Robot cables are specialized products that are uniquely designed to be used for the moving parts of robots and their internal components. Robots themselves are capable of performing highly precise and exceedingly accurate repetitive motions, without tiring or getting sick. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, robotics manufacturers may face an unprecedented demand for their products in the coming years.
Those who choose to use Oki Electric Cable for their robot cable needs will be able to achieve significantly higher performance over those who choose conventional alternatives. In this article, you’ll see how the incorporation of our ORP Cable Series and its many variations into your manufacturing process will lead to products that are robust, durable, and highly resistant to mechanical stress—all without sacrificing speed, flexibility, or accuracy.
Robotics in the Era of COVID-19
Before the year 2020, automation was already on the rise, as scores of organizations around the world sought to take advantage of the benefits it offered. Unlike humans, robots neither tire nor grow sick. Should they break, they and their parts can (for the most part) be easily replaced. As long as they’re programmed correctly, they’re capable of performing orders of magnitude more operations per second than their human counterparts, with a level of precision and accuracy that’s envied by even the most diligent of human workers. It’s for reasons like these that the global robotics market continues to grow, as businesses seek to introduce a measure of robustness to certain parts of their business lifecycle.
However, the COVID-19 crisis in particular may present a situation that leaves many robotics manufacturers unprepared. Countries across the globe have seen months of quarantine and mandatory lockdown, layoffs and furloughed workers, as well as health and safety mandates that make it extremely difficult if not impossible for human laborers in some industries to perform their general job functions.
In areas where robotic machinery can be used to supplement the loss of human labor, scores of organizations will be turning to this as a solution. As one commentator puts it, “any… recession is likely to bring about a spike in labor-replacing automation.” As another predicts, we could see the global market share for industrial robotics surpass $24 billion USD by the year 2025.
Robotics manufacturers must therefore be ready to take on the charge. In particular, they’ll need to pay special attention to the robot cables that are chosen for each piece of machinery. Like the muscles that cling to the skeletal frame and move the human body, so are the robot cables that wind themselves throughout the various parts of robotic machinery. As the limbs and extremities bend and twist every which way to offer motion to the body, so must the robot cables allow a robot to deliver a wide range of flexible motion.
Similarly, just as the muscles when not exercised properly can rip and tear under immense amounts of physical stress, robot cables that haven’t been manufactured properly will succumb to the various loads of chemical and mechanical stress that the nature of their work calls for. However, those that have been manufactured with the highest quality in mind will showcase incredible feats of power, resistance, and endurance.
It is for these reasons that those looking for the optimal solution to their robot cable needs should look no further than the ORP Cable Series. This cable series and its many variations (ORP Slim, ORP-D, and ORP-TW, to name a few) have been specially designed for use with robotic machinery. They can be found in use anywhere from automobile machinery lines to medical imaging devices and more. In this article, you’ll take a closer look at the ORP Series of robot cables to see how they can be used to strengthen and edify robotic machinery in a wide variety of applications.
ORP Cable Series
Robot cables are widely used for the wiring of moving parts, and they must be manufactured with one goal in mind: a delicate balance between flexibility and durability. Since 2009, Oki Electric Cable’s ORP Cable Series has offered excellent durability of movement while maintaining enough flexibility to be suitable for the wiring of moving parts in robots and other industrial machinery. This product series uses our proprietary synthetic resin, with its high level of flame- and abrasion-resistance, to withstand all kinds of motion—bending, sliding, twisting, meandering, and more—all while offering superior cost performance.
The ORP Series of robot cables is a popular generic product that’s had great success with a wide variety of customers, and its variations (ORP Slim, ORP-D, and ORP-TW) offer even more value to highly specialized segments of the robotic and industrial equipment manufacturing market. Let’s take a closer look at a few different applications to see how the ORP Series of robot cables can help manufacturers achieve that delicate balance between durability and flexibility.
Medical Imaging Device Manufacturers
When it comes to medical imaging devices, it is absolutely crucial for robot cables to have high flexibility, as well as excellent bending performance. For example, C-arm X-ray machines require only the most reliable robot cables in order to meet safety and quality assurance regulations. However, new advancements in medical imaging technology continue to underscore the need for both flexible and durable robot cable solutions. More and more medical practitioners are looking to a future where image-guided robotic interventions are used to perform minimally invasive surgeries.
The robot cables that are used to propel these imaging devices must perform at the highest possible level to ensure that medical professionals can make accurate diagnoses and provide the best of care to their patients. They’ll need to be able to endure bending stress, torsional stress, and millions of alternating bending cycles.
Our ORP Cable Series was specially designed to endure over 100 million sliding and bending cycles, as well as 20 million twisting cycles. This helps to prevent cable body meandering, which is often seen with conventional robot cables and can lead to breakage and wire damage as a result of movement.
Moreover, our ORP Cable Series has been tested with over 20 million swinging and bending cycles, as well as over 20 million torsion cycles—all without failure! This gives manufacturers of medical imaging devices that extra reliability they need to ensure their devices are performing at the highest possible standards.
Dental Equipment Manufacturers
For many patients, a visit to the dentist’s office can be a harrowing experience. Even a standard check-up examination can strike fear into the hearts of many. Medical professionals must do all they can to ensure their patients’ comfort. Providing ergonomic operating chairs, seamless intraoral and panoramic X-ray machines, and state-of-the-art operatory lighting equipment can go a long way to offering patients some peace of mind.
Dental equipment consists of many moving parts, and these require robot cables that are not only flexible enough to withstand the physical demands, but also dynamic enough to be used in a wide variety of ways. Oki Electric Cable’s ORP Cable Series features a unique, proprietary elastomer—a synthetic resin with high levels of resistance—that’s used to insulate the core wire. This allows for more flexibility and easier routing. To accommodate a range of robotic movement, these robot cables are available in several different types, including sliding, swinging, and twisting.
