Robotic cable management best practices

Robotic cable management is a fundamental part of robotic efficiency and poor planning can lead to severe problems for users.

11/04/2017


Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaRobotic cable management, particularly for robotic welding, is a fundamental part of robotic efficiency, but it's often overlooked or saved for the last part of the design process. When it comes to typical six-axis robots, there are several special considerations that need to take place to ensure proper robotic cable management. But why is robotic cable management important? How can you ensure you choose the best robotic cable management solution?

The importance of robotic cable management

Poor robotic cable management can lead to a number of problems. The most obvious and most severe problem is when a poorly designed cable system restricts the motion of a robotic arm. Robots are becoming more and more flexible and cable design needs to take this into account by preparing cables for the entire range of motion of the robot, not just application specific motions. Otherwise, you may end up with a cable that restricts the motion, and thus the flexibility and efficiency, of the robotic arm.

Tightly binding cables with excessive dress packs or cable ties also creates problems like corkscrewing. Any stress on robotic cables accelerates their lifetime and increases the chance of failure, which leads to unproductive and unscheduled downtime.

Best practices in robotic cable management

There are a number of things you can do to optimize robotic cable management. One of the most important ones is to consider six-axis robots in three different segments: the sixth axis to the third axis, the third axis to the second axis, and the second axis to the first axis. This allows maximum control over cable design and can reduce the amount of cable management equipment needed.

A robotic cable carrier system can also be of great use for robotic cable management. Robotic cable carriers have spring-loaded designs to minimize catch and pinch points. Once cables exceed their service life, which all cables eventually do, you can replace them without dismantling the entire system, as opposed to fully enclosed dress packs.

For good robotic cable management, you'll also want to make sure all cables are in one continuous path with no pinching or loose cables around any of the axes. It's also helpful to have the option to fully enclose cables to protect them from harsh environments, although permanently enclosed systems have their drawbacks.

Proper robotic cable management can be achieved many different ways, depending on the needs of your specific application. However, the few tips mentioned above are some of the best ways to ensure your robotic cables aren't hindering robotic performance.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
February 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Jan/Feb 2018
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards
December 2017
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me