Condition Monitoring

First monitoring system for robot energy chains

First monitoring system for robot energy chains

Robots have long been an indispensable part of many areas of industrial production – and their range of tasks continues to grow in the wake of digitization. Whether welding, painting, soldering or palletizing: Industrial robots work dynamically. A flexible 3D energy chain like the Triflex R from Igus makes it possible to guide robot cables safely. In order to detect potential chain breaks caused by the extreme loads in good time and avoid unplanned machine downtime, Igus is presenting i.Sense TR.B, the world's first break monitoring system for 3D energy chains.

Increasing material and energy efficiency, compensating for supply bottlenecks through domestic production and alleviating the labor shortage: According to the Trend Index 2022 of the automatica trade fair, these are some of the most frequently cited reasons why industrial robots are important for the German economy. For an industrial robot to work reliably, however, one thing above all is essential: safe cable routing. Robot cables have to withstand numerous bending cycles as well as torsional and tensile loads. With Triflex R, Igus has developed a round energy chain with a defined bending radius especially for industrial robots, thus protecting the cables even during dynamic rotating and swiveling movements. Because a chain break can be devastating: Plant downtime, production stops and delivery delays cost time and money. To detect a chain breakage at lightning speed and prevent expensive consequential damage, motion plastics specialist Igus has developed a new and cost-effective solution: i.Sense TR.B – a real-time breakage monitoring system for the three-dimensional Triflex R energy chain.

Smart real-time condition monitoring - also for 3D applications

With i.Sense TR.B, the proven i.Sense breakage monitoring of Igus Smart Plastics is now also possible for dynamic, three-dimensional applications. Customers can thus increase the safety of their robotic systems with an investment of just a few hundred euros. The i.Sense TR.B sensor is connected directly to the customer's PLC control system – without additional software costs. If a chain link breaks, the system detects the change in length of the rope installed in the chain and can output a digital signal to the system controller accordingly. The lightning-fast breakage detection enables immediate maintenance measures and can thus avoid unplanned downtimes as well as total failures in the event of individual chain link breaks. "Especially in use cases such as automotive production lines with extremely high output, each downtime can cause costs of several 100,000 euros. Real-time condition monitoring of the energy supply system in industrial robots thus offers users significant added value," explains Richard Habering, head of the Smart Plastics business unit at Igus.

Sustainable maintenance with Smart Plastics

With the help of numerous test series in the industry's largest test laboratory, Igus is continuously working to further optimize the quality and durability of its products. The combination of flexible Triflex R 3D chain with high tensile force absorption and i.Sense TR.B sensor makes it possible to guide and protect robotic cables safely – and thus increase their service life enormously. Condition-based maintenance with the help of the TR.B sensor also makes maintenance more sustainable, because users can avoid unnecessary or premature product replacement. And if the chain does break, the sensor can be reused after the system has been shut down correctly in an emergency.

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