus vector awards igus UK has presented its coveted vector awards to two British engineering companies – UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC) and Xograph Healthcare – for the challenging and innovative use of cable carrier systems.

Justin Leonard, director at igus, says: “The awards once again attracted a very high standard of entry from UK engineers. We have chosen these two companies as they represent the very best of British engineering and have both demonstrated a novel use for our cable carriers, in unusual and challenging applications.”

UKATC is using an igus E4 heavy duty e-chain to route the many cables and hoses during the rotary movement of their KMOS instrument. KMOS is a near-infrared multi-object integral-field spectrometer for one of the European Southern Observatories Very Large Telescopes (VLT). The four telescopes when combined make one of the world’s most advanced optical instruments that allows astronomers to see details of distant galaxies up to 25 times finer than with individual telescopes.

The KMOS instrument will be an invaluable tool to investigate the physical and environmental processes which shape the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time. igus’ energy chain safely and reliably carries the heavy and delicate network of cooling gas pipes and power and signalling cables for its operation. Reliability was vital, given the location of the instrument in the harsh conditions of the Chilean desert where there is a low ambient temperature. The telescope can be moved through 270 degrees from its initial position in both directions, so the energy chain also had to be able to carry the pipes and cables safely through 540 degrees as the instrument turns.

Xograph Healthcare’s application of igus’ special low-friction “rol e-chain” impressed judges as it is being used in an innovative X-ray system in hospital emergency rooms, which allows many bays to be accessed rapidly in mass emergency cases, and to help with the fast and efficient diagnosis of patients’ conditions. The energy chain carries the cables used in the ceiling-mounted BuckyStar Resus X-ray that is moved across bays to each patient. It features low friction, so the X-ray apparatus can be moved rapidly to the bedside, without having to move the patient. The igus energy chain allows flexible use of the X-ray machine across multiple triage bays for check-ups, which until today was not possible due to hanging cables.

Justin continues: “Both applications stood out as being exceptional uses of our cable management systems and we are delighted to be presenting both UKATC and Xograph Healthcare with vector awards. The winning entries demonstrate the diverse applications that igus energy chains are ideal for and the limits that continue to be broken with cable carriers in terms of loads, speeds, travels, and more.”

Modern polymer energy chains are the umbilical cord of modern-day automated equipment – ensuring the safe supply of energy, data, signals and media – on equipment such as cranes, machine tools and robots and in many extensive fields such as healthcare, astronomy, food, pharmaceutical and automotive manufacture. For further information about igus wide range of energy chains visit

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