Cable carriers guide and protect cables and hoses on moving machinery. They prevent tangling and damage from debris or contact with the machine itself. Using cable carriers extends the service life of both the cables and the machine. Any application involving moving machinery and constant repetitive motion will benefit from a cable carrier system. Typical applications range from machine tools, woodworking machinery and palletizers, to automated robots, cleanrooms and ship-to-shore cranes.
igus'® line of cable carriers - known as energy chains - are all-plastic, maintenance-free, corrosion-resistant cable carriers. They can replace metal or steel carriers in almost any application. igus offers a variety of Energy Chains such as: micro chains for the smallest applications, E-Z chain for quick assembly, E6 chains for low noise and low vibration, fully enclosed Energy Tubes for applications with flying debris and multi-axis cable carriers for robotic applications.
The cable carrier is an integral part of any machine design and should be considered early-on in the design process. It can be implemented in a variety of ways depending on the motion of the machine, but the most common is a horizontal, unsupported, short-travel installation. In this type of application, the upper run of the carrier operates without touching the lower run throughout the entire length of travel. The maximum unsupported length is different for every application, but this type of configuration will have the longest service life (see image A).
If the length of travel is too long for an unsupported installation, it is considered a gliding, long-travel application in which the cable carrier glides on itself (see image B). A guide trough and glide bar must be used to support the carrier. Cable carriers also can be installed vertically or horizontally. Side-mounted, rotary, multiple nested carriers are also quite common.
Here is a step-by-step guide to specifying a cable carrier: