Video: How to Choose the Right Motion Cable
James Anderton posted on January 17, 2018 |
Igus motion cable expert explains why cable choice matters.

Many machines use moving cables. But how much thought do those cables get toward the increased wear requirements of their application? The risk of damage to cables in machines is high. Cables hanging free in a machine can touch the machine’s moving parts and cause damage or destruction.

Igus is best known for its cable carriers, or direct chains, which organize and protect the motion of the cable. However, even manufacturers that specify a cable chain don’t always consider which cable to put inside that chain.

Cable motion causes the conductors and jacket to twist and flex. This can cause breakage. Overstressing the cable assembly causes this kind of damage, which can lead to unplanned downtime or machine damage. So how should engineers choose the right cable for their application?

Rainer Rössel, igus Head of Business Unit chainflex cables, has this recommendation: define your cable and e-chain together. Ideally they will come from the same source since the supplier will know which products work best together. Machine designers often do not have the expertise to specify cables and e-chains, but suppliers such as igus have product experts who can help find the right products for your assembly.

In this video, Rössel gives an example of two cable products, taken from the igus catalog, with different specifications. One cable has a large bending radius of 15 times d and a lifetime of 5 million cycles. The other has a bending radius of 4 times d but a guaranteed lifetime of 40 million cycles.  Between these two products, the igus catalog offers 17 more options. It’s not easy to decide which is the right solution for your application. Considering cost, the first cable is priced at about 50 cents per foot, and the latter at about $28. Without expertise, it’s difficult to compare products and find the most cost-effective option. That’s why the product experts at your supplier are an invaluable resource.

For more from our trip to igus, stay tuned for upcoming videos!

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