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Automation Technologies 3/2016

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Automation Technologies 3/2016

Cables from Cologne for

Cables from Cologne for Bavarian robotic bolting systems Michael Steidl, Head of Marketing at the company Weber Schraubautomaten GmbH points out: “The demands on the quality and process reliability in assembly technology are constantly increasing. “In addition, the production processes must be adapted to new requirements in order to increase the efficiency and flexibility constantly.” This is particularly true for the automotive industry, which increasingly relies on lighter materials. Their properties have an impact on the joining technology. In lightweight car body making, robotic bolting systems (RBS) for flow punch forming screws having been performing remarkably well for many years. The automation is controlled by proven and functionally reliable systems from igus. With a multi-dimensionally moving energy supply system, all the necessary cables and hoses are routed safely. The rugged energy chain and the torsion-resistant robotic cables for 3D applications guarantee a long service life. Both companies have already been collaborating closely for many years. A number of further developments in the field of energy supply and cable technology can be traced to the complex requirements of the provider’s customised screw-driving robots. About Igus The company is an international manufacturer of energy chain systems and polymer plain bearings. The familyrun company based in Cologne is represented in 36 countries and employs over 2,700 people worldwide. In 2014, igus generated a turnover of 469 million euros with motion plastics, plastic components for moving applications. igus operates the largest test laboratories and factories in its sector to offer customers quick turnaround times on innovative products and solutions tailored to their needs. From special cables to standard catalogue cable COMPONENTS AND SOFTWARE The chainflex robot cables are tested with many millions of cycles in torsion applications, thus ensuring a long service life. They are used in bolting systems other joining techniques including welding applications. Originally developed as special cables, they are available today as catalogue items. In the context of cables, the manufacturing industry, and automotive in particular, places a great emphasis on rugged and less interference-prone systems that guarantee a long service life. The energy chain should on the one hand operate safely and the cables on the other hand should allow a smooth and quick replacement when needed. About 10 years ago, a reduction in the number of cables emerged as another requirement. Initially, the process devices used 3 cables and 5 hoses; they now work with a 2 cable system and only 1 compressed air hose. The electrical requirements accordingly have a complex configuration. A cable set, where one has a large number of separately shielded pairs on the signal side and the other has servo cable cores and resolver signals combined in a shared hybrid cable. They are the chainflex motor or servo cable ‘CFROBOT7’ and chainflex hybrid cable ‘CFROBOT9’, both used since 2008 as standard cable sets in bolting systems and perform all undefined rotary motions in the tightest bending radii. Tested in the largest test lab for cables at igus in Cologne, Germany, with at least 3 million cycles on a 1 metre length for a torsion stress of ± 180 °, they provide the necessary reliability. They are now available as catalogue cables from stock without long delivery times. Originally developed for a German premium manufacturer, the robotic bolting systems with the reduced cable and hose package display their benefits for everyday use to the car manufacturers. In the production of a sports car, 12 systems have been in operation, 2 shifts a day, 6 days a week for over nearly 8 years. Of which, 8 cable and hose packages worked for the entire duration of the project 26 AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 1/2016

without error, without resulting in a single cable break. “A replacement every two to three years was common up to that time,” explains service manager Florian Hinterauer. One cable set for all joining techniques However the development in the manufacturing industry has advanced further. In body work construction, bolting systems for flow punch forming screws are usually mounted on the robot. To utilise the robot, the tools are changed with every clock cycle. Here docking systems are used. The electrical connections between process equipment and switch cabinet are pluggable on the robot hand. The process equipment is completely disconnected from the switch cabinet. With the increasing number of process equipment with different joining methods an increasing number of cables is also routed on the robot via the energy chain. This leads to a large number of connectors and an extended projecting edge on the docking system, thereby limiting the number of joining points achievable in the body work. The standardised chainflex robot cables provide the maximum universality as demanded by the automotive companies. The spectrum ranges from equipment for mechanical joining methods such as clinching or hollow punch rivets up to thermal processes such as welding. In this solution, only 1 cable set needs to be routed on the robot. To connect the process equipment on the robot with the respective controls via the shared cable set, a switch box is installed in the area of the robot base. Thus, one cable set accounts for countless robotic applications in the field of joining in car body construction. igus has reacted quickly to the entailing revised requirement profiles and has now also integrated bus systems in the robot cables to enable diversity. Photographs: igus GmbH, Weber Schraubautomaten GmbH www.igus.com 02 Weber Schraubautomaten’s Robot assisted screwdriving system with automatic feed system 01 View of the production: Both companies igus and Weber collaborate closely in development and have been working together for many years About Weber Schraubautomaten The medium-sized family enterprise Weber Schraubautomaten GmbH with around 250 employees at its Wolfratshausen location produces annually more than 1,000 machines for assembly automation, mainly in the area of bolting technology. The products range from the handy screw driver for easy bolting to extremely sophisticated system solutions for customer-specific tasks. Subsidiaries in the US and in France, as well as representatives worldwide provide for the distribution and service. AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 3/2016

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