Drives and Controls Magazine

Levitating energy chain stays quiet

01 September, 2006

Levitating energy chain stays quiet

More details have emerged about the world`s first magnetically levitated energy chain, which igus unveiled at the Hannover Fair earlier this year. The LeviChain which "floats" on a magnetic field over distances of up to 40m, is almost silent in operation, and exhibits little wear.

The upper run of the chain always floats, without touching any other object, while the lower run can be guided magnetically or mechanically. The normal sliding friction and wear are eliminated, and there is no un-reeling or gliding noise. The noise level at a distance of 1m is said to be 41.7dB(A).

At a constant speed, the driving force required for the floating chain is independent of the load it is carrying, so even a small initial force can achieve a high rate of acceleration. The chain can carry an extra load of 4kg/m.

The magnets have a centring effect so the chain stays in a linear position, regardless of how quickly it accelerates or decelerates. The upper and lower runs can move independently at high speeds, with bending radii from 45-100mm.

The LeviChain is available now in three widths up to 75mm. igus expects it to be used in clean rooms, medical engineering, robots, automotive paint plants, and linear motor systems, among others.