Cable carriers used in the workspace of lathes, milling and sawing machines must be chip tight, while simultaneously guiding moving cables with low abrasion. For this purpose, igus, East Providence, R.I., has developed its first foldable plastic energy tube, the R68 in its Energy Chain System line of enclosed cable carriers. This latest energy tube offers comprehensive protection against chips of any size.
For more than 10 years, igus has continually tested energy tubes under real environmental conditions in its laboratory in Cologne, Germany. It has developed a standardized test to move energy tubes such as the R68 more than 100,000 double strokes. At the same time, a defined load of chips of varying sizes are periodically poured over the tube, again and again. At the end of the cycles, testers analyze how many grams of chips were allowed into the interior of the tube. The R68 energy tube was proven to allow only 0.23 grams of chips in more than 100,000 double stokes with a feed of 1,000 grams of metal chips, equal to only 0.023% chip allowance.
Comparative testes with other manufacturers’ cable carriers show a much higher volume of chips allowed into the tube. The reason behind the better result from the R68 energy tube is its rounded profile. On its smooth and convex outer contour, the chips simply slide off the surface of the tube. Its smooth contours and especially tight production tolerances prevented chips from getting between the stoppers during the test, which is crucial in preventing a change in the bend radius of the tube, which could disrupt or even inhibit the system from moving properly.