welding robots survive punishment with customized cables
Surviving in harsh industrial environments,
durable high-flex welding cables need to withstand punishments form
severe mechanical stress, ranging from millions of bending cycles to
continuous twisting and stretching. Often, they perform under extremely
crammed conditions and, in many applications, hot welding splatter adds
to the list of tortures. To cope, manufacturers and users of welding
equipment are increasingly using customized cables.
For more than two years, Windsor, ON-based
Centerline, a full-line manufacturer of resistance welding equipment, has
specified hybrid cable made by elocab of Kitchener,
ON, for its portable Voltza transguns.
Thanks to its
patented air-over-oil OHMA cylinder, Centerline's transguns
produce low impact high-precision weld force. Constant pressure
translates into no expulsion and superior part quality - two key factors
for Centerline's growing success in NAFTA and European spot welding
applications covering automotive, mass transit, appliances and aerospace.
hybrid cables are a key component of any gun designed and built by
Centerline. Like an umbilical cord, they provide all essentials for
proper welding. "Major headaches were created by umbilicals
used on our portable guns," said Tony D'Andrea,
Centerline's service manager. While movements in precise robotic
applications are, more or less, programmable, cables on manually-operated
transguns take extra punishment by extreme
stretching and twisting. "These unplanned movements resulted in
constant cable problems caused by weak outer jackets and/or conductors
breaking," said D'Andrea. "When
dealing with customers in places like Alabama, Mexico or even Europe, it
becomes annoying and frustrating."
The remedy for Centerline was a hybrid round
cable containing 3 AWG 4 conductors for welding power and full ground
protection and additional wires for internal thermo
detection to sense overheating and extra ground safety. These components
were transformed into an evenly-balanced round cable that includes
special tapes, unique EMI shielding and extremely high-stranded copper
"With thousands of strands for each
conductor, we provided Centerline with the most flexible solution,"
noted elocab's senior
manager Rod Barber. For special protection against
mechanical and thermal stress, the blue welding cable is covered with a
specially-composed PUR jacket.
The Canadian cablemaker
can design, build and deliver tailor-made welding cables in 3 to 5 weeks.
Starting at 300 ft, elocab's line of
welding cables includes control cables built with 3 to 65 conductors, as
well as high-performance power cables with cross-sections ranging from 3
X AWG 6 to AWG 4 and AWG 2 - and even higher.
Despite its complex ingredients, elocab's Centerline cable with an OD of 26.3
mm was 20% slimmer than conventional cabling and easily outlasted 2 to 3
times all versions from other suppliers, according to Centerline's Tony D'Andrea.