Plastic corrugated tubes used in robotic applications can bend and tear because they cannot absorb torsional movements very well. The energy chain experts at Igus have already developed the Triflex R, a multi-dimensional energy chain system with complete freedom of movement in the X, Y and Z axes. And now there is a new universal module available called Triflex RS, which has been designed especially for robotic applications in cramped conditions. The system guides the energy chain close to the robot arm, and avoids any looping.
The Triflex R energy chain product family for robot users and manufacturers comprises more than one hundred components. Due to this modular approach Igus guarantees that any application can be catered for, from large-scale welding robots to small handling robots. Triflex R works using the ball-and-socket principle. Once locked in place, each ball and socket joint forms an extremely mobile connection that combines smooth movements in all three axes and an optimum frictional connection, thereby guaranteeing a high tensile strength. Longitudinal axis torsion of up to +/-380 degrees per metre is possible and, thanks to the integrated stop system, the energy chain provides a minimum bending radius that prevents cables being overstressed during both radial and torsional movements. Finally, the general flexibility of the whole system makes robot teaching and programming simple.
The newly developed universal module Triflex RS has been designed mainly for applications that have very little space available. Triflex RS can be mounted directly to all standard fastening holes in most robots. Project planning is not usually necessary, as the free-moving length of energy chain is added to the front area of the robot and fastened to the sixth axis by means of a mounting bracket. Due to the compact design height, the system can even be used if there is a valve cluster or distribution box above the third axis, for example.
Lubricant-free, Triflex-R energy chain is integrally spring-loaded. The use of fibre rods inserted in the chain means that pre-tension is generated automatically. The spring mechanism works in a similar way to a fishing rod and maintains tension in the energy chain. This means that the chain is always kept close to the robot arm, even during complex movements, and chain loops around the robot head are avoided.
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