Traditional heavy-duty cable and hose carriers frequently move long distances at high speed. However, due to the weight of the carrier, cables, and water-filled hoses, the components can sag as the carrier doubles back on itself during travel. This problem can cause wear and create objectionable noise that interferes with the host machine’s manufacturing process.
Fortunately, the GORTRAC Div. of A&A Manufacturing solved this problem with a Nylatrac carrier design called the Marathon Long Travel System. It handles the machine’s lengthy travel and fast speed without sag or excessive noise. The machine was designed and manufactured by Matec Instrument Companies, Inc., that builds controlled ultrasonic C-Scan imaging gentry-scanners.
Twin gantry towers on this Matec ultrasonic testing machine travel along 50-ft ways to inspect helicopter blades. Gortite accordion-type covers protect
A helicopter blade inspection system is one such scanner that uses two ultrasonic testing (UT) heads, each mounted on a gantry tower that travels along 50-ft ways. The blade mounts on a fixture between them, and a dual gimbaled array of UT heads follow the profile of the blade’s pitch accurately as the gantry travels its length.
The multiple cables that provide power, control, and relay inspection data must be managed reliably, as well as a ¾-in. hose that supplies the water to the UT heads. A cable and hose carrier keeps the various lines separated and provides a gentle rolling motion that minimizes cable fatigue and wear. The gantry tower travels at speeds of up to 30-in./s, which makes the task of moving the cables smoothly and efficiently more difficult.
Unlike traditional systems where the carrier glides upon itself, the Marathon uses a retractable roller system that rides on a simple rail system. The carrier uses a polygonal design, in which the rollers rise form the guide rail and move inward as the links pass through the radius. On the return travel, the roller sets move back out and travel on the rail, providing rolling support through the complete travel distance.
Nylatrac cable carrier provides gentle rolling motion to protect cables as gantry towers travel along the ways.
Installation of the cables and hose in the carrier is claimed to be easy. Unlike many carrier designs in which the cables must be pulled from one end to the other, the sections of the Nylatrac carrier open so the cables are easy to place inside. From a repair or maintenance standpoint, only damaged sections need to be replaced.
An additional benefit of the Marathon design is a reduction of tow force – as much as 90% — that can contribute to increased machine efficiency. The carrier links have no gliding friction. To protect the 50-ft long ways on both sides of the machine, A&A Manufacturing also provided four heat-seated Gortite way protectors. The covers incorporate external tie strips to ensure that the convolutions open evenly and internal stiffeners spaced throughout the length to maintain its shape.
:Update June 11, 2018 A&A MFG name to Dynatect:
Filed Under: Factory automation, Cables + cable management, Linear motion • slides, Mechanical, Motion control • motor controls