Thanks to its excellent flexibility and capacity for performing a variety of movements, our ORP Cable Series is commonly used in dental equipment like the machinery mentioned above. Moreover, because our robot cables are available in a wide range of types, they can be made to fit the specific needs of the application (for example, dental operating chairs vs. operatory swinging arms).
Industry 4.0 Technologies
At the time of this writing, Technavio’s latest market research report forecasts a nearly $2 billion USD growth in the chip mounter market for 2020-2024. According to the report, manufacturers are increasingly using automation—such as assembly line pick-and-place machines—to ensure they produce the highest quality products in the shortest amount of time possible.
Technavio notes that use of such Industry 4.0 technology is already on the rise, and this trend can only be expected to continue in the COVID-19 era. As such Industry 4.0 technologies continue to become lighter, smaller, and more sophisticated, demand in turn increases for robot cables with a lighter weight and smaller diameter. In other words, manufacturers are looking to robot cables that can support more complex and high-speed moving parts.
To answer such market needs, Oki Electric Cable has developed the ORP Slim Cable Series. This series of robot cables has achieved a reduction in weight as well as a 20% reduction in diameter, compared to conventional alternatives. This is the result of our engineers’ hard work in reviewing the core wire architecture and materials used. These robot cables retain the excellent bending performance provided by the strong, proprietary, non-fluorine resin insulator, and they carry with them the proven track record of the generic ORP Cable Series.
These robot cables are specifically engineered to have excellent flexibility in order to keep up with the physical demands of Industry 4.0 technologies. They support high-speed movements in the confined spaces of compact industrial equipment, and they’re suitable for the internal wiring of the moving parts of semiconductor production equipment, chip mounters, and more.
Industrial Power Supply Manufacturers
The modern world runs on electricity. From the college student studying by lamplight to the round-the-clock industrial-scale warehouse in the big city, our daily lives depend on the efficient routing of electricity from one location to another. Due to the inherent dangers of working with electricity, manufacturers must be sure that their chosen robot cable solution is of the highest quality and meets (if not exceeds) the required specifications. Failure to do so could risk costly system malfunctions, time-consuming lapses in system performance, or even an irreversible loss of human life.
Oki Electric Cable offers a variation on the ORP Cable Series for exactly these purposes. The ORP-D Series of robot cables are specially designed for use in power sources. This series of robot cables features an optimized design structure that supports a 600V rating while achieving a 10% reduction in outer diameter, thereby offering an outer diameter rating that’s equivalent to cables with a rated voltage of 300V.
This optimized design has improved cable maneuverability while reducing the cable footprint in high-voltage devices with a 600V rating, contributing to the further miniaturization of such devices. In sum, the ORP-D robot cables can be used directly in devices with a voltage rating of 300V, and they’re an optimal solution for small devices with limited mounting space and troublesome wiring.
Moreover, the ORP-D Cable Series uses our tough elastomer insulating material and inherits the excellent movability and affordability of the generic ORP Cable Series. This has enabled support for the wiring of various moving robotic parts, as well as the sliding of parts via cable carrier, all while achieving a lower price than fluorine-insulated cables. In addition to the excellent flexibility and routing capabilities provided, these highly-bendable robot cables pair superior mobility with affordability.
Robotic Intervention Machinery
In recent years, as a result of diversification and miniaturization needs, the number of rotation mechanisms in the smaller spaces of industrial and robotic devices has exploded. This has created a tendency for increased cable twisting as well as stress on the twisted cables. Demand is therefore intensifying for robot cables with higher twisting resistance.
One industry where manufacturers can expect to see such an increase in demand is with the creation, repair, and maintenance of robotic and robot-assisted surgical devices. This type of surgical intervention involves the surgeon using a tele-manipulator to transmit hand, wrist, arm, and finger movements to a remote robotic device, which then performs the actions directly on the patient. Miniaturized robotic devices are preferred in such applications, as their small size allows for the performance of minimally invasive procedures.
While such interventions have incredible life-saving potential, they can also be life-threatening should the robotic device fail to deliver top-notch performance. The devices will need the ability to accurately transmit the delicate rotating and twisting motions from the surgeon’s hand to the patient. For such applications, one need look no further than our ORP-TW Series of robot cables. With a lineup of over 50 models, this robot cable series is specifically designed for durability against twisting motions. It’s even achieved an unprecedented torsion resistance of over 50 million twists!
Furthermore, the ORP-TW robot cable series has withstood a 10 million cycle twisting fatigue test, with a narrow twisting pitch of only 100 mm. The product also offers a high level of resistance against bending and sliding, making it perfectly suitable for use in complex robotic parts with multiple rotation mechanisms, such as in the arm and hand motion transmission parts of robot-assisted surgical devices. When you select this product for your robot cable needs, you can rest assured knowing that its optimized structure will provide excellent durability against twisting.
Robot cables are specifically designed to withstand the high-stress environment of the robotics industry. Even so, the various different types of robotic machinery that exist each call for their own specialized requirements. The ORP Cable Series is known for being applicable to a wide range of uses, providing excellent flexibility for all types of moving robot parts. What’s more, its various incarnations—ORP Slim, ORP-D, and ORP-TW—provide specific performance enhancements for compact machinery, power supplies, devices with multiple rotation mechanisms, and more. Some models even include several customization options to ensure the product uniquely fits your needs.
To learn more about how the ORP Series of robot cables can enhance your manufacturing process, check out the ORP Cable Series product specs, or contact us for more information. We’ll work with you to find the perfect solution for your robot cable needs.
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