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Elegant piggyback ride

Special solutions with standard components

Special design or standard solution? The customers like the technically perfected machines, but without the problems of special engineering like elaborate spare parts and high development costs. What at first looks like the quadrature of the circle is absolutely solvable. Westphal Maschinenbau in Hameln proves it with igus®.components. Here an energy supply system was developed from standard parts, whose piggyback system at last allocates a defined place for the large volume suction hoses in wood and sandwich processing and creates air for further developments.

"Open window" for customers

With its consistency in quality, openness and corporate policy aligned to customer benefit, Westphal Maschinenbau is successful in a difficult environment. The use of the best components is as important as the use of standard elements: "More accurate and better components save follow-up costs at all stages," says Rene Westphal. For example, only rack steerings of minimum tolerance are integrated, for which a test record already exists. That saves follow-up costs in the installation and setup and continues up to the production. The accuracy of his machines is so high that he tested them by cutting special thread in practice before delivery - an extraordinary measure for machines of these dimensions. The depicted CNC machining center in portal design for machining side plates and floors of caravans has 7 axles with travels of 15500x3200x450 mm (XYZ). It is meant primarily for the processing of aluminum sandwich elements. Even in direct customer contact, the energetic manager from the Pied Piper town breaks the mold. His proverbial openness stretches till the disclosure of all machine parts. Thereby the customer can independently buy potential spare parts, and the machines are also prepared for the retrofit. This naturally presupposes the use of standard components even in the energy supply system!

Wood and sandwich processing The latest control technology, securely implemented by igus® energy supply systems in the X and Y axes.

"The egg dance is over"

Large dimensioned suction mechanisms for the emerging chips are typical for the processing of wood, aluminum profiles and sandwich elements. Because, with the previously used common suction hoses hanging from the ceiling, modern machines with increasingly higher capability could no longer be simply implemented. And a solution was urgently sought exactly for that! For two hoses, that is already walking on thin ice," Westphal describes the problem thus. "In this way we looked around for a solution in the market." And that too with "Westphalian frankness." The competency and transparency with which he deals with his customers should also be a guideline for his supplier of energy supply systems. "We were immediately taken by the igus® sales engineer Wolfgang Bombeck. He came immediately and made a qualified offer within few hours. Also when questions emerged during installation, he came and supported us. We have a solution now which brings the egg dance to an end and with which we can further develop our machines in any direction that we want - too many axles, longer travels and more axles per portal." How does the solution look in concrete terms?

Piggyback to the destination

In fact, the search for the ideal guide for the suction hoses covers the following points: It should

consist of standard components and

safely guide 250 mm diameter suction hoses

in minimum space

together with other cables of essentially less diameters.

The solution of this task was not trivial, because the suction hoses with their diameters of 250 mm were theoretically very large and thereby would necessitate expensive energy supply systems - but these were in contrast completely over-dimensioned by the load.

Wood and sandwich processing Long travels and different cable characteristics: An overview of the 7-axle machine with 52.5 ft travel.

The collaboration between Westphal Maschinenbau und igus® resulted in a solution in the piggyback system with the energy supply system type 1600-40-250-0. It is completely made of plastic and doesn't require any metal screw joints. Thereby it is particularly friendly to cables and hoses. They

Reliably separate the large, relatively fragile hoses placed on one side of the energy supply system from the pneumatic and energy cables placed on the other side.

Guides large diameter, in this case 250 mm, with minimum material input and thereby low weight.

Based on the energy supply system construction kit from igus®, which secures the spare parts supply.

"As a matter of fact, this solution is possible only with our system kit," says Michael Blass, igus® sales director in Germany, "With over 43,000 parts, we can implement special solutions from the system kit. Here we rearranged the standard components, so that the customers have no waiting period for re-orders."

Lean solution

The piggyback solution with the igus® energy supply system has a further important advantage: it is very light. The portal servo motors thus need less than 1% of their engine power for the movement of the energy supply. There are 25 cables - in addition to the suction hoses are fiber optic cables, energy cables and pneumatic cables - guided and driven with a speed up to 197 ft/min at an acceleration of 4.9 ft/s2. Only the upper run of the energy supply is supported in this solution. The crossbars are so rigid that without additional structural elements they wear out the lateral guide and the vertical load over the entire travel length of 52 feet. These values are far from exhausting the capability of the igus® energy supply system.

Wood and sandwich processing A secure and clean special solution with standard components: the igus® energy supply system guides many different cables in two sections.

Option for the future.

As a result of the integrated flexibility and upgradeability of the machines from Westphal, energy supply systems from igus® play a supporting role quite literally. "Only with these systems can we implement optimum hose and cable guiding through multiple axles and portals," says Westphal. "As clients want ready-to-plug-in machines - preferably with a central supply for all connector cables - data, energy, compressed air and suction cleaning. Another trend is the increasing capability: Westphal already has machines with three independent portals and 12 axles in operation. And that is by no means the end. Plans already encompass up to 16 axles and travels of up to 131 feet. Such complex and large systems are, due to the variety of the feeder lines, inconceivable without high-performance energy supply systems. This results in the opening up of new areas thanks to the successful collaboration between Westphal Maschinenbau GmbH and igus® GmbH.

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