The requirements on the painting robot are clear: it must be able to function smoothly under all conditions. Time is money - therefore low downtimes and set-up times should also accrue in the daily operations. Since its installation over two years ago, a multidimensional energy supply system provides error-free painting along with round-the-clock availability of the robot. Two years ago a painting robot was equipped with an energy supply system from igus® GmbH in Cologne, in the course of a replacement of the previous system. The multidimensional energy supply system triflex® R is used here, in the so-called "Easy" design (TRE). The emphasis is on both the safety of the system when performing quick motions and the simple filling process. The product series has been specially developed for robotic applications. "We constantly had problems with the original solution, a grooved hose. It tore time and time again. Furthermore there were no proper mountings, meaning that the cables were highly strained during complex movements. Since the conversion, the painting robot runs completely free of errors," confirms Uwe Weißhoff.
The energy supply system consists of 272 chain links.
"We produce approximately 2,000 pieces per shift in three shifts. That makes approximately 600,000 pieces per year. In plain language, this means that the robot with the replaced energy supply system has already painted around 1.2 million seals - and without a single failure," reports Uwe Weißhoff. At an acceleration of 800 mm/s, the energy supply system and inner cables are highly stressed. "We cannot make any compromises on speed due to the high number of pieces produced," clarifies Uwe Weißhoff. On top of that are the conditions in the painting cabin. The paint mist leads to heavy accumulations of dirt. It settles everywhere and leads to adhesions. "The application conditions are already quite extreme," asserts the employee responsible for process development. "We paint in the high-tech area. That's our company's capital!"
A second energy supply system for even more flexibility
The painting robot has in the meantime been equipped with a second TRE energy supply system, also with a minimum bending radius of 87 mm. With this additional system, a paint sprayer is operated for subtler tasks. "We have become even more flexible with the second completely separate solution. It is easy to handle during replacement and is just mounted on the robot's adapter, ready for use," says Uwe Weißhoff. Mounting brackets which can quickly be replaced and fastened onto the robotic arm are easy to open using the bayonet connection. "And when it is necessary to replace a dirty media hose or cable, it poses no problem at all. They are simply pressed in from the outside," confirms Uwe Weißhoff. "The simple filling process is a result of the so-called "Easy" design," explains the igus® product manager Jochen Weber. "The cables or hoses must not be routed through the chain. Another major advantage of this is that the fixtures or plug connectors don't need to be dismantled for filling. “
As a result of the simple connection and sophisticated accessories changeover times have been considerably reduced. In the case of the painting robot it takes a maximum of 15 minutes to replace the two systems. A further advantage when in use on site is the stable exterior contour. The painting robot can move unrestrictedly. The energy supply system is simply updated and experiences all movements - including torsional movements and bending radii. When shortening or lengthening takes place, the TRE energy supply system reveals its full strength. Individual chain links can also quickly be replaced in the event of damage, for example, in areas subjected to particular stress. Simple attachment and separation processes are possible through the "ball and socket" design (trailer principle). A screwdriver is sufficient. Moreover, this principle enables flexible movements in all axles with a tested tensile strength of up to 2,340 N.
"And we're so satisfied with this solution that we have equipped a further robot immediately with an igus energy supply system. Here water-based paint is used, which has completely different requirements for applications. We basically cannot afford to use interfering accessories. Our experiences have been so positive over the last couple of years that we don't want to try anything else out," reports Uwe Weißhoff in conclusion. "The high holding times and low changeover times have convinced us. “