Rotation in a machine tool - igus Blog

Rotation in a machine tool

Lars Butenschön | 20. May 2020

Lathes, spindles and machine tools nearly always involve some form of rotation. The guidance of electric cables and hydraulic and pneumatic hoses is usually a difficult challenge.

Even though an individual solution is needed for each machine, a variation of the following six possibilities is usually involved:

  • 1. Coiling of an e-chain
  • 2. Coiling of an e-chain with reverse bend radius
  • 3. RBR rotating energy supply system
  • 4. twisterband HD
  • 5. triflex 3D chain
  • 6. Free twistable cables

1. Coiling of an e-chain

This is the simplest variation. A normal energy chain is coiled around the axis of rotation. If there is enough space, a rotation of nearly 360° is possible. This is used in swivelling tables, among other things.

2. Coiling of an e-chain with reverse bend radius

The functioning principle on the axis of rotation is identical. However, the reverse bend radius makes it possible to guide the chain into a free area of the machine. This variation is very popular, especially if movement in space is to take place along with the rotation. Often encountered for the supply of energy to grinding spindles.

3. RBR reverse bend radius energy supply system 

This system takes up a lot of space but works very reliably in highly dynamic applications. The e-chain is guided reliably during the entire rotation. In addition, a rotation angle of up to 540° can be made possible in one position. This system is used in automatic multi-spindle lathes, for example. (click here)

4. twisterband HD

The twisterband system has proved itself over a long period of time. With the latest HD version, however, it offers sufficient space for the reliable guidance of servo cables as well. Thanks to a diameter of only 500mm, rotation angles of up to 900° are achieved. (click here)

5. triflex 3D chain

This chain has proven itself as a high-end solution for robots. The triflex solution opens up new possibilities, especially in the case of complex movements involving rotation. It can move in space with a defined radius and is inherently twistable. This variant is especially helpful if the grinding spindle is supplied with power from above. (click here)

6. Free twistable cables

If there is no space or the rotation takes place at the end of a feed-through, free cable laying can also be an option. Hoses can be passed through simple rotary unions. CFROBOT cables can be safely twisted ±180° per metre or, in the case of the new CFROBOT Plus, even ±360° per metre. This variant is of interest for large Gentry machines, for example. (click here)

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