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Chainflex® continuous-flex cables are tested, tested . . . and tested7/9/2013

Two-billion test cycles at more than 50 test machines every year

For over 20 years, igus® has been rigorously testing the durability of its Chainflex continuous-flex cables in its 19,000 square foot laboratory. The company performs around two-billion test cycles at more than 50 test machines every year.

Long life for moving parts is a fundamental requirement for both OEMs and MROs when integrating machinery. Yet many suppliers only speculate about the service life of their parts—they either don’t carry out tests, or the tests they do perform aren’t consistent with the mechanical requirements of the application.

It’s a different story at igus—one of the world’s leading manufacturers of flexible cables for cable carrier systems—where the company considers it standard to validate the lifetime of each of its products during development and mass production.

“We’re always working to improve our processes and optimize the materials we use so that we can guarantee our cable carriers and cables perform well together”, says Don Nester, Chainflex Product Manager at igus’ North American subsidiary. “On top of that, we perform numerous application-related tests to guarantee our products are ready for almost any given application.”

igus has been testing its continuous-flex cables for more than 20 years in its fully equipped test laboratory—one that boasts a surface area of 19,000 square feet. Endurance tests are supervised at over 50 different test stations and results are recorded by igus’ dedicated laboratory team. Cables are subjected to different types of mechanical stresses and monitored electrically. Afterwards, test results are analyzed and used to improve igus products. The igus test lab conducts up to two billion test cycles per year.

Test setups include standard linear-axis tests involving various lengths of travel at different speeds. Test can also be tailored specifically to individual customer applications. igus test capabilities include linear travels up to 400 feet. Temperature profiles can be simulated in a 26 foot travel test chamber that ranges from –40 to +140 degrees Fahrenheit. A robotic flex testing cell also tests the maximum lifetime of the CFROBOT series torsion-resistant robot cables on five different test robots.

When it comes to those tests customized to an individual customer’s requirements, the results are not only documented, but it’s possible to follow the test’s progress in real-time via webcam. This means you can access up-to-the-minute updates whenever you choose.

“From multiple conversations with our customers, we know that cable lifetime is a real priority”, says Nester. “So it’s our goal to offer the optimal cable to every customer without them ever having to sacrifice service life.”