Wolfgang Pfeiffer (Intercontec Produkt GmbH, left), Christian Stremlau (igus GmbH) before the new overmoulding machine for circular connectors.
Preassembled energy supply systems pay off already from quantity 1. The customer is always on the safe side: From individual components such as energy chains, cables and connectors up to ready-to-install system: High quality components ensure a process-reliable and tested final product. Particular attention is thereby paid to the high-quality circular connectors that connect quickly and easily and moves machines and systems smoothly. The long-standing cooperation with a highly qualified partner prove its worth.
"We place the utmost importance on technically sophisticated components that are used in our preassembled energy supply systems. This is the only way they can work reliably in all environmental conditions," clarifies Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Christian Stremlau. He is the head of the "readychain" & "readycable" of the igus GmbH in Cologne. For about 20 years, the company has been assembling custom-made energy chain systems, known as readychain. Today, at the site in Cologne, between 400 and 500 orders of all sizes are assembled per week by 127 employees in three shifts (together) on more than 3,000 m².
To succeed in the competitive environment, machine and plant manufacturers must reduce their process costs permanently. Preassembled energy chain systems play an important role here. First, they pay off fast because the total expenditure for design, procurement, assembly and inspection lies with the specialised suppliers. Second, the customer profits from many years of experience. "igus sees itself as a total solutions provider and develops its range of products constantly, which then finds its application in the assembled energy chain systems. Every year 1000 data sets are added to our wealth of experience from our test field. In the cable assembly we have a capacity for over 600,000 assembled cables, with a massive range of the most diverse connectors. We have over 3,500 different connector components in stock. Our own tool making and more than 300 injection moulding machines have enabled us to overmould connectors with technical perfection.
Extensive tests and inspections enable the perfect interaction of all components and a reliable prediction of service life of complete systems," summarises Christian Stremlau the complete product portfolio. "From standard to special solutions - with our existing components and our manufacturing expertise, we serve a wide variety of markets, each customer is always provided with his tailor-made solution."
Just any supplier does not fit this requirement profile. Purchased parts must also comply with the latest state of the art, which alone guarantees the competitiveness and durability of the finished systems. This is also true for the field of connectors. In many cases the power and signal circular connectors of the company Intercontec Produkt GmbH in Niederwinkling are used. "We've been working together for over ten years," recalls the CEO, Wolfgang Pfeiffer, the successful system partnership. "Our connectors are characterised by a functional design. They are process-reliable, easy to work with and meet all quality standards. “
Plug connections from Intercontec are process-reliable, easy to assemble and of high quality.
The high-performance plug connectors of this provider are used, wherever signals are transmitted, motors controlled or the proper functioning of a system must be monitored. Whether drive technology, robotics, automation/mechatronics, medical technology, chemicals, machinery, food, textile industry, ship building or lighting and stage technology, the specialist for plug technology is represented in many industries and adjusts its product portfolio to ever increasing requirements. The power connectors reliably take high-torque drive motors, lead screw drives and servo motors to high speeds and thereby cope effortlessly with even millions of abrupt starting and stopping manoeuvres. Voltages up to 630 V and currents up to 200 A are transmitted reliably even in continuous operation and under the most difficult external conditions.
In the preassembled energy supply systems, almost 100 percent plug connections used are from Intercontec.
The technical experience with the connector solutions from Intercontec are so good in the long term that they have versatile use in the energy chain systems. They are, for example, generally protected against splash water and brief immersions. Thus each unit consisting of connectors and cable harness when plugged in meets the protection class IP 66/67. In automatic assembly of connector and cable, crimping depths and crimping forces are measured automatically. The insertion of the contacts in the insulating body is 100 percent secure. A modular system allows the combination of many components.
Also, the LockTec system displays its strengths in the assembling. It is a perfect combination of housing plus jacket. After the straightforward assembly with the aid of a pneumatic press, both components are indivisible, that is tamper-proof and connected together.
In addition to savings in costs and time, preassembled systems must facilitate installation and maintenance, because machine builders and end users depend on process reliability and simple processing. Lasting, but easy to use plug connections contribute a substantial portion towards the simplification process. The systems SpeedTec and LockTec were developed for this purpose. SpeedTec is a quick release system that reduces connecting time by 50%. For frequent plugging for complex wiring or modular production units: Compared to the screw thread, the machine manufacturer profits from the quick and safe handling of the quick release system. A small rotary motion is enough to ensure a secure connection. "By plugging into the machine, a great deal of time is saved," explains the division manager once again. "That adds up. Expensive labour costs can be noticeably reduced by up to 50 percent. “
An injection moulding machine for the overmoulding of plug connections rounds off the comprehensive harnessing range by igus.
Also, the LockTec system displays its strengths in the assembling. It is a perfect combination of housing plus jacket. After the straightforward assembly with the aid of a pneumatic press, both components are indivisible, that is tamper-proof and connected together. This tamper-proof feature otherwise causes only a more expensive overmoulding.
"If a customer, for instance from the automotive industry, ask for an overmoulded connector, we indeed have an appropriate solution. It completes our product portfolio," says Christian Stremlau. "After all, plastic injection moulding is our daily business. We are also strong in the field of special solutions." This applies, among others, to the ESD sector. "We have shown to the PLC that we are now able to implement connector overmouldings with a special ESD material in the initial applications. “
In the quality assurance division, the functional reliability of each readychain® system is tested with special test equipment before it goes for shipping. Available for this purpose are, among others, five test fields, around 1,800 test adapters and approximately 18,000 test programmes.
One thing is certain, no energy chain system leaves the factory without having been checked thoroughly. "We deliver plug and play solutions that the customer just needs to plug in, then runs his application," says Christian Stremlau. No unnecessary time is wasted between unpacking and plugging. The package is designed in such a way that it facilitates the handling.
"With our solutions, our customers are technically and economically on the safe side. In the quality assurance division, the functional reliability of each readychain® system is tested with special test equipment before it goes for shipping. For this purpose in our five test fields, there are numerous test adapters and approximately 33,000 test programmes," says the division manager. Within one to ten working days, the finished systems can be delivered virtually worldwide. Except in Cologne, energy chain systems are produced worldwide according to the same standards of other 10 readychain sites.
A recently added, specially developed transport and assembly frame in modular design rounds up the range. Here too the focus is on reduced process costs. It consists of modular props, brackets and braces that fit perfectly together. Moreover, they are telescopic, so that they can be adjusted in length. Various latching mechanisms ensure that components can also be mounted subsequently. In collaboration with each customer, a perfectly tailored pre-series system will be assembled on site. Thus, the associated man hours are not only significantly reduced, but the development and construction can be completed in a single day and transferred very quickly into series production.
"We are not an assembler in the usual sense, but a provider of solutions. The customer and his processes are basically our prime focus," says the division manager in conclusion. "The holistic thinking in systems harmonises our everyday assembling. We offer completeness and consistency from the outset. Complete solutions from a single source is our goal. The accumulated skills in overmoulding meets 20 years of experience in the field of assembling. In addition, the cable and development of materials take place in-house, supplemented by the injection moulding expertise and quality assurance. We manufacture with highly efficient state-of-the-art technology and offer no solutions off the shelf. The sum of the individual skills that goes into the components creates an equally high-quality end product. Every customer can be sure of getting a custom-made energy chain system. “