Energy Chains for Long Travels and High Speeds

igus’ plane-chain for long travels ensures a compact energy and data supply in production plants, ensuring fast, safe automation. Gantry robots in the automotive industry are among the typical applications.

by Alma Castiglioni

Production automation is growing steadily in the wake of Industry 4.0 and is demanding more reliable and space-saving energy supply solutions. igus developed the “plane-chain”, an innovative energy chain concept for long travels and high speeds. With a side-mounted e-chain in a new specially designed guide trough, the system ensures a compact and failsafe energy and data supply.

Maximum fail-safety in applications with high speeds and cycle rates
A look at modern production reveals that it is impossible to do without robots. This is most obvious in the automotive industry. Be it as a linear, gantry or industrial robot moving on the 7th axis. In confined spaces and in long travels, they always have to work reliably and quickly. Reliable energy and data supply are required here.
In the plane-chain concept, an energy chain is mounted flat on its side in a special trough. The advantage is that the designer saves space due to the low installation height. The convex bathtub shape of the trough allows the E6 series e-chain to travel securely in two recessed channels. The stainless steel trough with its low friction factor ensures a long service life of the chain. For additional sound insulation of the system, a special plastic insulating layer can be used on the outside of the trough. Thanks to the lightweight components, the e-chain solution can be easily mounted below the ceiling for linear robots.

Reliable protection thanks to complete enclosure
Upon customer request, completely enclosed plane-chains are also available. Thus, no objects can get in from the outside significantly increasing reliability. In addition to the application potential of the plane-chain for automation, the new concept in enclosed form is also suitable for the energy supply on cranes. Here, cables and e-chains within the corrosion-free troughs are protected from severe damage caused by wind and weather.