Cable guide caters for high-speed, multi-turn twisting

Paul Boughton

Igus has developed an innovative, compact energy chain system that is able to twist eight times round its own axis. Staying close to the axis, the igus Twisterband TB30 is a cost-effective system that can guide power, data and other media safely through 3000 degrees at high rotational speeds with minimal wear.
Typical applications for circular chain systems are mainly in the field of robots (supplying axes 1 and 6), as well as in special-purpose machines such as radar and telescope systems, through medical apparatus, to rides at amusement parks. Rotating movements in confined spaces also occur with handling, lifting and assembly equipment, as well as in test and trial jigs. A further possible area of application is in wind power systems, where the turbine blades have to be controlled through the main support, which must also be free to turn.
Previously, where demanding rotary movements were required at very high loads, energy chains with reverse bending radii (RBR) were commonly used. Justin Leonard of Igus UK explains: "With RBR systems, circular movements of up to 540 degrees are possible. Unfortunately, the installation space required is usually quite large in terms of depth and width. A medium-sized alternative, which we developed a few years ago, is the Twisterchain energy chain system. Also designed for one-and-a-half complete rotations coupled with high dynamics, this system's diameter is not as wide but much taller and comes nearer to the axis of rotation."
For applications where installation space is extremely limited, a more compact system was required. Following months of development work, Igus has launched the new Twisterband TB30 that achieves rapid circular movements of up to 3000 degrees. It depends only on the chain length or design height in the axis of rotation and, on account of the much smaller centrifugal forces due to the smaller masses involved, rotary speeds of up to 720 deg/s are possible. Thanks to the small installation size and compact design, the energy chain system can be used safely in all installation positions (horizontal or vertical).
As with all energy chains from Igus, this new plastic energy chain is very light and easy to use. The single-component injection-moulded belt has chambers attached that are filled in a similar way to the Igus patented Easy principle. Without the chain links needing to be opened and closed, users can simply press the lines into the chain from the outside edge. To complement the Igus Twisterband TB30 system, a comprehensive range of 950 Chainflex cables is available, either as separately or pre-fitted.
For more information, visit