Revolutionising 3D movement for robots


Manufacturers’ Monthly hears from Treotham Automation on a telescopic triflex TRX energy chain from igus that saves space on an industrial robot and ensures a retraction length of up to 40 per cent.

To ensure that cables on industrial robots can be guided in motion safely, easily and compactly, igus has now developed the four-dimensional triflex TRX energy chain, now available through Treotham Automation.

The new design replaces classic robot hose packages and retraction systems. The telescopic triflex R TRX combines the triflex R energy chain and a retraction system in one – a combination that enables a space-saving installation with compensation of up to 40 per cent of the e-chain’s length. The length compensation also prevents loop formation at the robot.

The round shape of the “easy” design is highly resilient and makes it possible to insert and remove harnessed cables easily.


One special feature of the energy chain is the 40 per cent retraction length, ensured by a unique telescopic mechanism inside the chain. This allows users to save space on the third axis of their robot, up to 83 per cent weight and high costs for retraction systems.

The three-dimensional triflex R energy chains from igus are widely used in the industry for fail-safe guidance of cables and hoses on robots. Retraction systems have so far been used on the third axis to ensure that no loops are created during the movement of the energy chain system, which could hinder the robot.

The TRX is a space-saving chain that can be fixed compactly on the third axis.

However, the axes on the robots offer less and less space, so a new solution was needed.

The triflex TRX system was developed based on the triflex R energy chain. This is a four-dimensional energy chain in which the retraction system is already integrated. The TRX is a space-saving chain that can be fixed directly and compactly on the third axis. The energy supply twists into itself, lengthens and shortens spirally as in a telescopic pull-out, by up to 40 per cent.

For this purpose, igus relies on a screw connector system in the unique mechanism, as well as on an integrated reset band. The band brings the chain links back to their starting point time and again, and thereby the retraction force can be adjusted. As cables or hoses cannot be elongated to the same extent as the e-chain, they are placed in the TRX according to a specific principle.

In addition, the cables and hoses are fastened in place in the middle of the TRX, so that they do not leave their position when the chain is pulled. Thanks to the special arrangement of the cables and hoses, as well as the additional tension relief system in the centre of the TRX, the cables and hoses can cope with the length compensation of the e-chain without any problems.

Saving on weight

Compared to other retraction systems, the user saves up to 83 per cent weight and requires less than half the space. In this way, the performance of the robot can be further improved, and costs are significantly reduced by dispensing with an additional retraction system.

TRX can be easily connected to existing TRE series triflex R chains. As with triflex R, the cables can be quickly filled into the energy chain from the outside.

For more information on the triflex TRX energy chain from igus, visit www.igus.eu/info/triflex-r-trx.

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