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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 or

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


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