Electricity + Control

In the course of its test laboratory expansion, the cable manufacturer and motion plastics specialist igus has set up another 40-foot container to carry out cable tests at extreme temperatures under real conditions. As a result, igus is the only cable manufacturer capable of providing guaranteed temperature ratings for fixed cables, moving cables, and also for cables in energy chains.

Cable test area for extreme temperaturesContinuous movements alone are a challenge for cables, but how do cables behave at extreme temperatures of -40°C or +60°C? There are indeed international standards for moving cables on the market, but they do not provide reliable information about the service life of moving cables at low or high temperatures in use in energy chains. For this reason, the cable expert igus has been testing its cables in continuous motion for a period of over ten years in these conditions and has now set up another test rig. "As part of our test lab extension to 2,750 square metres, we have now purchased a second 40-foot container and will run only heat tests in one, and cold tests in the other," explains Rainer Rössel, head of the chainflex division at igus. "This separation gives us even more precise test results and can thus guarantee even more reliable statements about our cables." Energy chains with cables can be moved in both containers in different lengths (also gliding) and speeds.

Guaranteed service life statements for extreme temperatures

Due to the large number of tests under real conditions, igus is the only supplier on the market to be able to make three statements on the appropriate bending radius and the permissible temperature for every cable in its chainflex catalogue. "We not only provide the information on the specific temperatures in which a cable is suitable for fixed installation as well as for the movement according to the standard cold winding test, we can also specify for each chainflex cable a temperature in which the cable can move with guaranteed reliability in an e-chain.

The varying temperatures in applications under these conditions are as different as the problems that can arise: In the case of cold tests, jacket ruptures are the biggest challenges. In the case of excessive heat, however, there is the risk that the total core formation will no longer hold due to the thermal alteration of the outer jacket and ultimately fails because of the constant bending in the energy chain. As a result, for example, single strand breakage or the so-called 'corkscrew' effect can occur. By doubling the test capacities in the second container, the limits can now be simulated better by igus and, for example, problems with condensation water caused by rapid temperature changes can be prevented in the test rigs.

Enquiries: Ian Hewat. Email ihewat@igus.de

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