How to manage cables on robotic systems more reliably

1 min read

This week Justin Leonard, the-chain director at igus, examines the issues that can occur with traditional corrugated tube, cable and hose management systems used on robots and explains how they can be overcome by replacing them with energy chains.

Corrugated tubing is the default cable management system used on robot arms as it can stretch to accommodate complex movements. One of the problems that can occur is that the cables and hoses inside the tubing undergo enormous strain, which can cause damage and lead to intermittent faults. Another limitation to corrugated tubing is that twisting, normally at axis 6, can lead to the corrugated tube splitting, leaving the cables and hoses exposed and therefore prone to damage. In the worst case scenario, the corrugated tubing can rupture completely.

The circular link-by-link construction of the igus triflex R energy chain system overcomes these issues. Each link has a defined minimum bend radius stop, which prevents the cables bending too tightly. The ball-and-socket connection system enables easy lengthening and shortening of the energy chain. Unlike corrugated tubing, the connection system stops the energy chain from stretching, which prevents damage to the cables and hoses. The torsion stop feature on the energy chain prevents over-twist of the hoses, which can lead to restricted fluid flow.