igus energy chains reduce assembly time for Taiwanese tool company

Leading Taiwanese tool manufacturer Hartford is using fully
harnessed energy chain systems from igus to reduce the assembly time of their
robotic machining centres. Thanks to the ready-to-install readychain systems
from igus, the manufacturer is able to cut out several process steps (and
costs), reducing assembly time from several weeks to just half a day.

Throughput times are critical in the machine tool
industry. Cutting out individual work steps means that considerable savings in
process costs can be achieved. The design engineers at Hartford, the largest
manufacturer of CNC machining centres in Taiwan, know this well. With 50 years
of experience exporting more than 46,000 machines to 65 different countries,
the company has, since 2017, been developing CNC equipment of the AERO series –
the robotic machining centres for very large components needed for the
aerospace industry, for example, where precision and reliability are critical
factors.

Therefore, it was important to have a reliable means
of energy supply from the switch cabinet to the moving parts, which include
spindles and motors. At the same time, all the information regarding axis
position and dynamics must be passed back to the control system without any
interruption. In the first model in this series, the AERO626, this happens at
accelerations of up to 0.5 g and a maximum travel speed of up to
60 m/min.

Reliable
complete solution from a single source

Hartford’s engineers turned to motion plastics
specialist igus, which is the only provider to develop energy chains that are
configurable and predictable online, as well as specially designed, highly
flexible chainflex cables tested for two billion cycles per year in their
2,750-square-metre test laboratory.

As a complete system from one source, these so-called
‘readychains’ are harnessed to customers’ requirements at 12 locations all over
the world and then delivered as ready-to-install products. igus presented
Hartford a solution for the AERO series plants; by using igus energy chains the
amount of installation space needed can be reduced considerably. All chainflex
cables on the machine have an oil-resistant PUR outer jacket, which makes the
need for additional protective hoses superfluous; therefore, the amount of
space needed for the cables, and therefore the size of the chains, is reduced.

The absence of these protective hoses reduces cost and
helps simplify maintenance too. Through close collaboration between igus Taiwan
and Hartford, a 3D drawing of the readychain with assembly frame was created in
order to simulate the assembly procedure. The benefit could be seen straight
away: The first energy chain fitted with all electrical cables was installed on
the machine in an hour. The second chain with hydraulic hoses was installed
even faster, taking just 40 minutes.

Work
steps cut out for significantly greater productivity

Normally, machine tool manufacturers try to avoid too
many different work steps being carried out on a system at the same time. A lot
of manual work done by different employees does not necessarily enhance
efficiency; on the contrary, it increases the probability of errors.
By using igus readychains, all four energy chains from igus can be fully
installed in half a day. Previously, two employees took one and half weeks for
the work on the X axis of an AERO system and a further week for the energy
supply of the Y and Z axes. With igus’ solution, Hartford is able to cut out
some work steps, reduce process cost and, at the same time, greatly improve
productivity.

Complete harnessed systems from igus, under the name
readychain are available from Treotham, which can also provide a total
customised solution for almost any application.

For more information, please visit the Treotham
Automation website www.treotham.com.au
or call 1300 65 75 64.

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