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Energy and bus signals in a moving cable – but completely reliable!

Hybrid cables from igus used in demanding drilling machine applications

Up to fifty servo axes in a small space, high dynamics, high demands on service life and small bend radii: can one-cable technology function under these adverse conditions? IMA Klessmann did not just try it out but thoroughly tested it together with igus. Result: The hybrid cables of the chainflex product range are tried and tested and are used in the new flexible IMAGIC flex drilling systems.


  • What was needed: chainflex hybrid cables, energy chains
  • Requirements: Cables must be extremely flexible and guarantee a long service life and dependability with very small bend radii. 
  • Industry: Machine tool manufacturing
  • Success for the customer: Customised test programme for new cables specially designed to meet the customer's requirements and in particular to cope with the exceptionally low bend radii

IMAGIC drilling centre The IMAGIC flex drilling centre has been developed for the order-related production of furniture, which reflects a highly flexible production.


60 metres per minute: This speed sets the pace for the drilling stations integrated into the IMA Klessmann GmbH rigs. They have to drill at high speed, even if the components are manufactured according to specific orders and have different drilling patterns.  The IMA Klessmann "Drilling Technology" business unit has developed the flexible IMAGIC flex drilling system for this application profile. The individually controllable drilling spindles enable horizontal and vertical drilling as well as dowelling, and promise minimum set-up times even for complex drilling patterns - and at a remarkably high speed.  The systems, which are planned specifically according to customer requirements, are equipped with up to 50 axes, which must be positioned and coordinated in seconds. In order to prepare the IMAGIC flex for this task, the designers had to "upgrade" the drive and control technology appropriately and decided to use the latest servo technology. The new one-cable technology combines the power and feedback system in the same servo cable. The single-cable technology saves material as well as costs and installation effort, since depending on the position of the control cabinet - which is specified by the customer - up to four kilometres of cables are laid. At the same time, however, this brought with it the challenge that a hybrid cable was required that could guarantee a long service life and dependability at the same time, given the high dynamics. Another complicating factor is the very small bend radii, because leading control technology companies had rejected the single-cable concept in the past. IMA took these concerns seriously, especially since the mobility of the hybrid cables was added as an extra factor.


And the first request to igus didn't dispel the doubts. There was no guaranteed service life for the parameters under which the cables were to be used.
The reason for this was the small bend radii of the cables in the servo axes, which are sometimes up to 50 percent smaller than the nominal value specified in the catalogue.  But igus suggested a customised test programme to IMA Klessmann. In this way, the hybrid cables were tested and examined according to the specification of the drive manufacturer and the Hyperface DSL bus element with over 4 million strokes in the IMA-specific bend radii. Then they were handed over to IMA for a practical test.  After successful testing and application, nothing more stood in the way of the series launch.
IMA finally decided on the PVC model of the chainflex hybrid cable. Particularly in high-speed applications, the majority of machine builders use cables with PUR jackets. However, IMA has already had good experience with PVC in the past. For example, the company also uses PVC jackets for other cables. They are abrasion-resistant and highly durable and fail-safe even in highly dynamic applications.
For guiding the cables, IMA Klessmann also resorts to the igus range and uses ready-to-install readychain systems. In doing so, open energy chains are used, which repel wood dust. This allows customers to rely on safe systems from a single source, where the components have been harmonised by the decade-long development programmes in the igus test laboratory.

"We needed a hybrid cable that ensured a long service life and operational reliability with the high dynamics. "
Burkhard Reese, Electrical Final Assembly  on the requirements in the application.

Servo axes Up to 50 servo axes are supplied with energy and signals via chainflex hybrid cables.
Servo systems with one-cable technology The axes are controlled by highly dynamic servo systems with one-cable technology.
Energy chains Good guidance: energy chains, delivered as readychain products, undertake the orderly supply of energy and signals to the individual axes of the IMAGIC flex.
chainflex hybrid cable The chainflex hybrid cables are equipped with a built-in bus element and have been designed for a long service life in highly dynamic applications.

The terms "igus", "Apiro", "chainflex", "CFRIP", "conprotect", "CTD", "drylin", "dry-tech", "dryspin", "easy chain", "e-chain", "e-chain systems", "e-ketten", "e-kettensysteme", "e-skin", "e-spool", "flizz", "ibow", "igear", "iglidur", "igubal", "kineKIT", "manus", "motion plastics", "pikchain", "plastics for longer life", "readychain", "readycable", "ReBeL", "speedigus", "triflex", "robolink", "xirodur", and "xiros" are legally protected trademarks of the igus® GmbH/ Cologne in the Federal Republic of Germany and where applicable in some foreign countries.

igus® GmbH points out that it does not sell any products of the companies Allen Bradley, B&R, Baumüller, Beckhoff, Lahr, Control Techniques, Danaher Motion, ELAU, FAGOR, FANUC, Festo, Heidenhain, Jetter, Lenze, LinMot, LTi DRiVES, Mitsibushi, NUM,Parker, Bosch Rexroth, SEW, Siemens, Stöber and all other drive manufacturers mention in this website. The products offered by igus® are those of igus® GmbH