2 months ago



AUTOMATION ential outer

AUTOMATION ential outer stop prevents bending below the minimum bending radius. Moreover, the modular design of the igus triflex R ensures that a torsion angle of approx. +-10° per chain link is not exceeded. This has the advantage that the torsional stress on the cables is distributed along their whole length and not only at one end, which is the case with other systems. The defined minimum bending radius of the triflex R robot energy supply system guarantees process reliability especially in robot applications with supply hoses as well as in the case of flow punch bolting. This is because a kink in the supply hose interrupts the power supplied to the screws on the tool and the process is disrupted. Tests offer plannable reliability and reduce costs „Chainflex Ethernet cable CFRobot8.Plus tackles 15 million torsional movements up to 360 degrees and offers fast data transmission to 6-axis robots.“ Igus has been repeatedly setting new standards for more than 25 years with its range of “chainflex” moving cables in the areas of automation and robot technology. It is regarded in the industry as a leading company for special cables, available from stock, for continuous motion in applications involving energy chains and torsional stress. igus has a 3,800 square metre test laboratory, the world’s largest lab for dynamic cables. Here, igus twists the chainflex CFRobot cables millions of times while continuously measuring core resistance in different test set-ups. The undoubtedly greatest challenge in the tests is that it is difficult to reproduce every conceivable application that involves torsion over the service life of the product. Whereas the service life limits can be dependably predicted in the case of linear travel in energy chains due to fixed parameters and known ambient-influences, robot applications are usually much more complex. In particular, the sequence of movements per se is often not completely clear during the planning phase. For the cable supplier, it is therefore of prime importance to test, test and test again. Mechanical engineering processes can be precisely planned All the results of the tests are recorded in a database at igus. This – together with a decades-long experience in the area of plastics technology – enables igus to give a 36-month guarantee on the mechanical specifications of the chainflex cables. As a result, the mechanical engineering processes can be precisely planned. If a CFRobot cable failed when used for the purpose described in the catalogue, igus would supply a new cable immediately and free of charge. Users can order cables of one metre and longer and the goods will then be delivered within 24 hours. The great advantage of the CFRobot series for robot manufacturers and users is that they do not have to depend on expensive, special cables with long delivery times but can simply select from a standard range of products which has been specially developed for torsion applications and includes over 100 types of robot cables all available from stock. Industry 4.0 gets trouble-free motion The “smart plastics” from igus provide a glimpse into the near future of robotic cables. Under the name isense, igus carries sensors of various kinds that detect the condition of igus components such as cables or energy chains. They measure among other things the wear during the operation and alert the user early enough to plan repair or replacement. By networking with the icom communication module, the data is transmitted to an intelligent system. The module can be connected to all igus specific sensors. Once the measured values from a sensor have been transferred to the icom module, they have to be “interpreted”, i.e. understood in order to generate instructions from the same. So far, this has been possible via the connection to the igus cloud. Due to the increasing importance of IT security, however, many companies are increasingly relying on the development of their own Scada-systems, which is why igus has now advanced its data concentrator into With the new module, the customer can integrate the data in the way that best suits their equipment. With the online connection of the, a continuous matching of the service life statement with the igus cloud takes place in order to enable maximum system runtimes with minimal failure risk. The data in the cloud draws on the 10 billion test cycles of energy chains and cables performed in the company’s own 3,800 square metre test laboratory, and thanks to machine learning and AI, igus can provide precise information on the durability of the solutions used and inform the user about a necessary replacement beforehand. Photographs: igus 04 Robot cables for applications where the cables are subjected to torsional stress need force-compensating elements, loose braiding elements, different slip planes 26 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 4/2019

Barley malt producer increases productivity with smart condition monitoring Muntons, one of the UK’s largest producers of malted barley protect vital parts of their production process against unscheduled downtime by using the Smart Condition Monitoring (SCM) system from Mitsubishi Electric. Used to make beer, spirits and a range of popular foodstuffs, malted barley is produced in large batches where environmental conditions are critical to a consistent product. Each batch is very valuable, not just in monetary terms but also to the customer, so Muntons is extremely pro-active when it comes to the servicing and maintenance of its equipment. As in many food industries, the principles of the barley malting process are quite traditional, but Muntons relies heavily on automation, electro-mechanical equipment and sensors to provide fine control over air flow, heat and moisture. Fans and motors are critical to the operation: the Muntons processes many tonnes of product at a time, with key operations relying on a steady supply of blown air. The chosen SCM installation provides condition monitoring for two large 315 kW fan sets and a single 90 kW fan set. Sensors monitor the electric motor, power transmission coupling and main fan shaft bearing on each fan set. „The investment in automation and predictive maintenance pays off very quickly by avoiding unscheduled downtime.“ Plant Engineer Michael Plawecki says: “We now have a clear picture of the health of the fan sets and advance warning of any required maintenance. Remote monitoring and fast diagnosis of any issues has also made us very responsive should the limits on operating parameters that we have set be approached. As promised the system was easy to install and relatively simple to commission.” Early diagnosis avoids machine failures The impetus for the SCM installation came from issues previously experienced with difficult-to-reach bearings inside a large fan housing. A bearing failure inside a fan assembly caught the Muntons engineering team unawares, and proved significant in terms of downtime. “We only realised we had problems when it was too late, and we had to make an unscheduled stop on one of the lines to make repairs,” says Plawecki. Determined to learn from that lesson, Muntons looked for a monitoring solution with predictive maintenance technology that could be linked into the company’s existing Scada system. Concept of smart condition monitoring The SCM solution provided by Mitsubishi Electric comprises smart sensors that can be attached to bearing housings, gearboxes, pumps and motors to detect when equipment starts to operate outside its normal envelope due to wear. It provides a sophisticated early warning system for critical pieces of rotating plant equipment. Vibration frequencies and temperature readouts are monitored continuously and fed back to an L Series Mitsubishi Electric PLC via an industrial Ethernet network cable. The PLC offers simple integration to other network system hardware and software platforms, in this case integrating seamlessly with the Scada system at Muntons Malt. Sensors monitor changes in the complex vibration patterns The sensors, developed by bearing expert FAG, monitor for changes in the complex vibration patterns specific to the type of equipment it is attached to. The software compares that data with highly developed data models from thousands of previous installations, providing an effective analysis and alert system for the user. Live information and any alarms are displayed on a Mitsubishi Electric GOT Series HMI mounted to the control enclosure. The system can work autonomously of any other automation, with multiple sensors located and recognised by unique IP addresses. At Muntons, the visual information and the alarms being generated were easily connected into the existing automation software platform. Photographs: Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V. WORLD OF OF INDUSTRIES 4/2019 27


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