Smart plastics helping to boost plant availability
19 July 2017
Predictive maintenance plays a key role in Industry 4.0 and the factory of tomorrow. Supporting this future, igus has added further sensors and monitoring modules to its smart plastics family for more intelligence - warning of potential failure in good time before unplanned and costly downtimes occur.
The new isense EC.RC (e-chain Run Control) monitors the operating status of the energy chains, especially in guide troughs used on long travel applications. Sensors measure and check the position of the energy chain. In this way, the machine is prevented from continuing to operate when mechanical faults occur.
Another new product is the EC.M module, which is mounted on the moving end of the energy chain and automatically records its status, i.e. acceleration, speed, temperature and completed number of double-strokes. The distance travelled and the remaining service life of the system can be derived from this.
igus has also improved the CF.Q module, with which the data of the intelligent chainflex cables are gathered. Due to continuous measurement of the electrical properties, ambient temperature and the number of cycles, potential failure of the cable is predicted in good time.
Justin Leonard, the-chain director at igus, comments: "Continuous testing in our test laboratory and in customer applications help us to make analysis of the measured values increasingly precise. Real applications in which we are already using our intelligent products and our chainflex cables include, for example, robot gantries for transportation in car factories, where even short unscheduled standstill times can result in very large production losses."
The icom communication module, which gathers and transfers all the values of these systems, has been developed further and now communicates wirelessly. It is easier to integrate into existing production processes, one of the reasons being that only a single icom module is needed for several isense systems. In addition, manufacturers' data-generating units which monitor status can now be connected to the icom module.