In its robotic machining centres, Taiwanese tool manufacturer Hartford uses fully harnessed energy chain systems from igus. This cuts out many process steps for the manufacturer, reducing assembly time from several weeks to just half a day. At the same time, customers can always depend on receiving a safe and reliable solution from a single source when they order readychains from igus.
In hardly any other industry are throughput times as important as in the machine tool industry. Cutting out individual work steps means that considerable savings in process costs can be achieved. The design engineers at Hartford, the largest manufacturer of CNC machining centres in Taiwan, are well aware of this. Since 2017, the company has been developing CNC equipment of the AERO series – the largest robotic machining centres for very large components needed for the aerospace industry, for example. In this industry, precision and reliability are critical factors. For Hartford, therefore, it was especially important to have a reliable means of energy supply from the control cabinet to the moving parts, which include lead screws and motors. At the same time, all the information regarding axis position and dynamics must be passed back to the control system without any interruption. In the first model in this series, the AERO626, this happens at accelerations of up to 0.5g and a maximum travel speed of up to 60m/min.
This is why Hartford's engineers turned to igus. igus presented Hartford with a readychain solution for its AERO series systems, i.e. a pre-assembled complete solution consisting of energy chains and . The igus energy chains enabled the Hartford engineers to significantly reduce the installation space. One reason for this is that all chainflex cables on the machine have an oil-resistant PUR outer jacket. As additional protective hoses are superfluous because of this feature, the amount of space needed for the cables and therefore the size of the chains are reduced. The absence of these protective hoses reduces cost and helps ease maintenance too.
In a close collaboration between igus Taiwan and Hartford, a 3D drawing of the used readychain with assembly frame was created in order to simulate the assembly procedure before the installation of the system. The benefit could be seen immediately: The first energy chain fitted with all electrical cables was installed on the machine in an hour. The second chain with hydraulic hoses was installed even faster, taking just 40 minutes.
Normally, machine tool manufacturers try to avoid situations where too many different work steps have to be carried out on a system at the same time. A lot of manual work done by different employees does not automatically enhance efficiency; on the contrary, it increases the probability that errors can occur. By using igus readychains, all four e-chains from igus can be fully installed in half a day. Previously, two employees took one and half weeks for the work on the X-axis of an AERO system and a further week for the energy supply of the Y and Z-axes. In this way, Hartford is able to cut out some work steps, reduce process cost and, at the same time, greatly improve productivity. While rely on the tried-and-tested quality of the readychains from igus.