Lapp’s custom cables used in painting robot systems

28th April 2009
ES Admin
As the manufacturer behind powerful international cable brands such as ÖLFLEX flexible control cables, EPIC industrial connectors and SKINTOP cable glands, the Lapp Group has solutions for almost every application, from mechanical engineering, automation, and robotics, to building services and data transmission. In addition to a comprehensive range of standard products, Lapp will work with a customer to develop cabling products that exactly match the requirements of their application. Here, Lapp’s Matt Ansell describes cables that Lapp has developed specifically for the Stuttgart based Dürr Group’s industry leading paint systems.
“I am sure that you have often seen robots “at work”. They are constantly moving. They twist and turn and they get on with things without complaining regardless of whether it is hot or cold or if they are exposed to water or chemicals.” Says Matt Ansell.

“There is no doubt that a robot needs to be able to stand up to rough treatment. The same goes for the cables used in them. Particularly in the automotive industry, robots are now an indispensable part of production lines.” He adds.

As automation advances, the demand for perfectly adapted robot cables is constantly increasing. That is why, in addition to its well-known standard ÖLFLEX ROBOT cables, Lapp Group also supplies special robot cables developed for individual requirements and applications.

For the industry-leading paint system manufacturer Dürr from Stuttgart, Lapp Group has developed special robot cables for wiring the painting robots. This involved performing the required torsion and bending tests in Lapp’s in-house test laboratory, in close consultation with the customer. To guarantee 100% functionality, even customer-specific test adapters were produced and used.

Dürr’s painting systems use cables that can withstand extremely high bending and torsion cycles (+/- 600 degrees per metre /10 million cycles) and are both flame retardant and oil resistant. The conductors are made of ultra fine copper braids with high quality TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) compound insulation. Teflon films keep the friction between the different elements to an absolute minimum. The special cables also employ special stranding techniques and use high quality polyurethane for the outer sheath.

In the case of the Dürr painting systems, there are nine different special robot cables, from BUS lines to sensor leads to servo-motor and feedback cables.

The particular challenge and complexity of custom designed robot cables lies in the fact that a tailored solution has to be developed for every application. The research and development team at Lapp Group has state of the art laboratories and testing facilities. All robot cables are developed in close consultation with the customer and all requirements in terms of cross-sections, movement and the surrounding location are incorporated into the development process.

A prototype cable is normally developed first and then tested in every detail. In the case of Dürr, the first prototypes were produced in just three weeks. After a successful trial period of several weeks, the cables were approved for series production.

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