How to keep unexpected machine shut downs to a minimum

Imagine, a large order has just come through. It needs to be completed within 24 hours so that a product can be sent on its way to one of the biggest and most prominent client to-date. But, before waving goodbye to the delivery truck, a machine shuts down and precious time is ticking away while waiting for it to be repaired. This is a situation that no manufacturer wants to find themselves in. It’s also the reason preventative measures are taken as much as possible, in order to avoid unnecessary shut downs.

Installing sensors and smart equipment can guard manufacturers against machine errors. The igus isense range of sensors and monitoring modules keeps predicative maintenance at the forefront of the factory floor. It gives manufacturers an Industry 4.0-driven experience that will help keep their machines in check.

Making production processes easier and more reliable, igus, a motion plastics specialist, developed isense intelligent solutions to warn of potential failure in good time before unplanned and very costly downtimes occur. Treotham Automation, a supplier of electrical and mechanical components, chooses to sell igus’ products for the smart and reliable technology it supplies.

Igus’ products include the optimised CF.Q module for the intelligent chainflex cables and the intelligent iglidur PRT slewing ring bearings. The isense e-chain Run Control (EC.RC) – a new system for monitoring e-chains, monitors the operating status of 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. This means that total loss of the chain or an electrical shutdown, for example, due to cable damage, are minimised.

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, including 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 its 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 can be predicted in a timely manner.

Igus head of sales and marketing e-chainsystems, Michael Blass, said continuous testing in the company’s test laboratory and in customer applications helped igus make analysis of the measured values increasingly more precise. “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,” he said.

Igus’ icom communication module, which gathers and transfers all the values of these systems, communicates mostly without cables.

This makes it easier to integrate into existing production, which is helped by the fact that only a single icom module is needed for several systems. Customers can also connect other manufacturers’ data-generating units, which monitor status, to the icom module.

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