e-spool flex creates order in the cable clutter
pwirth | 29. September 2020
Winding data cables and media hoses on cable drums? Because this does not work without complex and expensive slip ring technology, cables lying on the floor become a fall hazard in many companies. The alternative: the e-spool-flex cable drum with uninterrupted screw guide.
Monday morning in an industrial hall: a technician wants to configure a large machine tool. He pulls the mobile control panel out of the holder on the protective housing and walks around the machine. After work, he hangs the panel back, but leaves the data cable on the floor. A few hours later a colleague stumbles over the cable and breaks his arm. Doesn’t happen? However, a study by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) shows that it does. According to this, 30,442 accidents were caused by “slipping or stumbling with a fall” in 2018. The question arises: why was the cable not wound on a cable drum?
Cable drums are often an investment hurdle
Answer: because cable drums are complex and expensive for cables that transport large amounts of data. This is because conventional slip rings, which supply power to drums rotating against each other between components, quickly reach their limits when transmitting large amounts of data. Furthermore, these cable drums are often only available as a complete package with a new cable. No wonder employees leave cables on the floor, especially during stressful periods. To solve this problem, the product developers at igus set out to find an alternative and cost-effective way of winding up data cables and hoses. And without signal interruption. The result is e-spool flex.
Dispensing with slip ring technology: e-spool flex cable drum reduces costs
To enable a rotational movement that does not interrupt the signal, the cable drum works with a screw guide. Users insert a part of their cable, whose diameter must be between 5 and 15mm, into the guide. The guide can then be inserted into the winding housing of the e-spool flex in a few simple steps, the remaining cable length is wound up on the drum – the cable connector protrudes from the side of the housing. Thanks to this combination, the cable can be wound and unwound without the connector starting to rotate. As no slip ring is necessary, the user can use the e-spool flex for a variety of cables and hoses for the transmission of energy, media and data.
Depending on the budget: manual or automatic solution
And how does the winding work? Here igus offers several possibilities: in the most cost-effective model (low-cost version), a hand winder is used to reel the cable on. In the next expansion stage, the Tool version, this task is performed by a cordless or pneumatic screwdriver. Finally, the automatic solution works with a spring-operated return mechanism. A model with spring drive and brake is also being planned.