Predictive maintenance is part of Industry 4.0 and the factory of tomorrow.
For this future, igus has developed a family of products under the heading of 'isense', where different sensors and monitoring modules make the plastic solutions intelligent.
At Hannover Messe 2017 in Germany last month, igus unveiled a range of new and improved products, including isense EC.RC, a new system for monitoring e-chains.
Also on display was the optimised CF.Q module for the intelligent chainflex cables and the intelligent iglidur PRT slewing ring bearings.
To help make production processes easier and more reliable, igus the motion plastics specialist, has developed intelligent solutions that warn of potential failure in good time before unplanned and very costly downtimes occur.
Last year igus presented its first products at Hannover Messe.
And visitors coming to their stand a year later experienced the new generation of 'smart plastics'.
Continuous monitoring for safe operation
The new isense EC.RC (e-chain Run Control) monitors the operating status of the e-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; meaning that total loss of the chain or an electrical shutdown (for example, due to cable damage) are a thing of the past.
In this way the isense EC.RC guards against any unscheduled machine shutdowns.
Further intelligent motion plastics for diverse applications
Another new product from the smart plastics family is the EC.M module, which is mounted on the moving end of the chain and automatically records its status (acceleration, speed, temperature and completed cycles).
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, a possible failure of the cable is predicted in good time.
"Continuous testing in our test laboratory and in customer applications help us to make analysis of the measured values increasingly more precise", explains Michael Blar, Head of Sales and Marketing e-chainsystems at igus. "Real applications in which we are already using our intelligent products and our chainflex cables include, for example, robot gantries for transportation in automobile factories, where even short unscheduled standstill times result in very large production losses."
One module for many energy chains and cables
Whereas igus presented different isense measuring systems for its linear guides, energy chains and cables last year, the icom communication module, which gathers, and transfers all the values of these systems, was improved at the same time and now communicates mostly without cables.
It is even easier to integrate into existing production, one of the reasons being that only a single icom module is needed for several systems.
Also, customers can now connect other manufacturers' data-generating units which monitor status to the icom module.
igus showed live on the stand, how the operating states of all moving e-chains are measured by only a single icom module. It also showcased the intelligent iglidur PRT slewing ring bearing, a new member of the smart plastics family.
Thanks to an integrated wear sensor, which is mounted in a cut-out niche under the slide elements, the so-called PRT.W sensor ('W' for wear) also measures the abrasion so that replacement of the bearing in good time without an unscheduled machine shutdown can be ensured, thus contributing towards increased security in production.
In Australia, igus products are available from Treotham Automation.
02 9907 1788