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Modern robotic cable management

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article image Cable management is an important part of a well-functioning robot

Cable management is an important part of a well-functioning robot.

Keeping cables static while everything around the system operates dynamically can result in restrictions that may cause failure. Using one long restrictive cable package prevents movement in sync with the robot. 

Restrictions stress cables, and accelerate failure. Technicians often severely bind cables with excessive dress packs (protective coverings on cables and hose), cable ties, and even duct tape with an aim to minimise tangling and interference with the machine; however these techniques actually cause corkscrewing and failure. 

Engineers need to consider a six-axis robot as three separate segments: the sixth to third axis; the third to second axis; and the second to first axis. This breakdown is imperative to longer-lasting cables. Each cable segment should feature a minimal dress pack, strain relief with service loops, and a junction box that contains and protects the electrical connectors joining the cables.

Treotham recommends the following for best results:

For longer-lasting cables, a six-axis robot needs to be seen as three separate segments: the sixth to third axis; the third to second axis; and the second to first axis. 

Each cable segment should feature a dress pack, strain relief with service loops, and a junction box that protects the electrical connectors joining the cables.

From the sixth to third axis, use strain-relief cables on the moving end (sixth axis) with a 30-60 cm service loop; protect cables and hoses with a modular, multi-axis cable carrier; and segment cables at the third axis and install a junction box for quick diagnostics and cable replacement.

From the third to second axis, use strain relief cables on the third axis with a 1-2’ service loop; use a modular, multi-axis cable carrier; and segment cables and install a junction box at the second axis.

From second to first axis, strain-relief cables on the second axis with a 1-2’ service loop; install a multi-axis, reverse-bend cable carrier to protect and guide cables and hoses rotating around the robot; and segment cables and install a junction box at the first axis.

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