Lighter, stronger energy chains

Polymer energy chain manufacturer, igus, has introduced a new lighter weight e-chain for cable management/protection applications with large unsupported lengths and high fill weights, previously the domain of larger, more expensive energy chains.

The manufacturer’s “L” Lean variant has been specially designed for users who find the industry standard E4Q too large. From the seventh robot axis in linear robot applications to machine tools, or demanding applications with medium loads (machine tools, woodworking, car washes etc), the E4Q is oversized. 

“To offer users the advantages of the E4Q in these applications as well and at a lower price, we developed the L version: the E4Q.64L,” says igus South Africa managing director, Ian Hewat. “Depending on the width, the low-cost version of the energy chain costs between 15% and 20% less than the E4Q.”

Keen price

To reduce costs, the igus designers have modified the E4Q’s design. The aim was to strike a balance between low dead weight and maximum robustness. The side links are narrower than those of the E4Q, reducing the weight. The bionic design, which dispenses with any material that has no load-bearing function, was retained. 

Tests in the igus test laboratory prove that the E4Q.64L has an approximately 30% greater breaking moment than the 14240 series, which is also used for unsupported applications. This results in up to 20% more length with the same fill weight. 

Two bending directions

The chain can also be operated in two bending directions by replacing the outer link with a special RBR link. This gives it what is known as a reverse bend radius (RBR), which means that circular movements can be implemented (on a robot’s axis 1, for instance).

Unlocked on both sides, the crossbar can be lifted out with little effort. The other advantage is that an extensive product range of crossbar widths is directly available, so that the E4Q.64L has been offered in 29 widths between 100 and 500 millimetres since the start of market launch.

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