Please allow us to vacuum your questions out of your mind

Yes, let’s talk about air, pressure, vacuum and I would like to go back to my previous article: “Vacuum on, vacuum off”.

Again and again I hear the question: I have a pikchain® with for instance 30 suction cups. So, I need also 30 air hoses, right!? But how do I get the 30 hoses in my e-chain® and also in my pikchain®. There is no space for 30 hoses! What can I do?

Basically there are two ways to produce vacuum: Either you produce the vacuum via air pressure and venturi valve or via a vacuum pump which is located outside of the pikchain®

For both cases you may have the question: 30 suction cups = 30 air hoses? The answer is NO!!

You can manage both systems with one single vacuum hose. For that, you need a bus system, an energy supply (cable) (12 to 24 Volt), a couple of slaves and control air valves and/or venturi valves. For detail information, how to install this system and how to run it please call or e-mail me. We love to consult you.

Anyway, you only need one hose together with an intelligent (Bus System) control system. Of course, due to the required vacuum the hoses can be very thick. But even for this problem we have solutions ready for you.

Think about it. The answer is not blowing in the wind!

[forcecaption]pikchain® with many cables/hoses

[forcecaption]pikchain® with 3 cables/hoses

No slippery questions concerning slip rings


One of the important parts of the pikchain® is the slip ring and the rotary union or a combination of both. This part establishes the contact between the c-chain and the let’s say “outside world”

We got a lot of questions concerning this issue. We want publish some answers here:

Does igus® produce slip rings or rotary unions?  No!

Does the delivery package of the pikchain® also contains the slip ring or rotary union? As an option: Yes. igus® recommends buying the part yourself. We will tell you what and where you can buy the best part for you application.

Do rotary unions exist for Air, Water, and Hydraulics? Yes, nearly everything is possible. Most of time it’s only a question of space and price

Can I also transmit data with slip rings? Yes there are Slip Rings for all bus types on the market. We are pleased to consult you.

What about fibre optics? Are there existing also slip rings for this media? Yes, this is also available on the market.

What does a slip ring or a rotary union costs? This question is not possible to answer. Sorry. From a couple of hundred Euro up to several hundred thousands of Euros. It really depends on your application.

Are there combination of Slip Ring and Rotary Unions available? Yes, there are companies which harness your part according to your requirements.

Are there rotary unions on the market which are made for fiber optics? Yes, even for fiber optics.

How do I connect the slip ring to the c-chain? We will design and produce for you the connection.

You don’t find the answer to your questions? Don’t worry. Just call or E-Mail me. I am pleased to find the right answer for you. Christian Strauch +49 2203 96 49 7208.

Vacuum: Turn it on , turn it off!


You have a vacuum conveyor? You produce vacuum conveyors? Well, I am pretty sure that you know that: Either the vacuum power is on for all stations or off for all stations.

What would you say if igus® can offer you components which allow you to produce a vacuum conveyor where all stations can be controlled individually? That would mean: for each single suction cup: Vacuum on, vacuum off, instead of for the whole conveyor. That would be real fantastic, wouldn’t it?

And there are much more benefits.
You save energy
Only a couple of suction cups need their vacuum instead of the whole conveyor.
Less noise

The conveyor needs always only a certain volume of vacuum, never the maximum, or let’s say never all suction cups.
Flexibility: Because of the modular structure of the pikchain® you can change the numbers of suction cups or to add other tools (grippers, cameras, sensors, etc) on the pikchain® without having to perform time consuming conversion work. The same: Extending or shortening of existing pikchain®.
Price: The modular structure allows igus also to offer the pikchain® components to a very reasonable price.

What do you think?


Let me get this straight! Oh no, please don’t!

And again a small detail that make a big difference and improve our pikchain®
The first prototype had a straight cut on the guide bar close to the tensioner wheel. See foto nr. 1. But the links of the pikchain® have a certain mass and this mass has a certain behaviour known as inertia.

What happened? The chainlinks, once out of the guidebar and because of their inertia didn’t follow the path of the tensioner wheel and caused too much noise which rose with the speed of the chain.

Solution: We cut the guidebar not straight but curved to follow the wheel radius. We positioned the bar as close to the tensioner wheel as possible. This keeps the links under control.

Result of this little change: The pikchain beomes smoother!


Interface: c-chain/pikchain®

There is a section of the pikchain®, where cables and hoses coming from the energy chain must be diverted to the inner of the conveyor chain. As long as the cables and hoses have no big outer diameters everything is ok, and to prevent additional wear between the cables and hoses you can add protection hoses. See picture.

But in the case that you have really thick pneumatic hoses you will have a problem diverting the hoses from the energy chain to the conveyor chain because of the acceptable bending radius. It will be too big for the chain.
Specifically for this problem igus® have created a special link. This link consists of a channel, through which the air finds its way from one hose to the other (marked red). Result: No bending radius, no wear, no additional and the lifetime goes up.