One of the world’s largest manufacturers of machine tools is using energy tubes from igus in one of its most complex and popular product lines.
TRUMPF Inc., based in Connecticut, is the North American subsidiary of TRUMPF Germany. The company has approximately 70 subsidiaries, nearly 11,000 employees and generates annual sales of more than $3 billion. The Connecticut facility is the largest subsidiary within the TRUMPF Group and is the largest manufacturer of fabricating machinery in the United States.
More than 600 units of the TruBend 5000 series bending machines are manufactured each year. It achieves press forces of 50 to 320 tons and edge lengths of 1.25 to 4 meters.
Saving assembly time and costs
TruBend Series 5000 units have a bending tool for large or heavy parts upon which the sheets are processed and placed. The tool supports up to 30° angles and its height can be automatically adjusted. “For large and very heavy workpieces, this support is necessary to bend the sheets accurately, requiring only one operator,’’ said Volkmar Schmidt, Head of Technical Purchasing at TRUMPF Maschinen Austria. The bending device can be moved freely from left to right.
TRUMPF relies on energy chains from igus when the bending device is moved. igus, which is based in Cologne, Germany, operates its North American facilities out of Providence, R.I.
For the Series 5000, TRUMPF sources the chains as enclosed tubes from igus’ R4.1L series, using overlapping lids instead of the standard crossbars. Similar to the open E4.1L version, the lids can be opened at both ends and pivoted upwards by 115°, which saves assembly time and cost. If necessary, they can be removed completely, fitted again, and closed by pressing downward.
Tubes protect interior cables
“We originally developed the e-tubes so that we could offer a swarf-proof version of our e-chains for use in moving applications exposed to flying metal swarf or other small particles,’’ said Elvis Kaufmann, technical sales consultant for igus Austria and responsible for TRUMPF Maschinen Austria. “The cables inside are therefore reliably protected and moved.”
TRUMPF prefers the closed version to give the Series 5000 Machines a more discreet appearance. “We feel that it is visually more attractive if only one black tube can be seen instead of colored cables or colored dots on the outside of the machine,’’ Schmidt said.
Other important factors are the easy assembly, small bend radii of the energy chains and the maximum filling volume and minimum exterior height. The E4.1L has considerably less mass than the E4.1 heavy-duty chain, and the e-tubes are about 30% lighter.
“That allows users to not only save a lot of drive power, but it’s also possible to accommodate even more cables and hoses in the limited space,’’ Kaufmann said.
The patented interlocking undercut design of the chain link and the double stop-dogs with large surfaces were incorporated from the E4.1 design. The design features in the E4.1L provide strength and also allow larger unsupported lengths. The rolling noise is also minimized, resulting in quiet operation of the chain.
Secure cable layout
The mechanical load in the bending device is minimal, since the movement is manual and not very dynamic. “More important for us is the interior separation of the chain so that all cables can be laid securely in separate chambers,’’ Schmidt said. “To achieve this, igus offered advice and guidance on site. For smaller tasks we do the design of the chain online. But for more complex designs or prototypes, personal support is important to us, so that we can be sure we’re on the right track.”
TRUMPF keeps very few igus energy chains in stock. The company usually orders 1-2 days before production, and the e-chains are then supplied in the correct length directly from igus. igus’ service is critical to TRUMPF’s success. “I’ve worked for TRUMPF for 25 years, and cannot remember a time we did not use igus chains,’’ Schmidt said.
See how the TruBend Series 5000 works on video. Viewers can see the bending device at work at the 2:07 mark of the video.
With bending machines from the TruBend Series 5000, press forces of 50 to 320 tons and edge lengths of 1.25 to 4 meters are possible. energy tubes of the R4.1L series from igus are used to supply the bending device. (Source: TRUMPF Maschinen Austria GmbH + Co. KG)
A look into the inner workings of the bending device: motor, encoder and sensor cables as well as an earth cable are guided in the e-chains from igus and supply the bending tool, which is completely manufactured at the Linz location. (Source: igus GmbH)
All cables are securely laid and guided in separate chambers of the energy tubes. (Source: igus GmbH)
Benefitting from the service and products from igus for years. Volkmar Schmidt, Head of Technical Purchasing at TRUMPF Maschinen Austria (left) together with Elvis Kaufmann, Technical Sales Consultant at igus Austria (right). (Source: igus GmbH)