Wire and Cable Technology Blog

The Wire and Cable Technology Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about power cables; cable assemblies; cable manufacturing & testing; and cable ducts, trays and accessories. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

The igus e-spool – the next generation of the cable reel

Posted November 11, 2018 12:01 AM by erathburn
Pathfinder Tags: cable hose igus reel storage

Figure 1. The igus® e-spool (Source: igus gmbH)

The igus® e-spool is an alternative to traditional cable reels, which are used to guide cables and hoses in confined spaces. The e-spool system can guide several cables or media lines, including power, control or pneumatics, in one reel. It is easy to install, flexible, space-saving and extremely reliable.

The igus® e-spool design

The system is designed with two different igus® energy supply sytems: first, a standard igus® E2/000 e-chain® is guided on a steel spool. An integrated retraction spring within the spool provides retraction force and manages any slack. Additionally, an igus® twisterband connects the rotating spool to the base structure, where the fixed cables enter the system. The twisterband is what makes the e-spool truly unique, as it can be configured on one or both sides of the spool, depending on the application’s requirements.

The e-chain® is available for stroke lengths up to 14m (0-4m, 4-7m, 7-14m) with two inner width options (80 and 125 mm), allowing for modularity in the type and quantity of energy sources that are guided. In the starting position of the e-spool, the e-chain® is completely rolled up, which saves space and keeps pathways clear.

Figure 2. The igus® e-spool twisterband (Source: igus gmbH)

Why choose e-spool over traditional cable reels?

igus® created the e-spool as a replacement for traditional cable reels. In traditional cable reels, a cable is run from the source (panel box, PLC, etc) to the fixed point of a slip ring. A second cable is then run from the rotational point of a slip ring to the end effector (lighting truss, assembly tool, etc.). This requires two lengths of cable, with four ends to be terminated. More terminations mean more installation labor and more points of potential failure.

In an e-spool, a single continuous cable is run from the source to the end effector without any intermediate terminations, improving the quality of the electrical signal and minimizing the risk of failure. The e-spool is also designed to be much more versatile in what types of energy it can carry. Since the e-spool does not contain a specialized slip ring or rotary feed through, multiple energy supply lines of multiple different types (power, control, data, pneumatic) can be guided in a single system.

Applications and industries

Theatre and stage applications, indoor cranes, maritime and shipbuilding can all benefit from the e-spool power. The most common consumers of the e-spool are those in the theatre/stage construction industry. It is also often integrated into telescopic applications, indoor cranes, control panels and more.

To learn more about igus® e-spool, please visit:




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Reducing Cable Carrier Vibration

Posted March 11, 2018 12:00 AM by erathburn
Pathfinder Tags: cables igus

Customers are demanding increased accuracy and precision from their production equipment in a wide range of applications. At the same time, increasingly complex automation has created an additional challenge, as the vibration of dynamic machine components can significantly increase vibration of the complete system.

In a number of industries, including printer design, semiconductor manufacturing and machine tools, cable carrier systems can be a possible source of vibration. Cable carrier systems supply energy, data and other media, and as technology increases so too does the number of cables and hoses that require guidance. As cable carriers guide and protect cables and hoses throughout the motion of the printer, machine tool, etc., vibration of the supporting structure of the cable carrier can occur, as well as at the moving end or tow arm of the machine. This vibration can negatively influence the performance of a machine once it reaches a certain level. For manufacturers, as well as their customers, factors that limit the capabilities of precision systems must be tackled using cable carrier systems that minimize vibrations and maximize smooth and precise operation.

In printing, milling, or other precise tasks, dynamic loads are the typical source of vibration, which can cause chatter. These vibrations not only decrease the quality of the print, product, etc. but can also cause increased wear on the components of the machine itself, leading to product defects, system malfunctions and downtime. Because of this, the dependence on low-vibration materials and machine components is on the rise in an effort to limit self-generated machine vibrations.

Designing vibration-reducing components

Most cable carrier systems utilize a pin-and-bore connection between the individual links of the carrier in order to guarantee a secure connection under high dynamic loads. This type of connection also gives the carrier system protection against external influences, resistance to high torsional forces, high tensile strength, and high mechanical durability. However, a disadvantage of the pin-and-bore design is the resulting relative motion between the links, which over time can cause wear on moving parts. In addition, the rolling motion of a cable carrier system exhibits the so-called “polygon effect,” where the chain does not form a smooth rolling motion, resulting in an angular, or polygonal, transition between links. In addition to increased wear, this also results in a “stepping” motion, which can create system vibrations. This can – in a worst-case scenario – result in material failure due to catastrophic resonance. Even in less extreme cases, the vibration caused by the polygon effect results in material wear and decreased accuracy on the workpiece.

Figure 1: As the chain moves around the curve, from position 1 to 2, the individual links (AB, BC, CD, DE) create an angular motion, changing the height of the system from d/2 to (d/2)cos(Y/2). This height fluctuation creates vibration and a rough “stepping “motion. (Source: igus)

To improve upon the design of cable carriers to reduce vibration, most manufacturers rely on a short link pitch to offer smooth, quiet motion. igus® low-vibration energy chain® cable carriers combine a short pitch length with an advanced plastic spring element to replace the traditional pin-and-bore design.

Figure 2: Replace pin-and-bore design with igus® low-vibration energy chain® cable carriers (Source: igus)

To learn more about the igus® low-vibration energy chain® cable carriers, visit https://toolbox.igus.com/white-papers/white-paper-reducing-vibration-of-cable-carriers&WT.mc_id=USD01&C=US&L=en

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from igus.

1 comments; last comment on 04/23/2018
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Infinera Offers Open Mobile Transport Solutions for 5G

Posted March 08, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Infinera introduced a new range of flexponders for mobile fronthaul and a new EMXP Access Unit for mobile backhaul to extend the capabilities of XTM series-based solutions, providing investment protection, and meeting stringent performance requirements for mobile operators as networks scale to 5G.

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1 comments; last comment on 08/29/2017
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Vein Authentication Technology Reads Palm Veins

Posted February 03, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. reportedly developed the world's first slide-style palm vein authentication technology. This technology is compact enough to be equipped to future tablets and other handheld mobile devices. For some time, making the optical unit smaller had been difficult. 

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12 comments; last comment on 02/04/2017
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Silver Interconnects Replace Copper on Flexible Circuits

Posted November 22, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Combining improvements in silver ink technology with advanced printing, a leading connector manufacturer has developed high-performance silver flexible circuits as an economical alternative to traditionally etched copper interconnects on polyimide and printed circuit boards. The newly developed process allows printing fine silver traces (0.13 mm) with equally small spacing (0.13 mm) on polyester substrates. Besides lowering the cost of manufacturing and eliminating the use of harsh chemicals, the silver printing process also allows the attachment of fine-pitch ICs on the polyester substrate using a proprietary bonding technique.

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