Each year, igus, East Providence, R.I., holds a competition for users of its energy chain systems, encouraging them to submit unique applications of its products. Now in its fourth year, the Vector Awards received 195 submissions from 28 countries from around the world, highlighting the use of igus’ cable carriers used in mechanical and plant engineering.
Submissions ranged from delicate, low-profile chain in a CNC hybrid machine to a large, heavy-duty chain with over 1,600 feet of travel in a coking plant. The winners were chosen by a panel of representatives with backgrounds in a variety of industries and businesses. Applicants from Canada to South Korea displayed the versatile potential of plastic energy chains, and winners walked away with the vector trophy, along with cash prizes ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 Euros.
Warehousing solution takes the gold
The gilded winner of the 2014 vector awards is the University of Duisbug-Essen, which developed a high-bay warehouse system to work fast, and in a space-saving manner. A transport platform with a gripper moves from one point of the shelf to another via eight wire ropes, clamped in a parallel motion. To prevent the cables from interfering with the system’s rapid movements, they are wound and un-wound on an igus e-spool, keeping space clear and safe.
Silver goes to high speed automation
FronTone of Austria won silver for its lightning-fast application. One to two high-speed cameras with acceleration of up to 2460 m/sec2 reached speeds of 69 ft/sec on a carbon carrier system. The cameras are used to capture crash tests of vehicles and vehicle components, and the carrier allows the motor, feedback, and camera cables to be carried smoothly.
Bronze award for metalworking
The bronze vector was awarded to The Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co., which was awarded for its servo-controlled punching and bending machine. Here, a number of different igus energy chains with reverse-bending radius are used to protect the cables routed to the individual units from dirt and damage caused by punching slugs.
Honorable mention for a spectacular stage show
A special mention was granted by the judges to the submission from Belgian Wicreations. The company’s spotlight installation was used during the South American tour of the Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez. These so-called “Venetian Blinds” consist of five individual boxes, each with three moving spotlights. The individual boxes are able to be adjusted separately, and are interconnected by zig-zag chains from igus to supply energy and data to the spotlights.