How one can Tidy the Mess with Good Robotic Cable Administration
7 mins read

How one can Tidy the Mess with Good Robotic Cable Administration

You do not wish to break your robotic cables resulting from dangerous routing, proper? Robotic cable administration can appear complicated as a result of robots can transfer in so some ways. However with the fitting method, your cables can final for years.

Good cable administration is significant if you end up working with robots.

You may think that the worst scenario is when a cable is routed so badly that the robotic rips it aside. Nonetheless, there are extra problematic eventualities, resembling when the cable is broken imperceptibly and it causes the robotic to behave unusually.

In contrast to with different sorts of cable routing, robotic cabling issues are onerous to repair on the fly. As a result of robots are autonomous, the robotic might break a cable earlier than you even have time to understand or react.

The answer? That you must be proactive along with your robotic cable administration.

Robotic engineer ensuring a right cable management on a cobot

Why robotic cable safety is so necessary

You possibly can consider cables as being a bit like your robotic’s “lifelines.”

If these lifelines are working correctly, the robotic will probably be “wholesome” and performance as supposed. If they’re broken, the robotic is compromised and there is a hazard it might begin to transfer erratically. This could make it a legal responsibility, both to itself and different tools or to human employees.

There are 3 most important sorts of cable you can see on a robotic:

  1. Energy cables — For electrical robots, these present electrical energy to energy the robotic and its instrument.
  2. Communication cables — These carry communication alerts to the robotic and power, as both digital or analog alerts.
  3. Pipes — Some instruments require additional gas to function. For instance, Robotiq’s EPick and AirPick vacuum grippers use pneumatics in order that they require pneumatic pipes. Different instruments may require pipes for hydraulics, gasoline, or one other fluid.

If any of those cables is compromised, it should seemingly influence your manufacturing. You will have to cease the robotic, take a look at it to determine the issue, and restore the injury. This takes worthwhile time.

As David Rochette, technical coach at Robotiq, explains in our cable administration course:

“Relying in your finish of arm tooling, you possibly can have a number of varieties and configurations of cables going to the robotic’s wrist. Set up of those cables is essential.

“You must be capable of run your robotic for manufacturing functions and ensure to not expertise any downtime brought on by injury or undesirable breakage of cables.”

Cable management on a Universal Robot in a palletizing application

6 widespread failures that may happen in a robotic cable chain

Based on IGUS, one of many world’s main producers of robotic cabling options, there are 6 widespread causes of cable failure.

These 6 failures are:

  1. Lack of continuity — {The electrical} continuity of the cable is compromised. David explains that these defects often happen over time, resulting from an accumulation of small misuses. They are often onerous to troubleshoot as the consequences are sometimes intermittent.
  2. Insulation injury — {The electrical} insulation round every cable is broken, which might result in short-circuiting between two or extra wires.
  3. Corkscrewing — The complete cable is twisted and deformed. This kind of failure impacts cables constructed in layers greater than bundled cables.
  4. Jacket abrasion — The outer jacket of the cable wears via to the underlying cables or shielding. This may scale back the cable’s resistance to each environmental elements (resembling mud or oil) and electrical interference.
  5. Jacket swelling/cracking — When the cable is uncovered to the incorrect oils, chemical compounds, or temperatures the jacket can swell and crack, lowering the protecting properties of the jacket and probably damaging the wires
  6. Shielding losses/EMI — When {the electrical} shielding of a cable is compromised, it may possibly result in Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) which might degrade the efficiency of the cable.

What results do these failures have on the operation of your robotic?

It varies. Typically, there will probably be no noticeable impact for a very long time because the continuity of the cable is preserved. Nonetheless, working with broken cables is a ticking time bomb. In some unspecified time in the future, the cable will fail.

Everytime you discover {that a} cable has failed, it’s best to exchange or restore the cable and be certain that the identical failure can’t occur once more.

The most typical mistake when routing robotic cable

There are a number of greatest practices when routing cable up the arm of a robotic.

David describes how the commonest mistake that we see folks making when routing cables to Robotiq instrument is after they use commonplace plastic cable ties:

“You may wish to have the cables tied up all the best way from the robotic’s wrist to the controller in order that they do not get in the best way and the robotic can nonetheless attain all attainable positions with out damaging them.

“The most typical mistake when utilizing cable ties is to tighten them too onerous. This may trigger inner injury to the cable or its jacket even in the event you do not see it.”

Though cable ties are a quite common approach to repair cables to a robotic arm, David explains that they aren’t the really helpful answer.

He says:

“Velcro ties are a greater various as they’re much less aggressive to the cable. Utilizing cable clip holders can also be an acceptable various.

“When you actually have to make use of plastic cable ties, interlacing two of them — one across the arm and the opposite across the cable — is a safer possibility for the cable.”

Try our free course on robotic cable administration

Do you wish to study extra sensible tips about how one can route your robotic cable extra effectively?

David Rochette has an entire free course on robotic cable administration over on the Robotiq eLearning platform.

The course consists of classes together with:

  1. A very powerful elements of a robotic cable.
  2. An in depth view of the 6 widespread failure modes of a cable.
  3. How to decide on the fitting answer in your wants.
  4. An summary of particular Robotiq cables.
  5. Sensible suggestions for a clear set up

You will get prompt entry to David’s course over on the eLearning platform.

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