Bus failure due to cable break paralyses own production

Andreas Muckes | 9. July 2019

It is as clear as daylight that the energy chain is the umbilical cord of the machine and that the cables in it are to be regarded as neural pathways. For this reason, it is very important to choose a cable quality that will permanently meet the requirements of motion. We have preached this for years and have also developed our service life calculator.

Now we are beaten with our own weapons – very bitter, but instructive!

A defective cable creates loss of production for hours, dissatisfied customers and immense costs

The story started several months ago when we got a fully automated warehouse to store and supply from stock our rails for the drylin linear guides. This large investment was made because our linear bearings are doing a great job in the market and therefore fast, smooth production is fundamental.

Hanging energy chain in the lifting movement

In our automated warehouse, energy chains are installed in the X, Y and Z paths. Of course, how could it be otherwise, the energy chains from igus. Unfortunately, chainflex cables were not installed in the system. Neither the manufacturer nor igus paid attention to this detail.

It happened as it was inevitable and in the stroke movement, core ruptures occurred in the Profibus cable. Brief failures and ultimately a shutdown for more than one day was the result. A Profibus cable completely crippled the sales of a complete business sector.

Small component generates huge downtime costs in case of failure

After the fault was found, the defective cable was replaced by own cables for a value of less than EUR 100 and the system could be back in operation immediately. After inspecting all the energy chains in the plant, it became apparent that other cables also needed attention. These have all been replaced now.

Findings: The long-lasting cable is essential to save costs!

From the point of view of production, that is to say, of the victim, we need to say:

“We were not sensitive enough to focus on the topic of cable. The awareness of the right quality selection, installation and project planning wasn’t there as it should have been.“

From the perspective of sales, we could now say:

“It was disastrous that this happened to us now. We explain to our customers every day how important the right choice of cable is. “

Ultimately, we now learn firsthand how important tested cables are with a guaranteed service life of 36 months.

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