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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

triflex® R for industrial robots

Extend the service life of the energy supply on industrial robots

From the user's point of view, an energy supply system for multaxial industrial robots has to fulfill many requirements. The possibility to program extremely multifaceted motion sequences - partly offline - during the designing frequently leads to extreme stressing of the used electric cables and hoses. Sometimes there is the risk of a premature failure, often with very high consequential costs from production downtimes. The aforementioned features, together with modular design and intelligent accessories, have been merged into the development of the triflex® R energy supply system since 2003.

The triflex® R principle

The energy supply system consists of rugged, single-piece, interlinked units. The material used in many linear applications is the tested and proven igumid NB. It provides excellent protection for cables against impact and abrasion on the robotic arm, and is also resistant against dirt, chips and many other liquids used in mechanical engineering. Similar to the trailer hitch principle on a car, the one-piece links are connected to each other with a "ball/cup" connection, the so-called "trailer principle".

Connection mechanism of the triflex® R system

This trailer principle combines the ability to absorb high tensile strengths with the option to detach and reattach the triflex® R energy supply system at any required point. And naturally without end-to-end (steel) cables or other supporting elements! The external stop dogs in the TRC and TRE models transform the buckling forces arising in the inner radius into tensile forces. Pull-back mechanisms such as balancers or springs accommodated externally around the hose are often used to work out 3D energy supply functions, particularly in industrial robots. Loop formations are minimised or the cables are routed around interfering edges with these pull-back mechanisms.

Pull-back mechanism with integrated fibreglass rods

Unique due to fiber rods and FlexBar

The triflex® R is used to easily implement pull-back mechanisms with integrated fibreglass rods. These give the triflex® R a directed camber. In combination with an integrated piece at the moving end, triflex® R offers manifold possibilities without fiber rods to conduct the cables to the robot's wrist.

To deliver the many opportunities provided by the triflex® R concept, an extensive adapted accessories range for use with industrial robots is available in addition to the straight triflex® R e-chain systems® and the pre-assembled fibre-rod modules. The universal assembly set allows fixing the fibre-rod module to the robot arm in almost any position. If the robot system is modified or expanded, the connection can also be subsequently readjusted and thus constantly adapted to new conditions.
Difficult robot movements with FlexBar Extreme movements with industrial robots and various movement sequences can be implemented with the FlexBar system. In connection with the FlexBar universal assembly set, almost any movement sequence can be implemented. The Flexbar high-tech composite material's very great retraction force prevents loop formation even during extreme movements. Readjustment (made necessary by a change in the system, for instance) can be accomplished at any time with little effort.

Universal with special accessories

The easy-to-open mounting brackets with captive fastening mechanism can be supplied optionally as intermediate or end connection, with or without integrated strain relief teeth, as well as with locking or rotatable fastener. The triflex® R range is topped by a series of special accessories. When using very thick hoses, e.g. welding power cables, media hoses, etc., we recommend using an external strain relief with standard strain relief clamps (CFX) The strain relief is provided with a clip adjustable at two levels for fastening on the standard extension arm (30 mm) of many robot manufacturers. Thus the attachment on the moving end can be set at the ideal angle. When using the triflex® R e-chain system® in extremely hot environments, for example in foundries and die-casting foundries, etc., the entire system or parts of it can be protected with heat-resistant hoses against spatter up to a maximum of 600°C.

Handling of fiber rod modules

The used fiber glass rods are specially treated and provided with aluminum swivels at the tip. Thus the fiber rods are mounted at the moving end between two links to prevent a "creeping out" within the chain. At the fixed side, five chain links are reinforced with threaded rods, so that the relative movement between the fiber rods and chain can be compensated only within the guide bores. The fiber rod modules are sold in different lengths as completely preassembled modules. The fixed end is marked by five white points, the last chain link at the moving end by one white point. To compensate the occurring leverages, two mounting brackets should be provided for the assembly at the fixed end. These should be mounted at an interval of at least eight chain links. The mounting brackets are not part of the fiber rod module and should be ordered separately.

The universal assembly kit

The universal assembly kit consists of a 90° angled stainless-steel pipe, two rotary mounting straps connected to the robot, and one mounting plate adjustable at two levels with the mounting brackets for the fibre-rod module. When the universal assembly kit's angle is mounted facing axis 6 and the fibre-rod length is greater than the distance between axis 5 and the first mounting location, the triflex® R can be guided over or close to the robotic arm up to axis 5.

Universal assembly kit for industrial robots

An additional short piece of triflex® R without a fiber rod, fixed at the movable point, can enable frequent rotary movements larger than +/-180° on axis 6, without any contact between the chain and the robot. For a movement at axis 5 greater than 90°, or an addition from axis 4 and axis 6 greater than +/- 180° or in case of small installation spaces, it is recommended to install the universal assembly kit facing the rear direction. Now the fiber rod module can be mounted on the robotic arm at a larger angle and the pullback effect is fully utilized, similar to that of an angling rod. For robot designs without knowledge of later movements, twice the length of the fibre-rod module must be allowed for the chain's free end. The mounting brackets are included in the universal assembly kit.


The triflex® R e-chain system® with the fiber rod module can of course be mounted on specific fastening points. In this case, the chain is adjusted to the movement through trial-and-error, shortening, and at times even lengthening. Another alternative is to mount the triflex® R system next to or behind the robot with a vertical free-standing fibre-rod module. Due to the resulting extremely high amplitude, the energy supply follows the robotic movements in a very large working range.

On the moving end, the chain can be attached directly to the tool. This provides cable guidance without a direct connection to the robot, allowing work with various tools without plug connection systems for power, media, or bus system.
Supply via Axes 1-3 from external cable guidance systems can often be dispensed with.


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