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. With readychain® from igus®, customers can at the same time depend on receiving a reliable solution from a single source.
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, know this as well. The manufacturer has 50 years of history exporting more than 46,000 machines to 65 different countries.
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. All this at accelerations of up to 0.5 g and a maximum travel speed of up to 60 m/min on the first model in this series, the AERO626.
This is why Hartford's engineers turned to igus® the motion plastics® specialist. igus® is the only supplier to develop energy chains as well as the cables that are designed specifically for use with them.These "readychains®" can be harnessed to customers' requirements at 12 locations all over the world and are then delivered as ready-to-install complete systems.
igus® presented Hartford with a solution for the AERO-series units. 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 process of close collaboration between igus® Taiwan and Hartford, a 3D model of the readychains® deployed with assembly frame was then created in order to simulate the assembly procedure. 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®.