Nexans presents performance solutions and active networks components for the industry
AUTOMATICA 2006 in Munich 16 - 19 May, HallB2, Stand 218
Classifications simplify selection of towable cables
Towability classes, as Nexans calls them, simplify the selection of flexible and towable cables that are used in machine tools, robots and conveyors. "Customers are often not sure which cable best suits their needs," says Lothar Igl, Product Manager at Nexans Nuremberg. "Not only do vibrations, aggressive media or extreme temperatures need to be given consideration when selecting a suitable cable, but also in particular the dynamic load and the number of bending cycles targeted." Nexans thus subdivided the dynamic character profile of their cables and labeled these classes as SFK 1 through SFK 7. These towability classes reflect parameters such as the greatest travel, potential acceleration, maximum speed of movement and bending radius (see Figure 1). Cables starting with SFK 4 generally complete five million bending cycles and more without failure. "Still, it is often worthwhile to use a cable of the next higher class," Igl advises. "The next higher class cable costs approximately twenty-five percent more, but offers twice as much security and a considerably longer service life." A margin also exists when not all dynamic characteristics are used to their limits at the same time. Thus for larger bending radiuses, for example, acceleration or travel speed can be increased without negatively affecting the service life. The Nexans team would be happy to inform trade fair visitors about experiences gained both from in-house tests and customer applications.
3D Power: High tech robot cables in development
Currently, Nexans is developing cables for extreme strains in robot applications with torsion stresses from +/- 180° to +/- 540° to the motto "3D Power". These cables tailored specially to use in robots will appear in a new category that is currently in preparation. These TFK (torsion capability classes) include cables that are designed for fast, short movements and high torsion stress.
Nexans Research Center: Tests harder than reality
The Nexans Research Center serves as a test centre during development and testing of high performance cables. Here, bending and stretching, bowing and twisting can all be simulated under realistic conditions. In this process, the electrical values of the cables are measured during operation in order to enable diagnosis of breakages in individual strands inline. Only recently, the AAC (Automation Application Center) was expanded to include inspection of cables in mobile cable handlers. The new station is 13 m long, can accelerate cables at a up to 5 m/s² and accomplishes a maximum travel speed of 5 m/s. Cables in sheet metal processing machines, for example, as used in car body processing, have to withstand this type of stress. Although it may not sound impressive in numbers, it receives new meaning when trying to lift it: A strong man has trouble lifting the ends of the chain cable being tested, as weights of umpteen kilos per meter are no rarity.
Nexans Product Manager Pajo Tumbas sees the operation of the Nexans Research Center as a trust-building measure, because "we can not only calculate how much strain our cables can handle, we can actually reconstruct it." This is also true for cables that Nexan specially developed for three-dimensional movements in industrial robots, which are tested in close proximity to reality in complete tube packets. "Thanks to the AAC, we can examine, test and improve everything from the cable material to the stranding to the shielding, and also test cables on customer order" (see also Figure 2).
Industrial Ethernet captures the railway
Nexans' exhibits also include industrial Ethernet cables that are tailored to the needs of the railway. "Ethernet is increasingly crowding out railway bus standards such as MVB and UIC," explains Jürgen Daut, Nexans Global Product Manager. In contrast to stationary applications, cables suitable for traffic applications have to meet additional requirements such as better flame resistance, low toxicity, low smoke development in case of fire and an extended temperature range. Nexans offers corresponding Ethernet cables – type designation: RAILNET – also in the so-called star quad setup. In this four-stranded cable, each of the two facing cables form a pair, resulting in an almost circular cross-section. This arrangement corresponds to the pin assignment of the M12 connector, which is used frequently in mechanical engineering and is particularly robust. This simplifies manufacture and has a positive effect on load capacity (tensile stress).
Safety a top priority in active components
The broad scope of industrial Ethernet solutions is rounded off not least of all by active network components developed and produced in Mönchengladbach. Examples include switches suited for industrial use (Figure 3) that meet exceptional requirements. Devices of the iSwitch 7xx series, for example, are not only equipped with seven data ports and the option to interface with either copper cable or optical waveguides in uplink, they also support Power over Ethernet (PoE). For suitable terminal devices, such as Voice over IP telephones or wireless access points, plug power supplies are thus unnecessary. The switches themselves can have redundant power supplies in order to avoid power outages, or draw their energy from twisted pair data lines. The configuration of the iSwitch 7xx top series is simple, because the devices have a card slot for SD cards. The configuration can be saved on these and transferred to other devices or – in the event of failures – to the new switch.
Industrial WLAN solutions: Wireless communication with doubled reliability
Fail-safety is also a top priority for WLAN access points such as the iWLAN-40-2. Here, for example, two integrated wireless LAN modules ensure reliable connection of industrial trucks, railway test cars or other mobile facilities. They work with data through-put of up to 108 Mbit/s at frequencies of 2.4 and 5 GHz. The 5 GHz band (with a maximum of 19 channels) often allows for less failure prone transfer in the industrial environment. the devices can be connected to the network as access points, bridges, routers or clients.
These and many other Nexans products can be seen from 16 through 19 May at AUTOMATICA 2006 in Munich. Nexans will be exhibiting in Hall B2, Stand 218. At the stand, fair visitors can also become acquainted with the exhibits of Cabloswiss, a subsidiary of the Nexans Group, which is specialised in the production of robotics, welding and mobile cable handler cables for industrial applications.