Safe printing with igus energy chain system

Design company ensures reliable ‘lights-out’ robot operation

Whether creating unique store concepts, futuristic concrete stairs and modern building facades, Dutch architectural design company Aectual produces very special architectural projects, with the help of its robot-driven XXL 3D printer.

For reliable ‘lights-out’ robot operation, the designers opted for highly flexible chainflex cables from igus in a triflex R energy chain, with a pneumatic retraction system. In the 7th axis, an E4/light energy guide supplies the robot with energy and data.

Aectual’s design projects are described as “unique, modern and functional”. The company manufactures custom-made floor coverings, features, walls and stairs that create a special, visual experience. Using 3D printing, Aectual can realise even the most complicated concepts of designers, project developers, builders and architects.

Art works are high-flyers

These printed works of art can be found, for example, in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where 2,000 square metres of floor space with an integrated floor guidance system adorn the airport concourse. The facades and interior elements are manufactured with the printer, one of the largest of its kind in Europe and the only printer if its size that runs "lights-out" i.e., remotely without server access.

The robot can print at speeds of up to half a metre per second. Aectual's material extrusion technology is integrated directly into the robot. The raw material or granulate, which consists of bio-based or recycled material, is melted in the extruder and pushed directly into the push nozzle via a screw. The extruder uses several different sensors and driven components to control the process.

When laying the material, using analogue and digital signal cables proved to be a challenge. The many cables should be arranged as compactly and robustly as possible to maintain lights-out operation. igus was able to supply the right cable protection system with its energy chains and cables.

Safe cable routing on the robot

"With the help of chainflex robot cables, we were able to make our system cleaner, more reliable and more efficient,” explains Hedwig Heinsman, co-founder & chief commercial officer at Aectual. “Since all cables have the same connectors, they can be easily replaced when they need to be changed. The design of the easy line replacement also gives us the opportunity to equip our extruder with other digital manufacturing tools in the future."

All cables are guided safely by a triflex R energy chain, which is specially developed for three-dimensional applications on robots. It ensures there are no line twists or fails. Aectual relies on a pneumatic retraction system (RSP) to retract the cables on the robot head. "In this way, we guarantee safe guidance of the cables and hoses, even with large arm diameters and very complex movements," says Justin Leonard, e-chains director at igus UK. "The retraction forces are infinitely adjustable to the individual application by using a pneumatic cylinder."

igus motion plastics products

As well as the six axes of the robot, Aectual also relies on igus motion plastics products for supplying power to the robot’s 7th axis, where the developers use an E4/light energy chain to move the cables safely. The chain is characterised by its low weight, large interior space and a cost-effective price.

A triflex R energy chain filled with chainflex cables ensures fail-safe operation of the XXL 3D printer. (Source: Aectual)
A triflex R energy chain filled with chainflex cables ensures fail-safe operation of the XXL 3D printer. (Source: Aectual)
Aectual’s print shop produces unique products for interior design and architecture, such as B room dividers and façade panels, protective and façade systems (Source: Ossip)
Aectual’s print shop produces unique products for interior design and architecture, such as B room dividers and façade panels, protective and façade systems (Source: Ossip)

igus (UK) Ltd

51A Caswell Road

+44 (0)1604 677240

More applications
1 hour ago
Harwin and MSA Components sign German distribution deal
Harwin is bringing greater strength to its German supply chain through a new strategic partnership with MSA Components. The agreement allows MSA to offer all the latest products from Harwin’s extensive portfolio.
2 hours ago
Siemens selected by Microsoft for RAMP Programme
Siemens Digital Industries Software has been selected to participate in the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes (RAMP) Phase II initiative.
3 hours ago
Kontron receives VDC Research’s Gold Award for vendor satisfaction
Kontron has been recognised for outstanding customer satisfaction. The company has received the Gold Vendor Satisfaction Award for IoT and Embedded Hardware technology from VDC Research.
6 hours ago
Mouser wins Vishay Distributor of the Year Award
Mouser Electronics has received the 2021 High Service Distributor of the Year award from Vishay Intertechnology, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components.
23 hours ago
What changes does the new machinery regulation bring?
As the machinery regulation replaces machinery directive 2006/42/EC, Dirk Meyer, specialist engineer solution architect at Eaton, looks at what is changing.
1 day ago
Klüber Lubrication receives Schaeffler Supplier Award 2022
Schaeffler has awarded Klüber Lubrication with the Supplier Award 2022 in the field of quality. The jury emphasised in particular the global supplier's strong commitment to the compliance with quality standards.
1 day ago
Essentra Components cuts energy usage by 15% globally
An innovative energy reduction initiative based on the concept of insulated jackets is helping industrial components manufacturer Essentra Components cut its energy usage when heating machine barrels by 15% and save CO2 emissions in the process.
2 days ago
Fluke addresses requirements to improve operational efficiencies
Rising energy costs and more stringent legislation guiding sustainable practices is spurring companies to re-evaluate processes and seek new tools and technologies to reduce waste and overcome challenges in today’s industrial environments.
4 days ago
7th axis robot in a welding application
An Igus 7th axis on a collaborative robot working alongside staff at German screening machine manufacturer Rhewum is helping to increase the workspace from 1300 to 5500mm.
5 days ago
Robust inductives position automotive workplace carriers on conveyor
An automotive manufacturer is relying extensively on the reliability of Contrinex’s robust and high-performance inductive sensors in the automated assembly of engines, where cylinder heads are transferred for mounting on the engine.

Login / Sign up