Extremely quiet energy supply equipment for camera robots
In ARD's Tagesschau studio, very smooth movements of the overhead cameras are enabled by three camera robots suspended from the ceiling. Extremely low-vibration energy chains from igus® are used here so that energy and data are supplied as quietly and reliably as possible.
The universally usable camera robots in the 320 square-metre studio are based on a very powerful six-axis industrial robot made by the company Stäubli. The solution for the broadcasting organisation enables the director to choose from an almost limitless variety of camera shots in real-time use. The ceiling is 7 metres high, whereby the three robots are suspended at a height of 3.50 metres above the ground. To keep the noise of camera movements to the low level required, the linear rails as well as the steel beams to which the axes are attached must be extremely rigid. "Apart from the absolutely quiet movement of the cameras, the avoidance of vibrations that could affect the picture quality must also be ensured at all times", says Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Fabian Kaiser, the responsible project engineer of Camerobot Systems GmbH, in clarification.
There is also the matter of the weight. Each robot weights around 300 kilograms. With all the necessary items of equipment, a mass of around 500 kilogram has to be moved. The teleprompter, all the necessary cables and hoses as well as the safety equipment make up a fill weight of at least 30 kilograms that the chain has to support. In all three robots, open energy supply systems of the E6 series from igus® with an inner height of 80 millimetres and a bend radius of 150 millimetres prove successful. The travel distances are 12 metres, 8 metres and 6.50 metres. What is good about the series is its modular system that makes it possible to shorten or lengthen the chain at any point. The special design of the chain links ‒ abrasion-resistant connecting elements replace the bolt & hole connections ‒ and the small pitch are the reason for the extremely low-noise and low-vibration travel. The feared polygon effect during unrolling never occurs.
The two shorter travel distances are unsupported applications. A special solution is used for the long travel distance. It prevents noise when the upper run is lowered onto the lower run. One important element is an approximately 30 kilogram, tailor-made moving end with special supporting rollers. Three rubber-enclosed plastic rollers absorb the impact of the upper run. There are also special suspension elements for the guide troughs that carry the chain, which is fed into them in the middle. The trough system is also lined with noise-dampening mats in order to further reduce the noise that is generated during movements and when the chains are lowered onto them.
In order to guarantee functional reliability over the long term, shielded control cables which come from the chainflex® product range of igus® and are suitable for energy chains are used in the camera robots as well. This is because a primary aim is to avoid shield wire breakages that can lead to short circuits or reduce the shielding effect. This is prevented by, among other things, the tough braided shield of the chainflex® cables, which have been specially developed for use in energy chains. The shield also protects the twisted-wire binder against torsional forces.
The requirements for the production of news programmes are very high in Germany. The camera robots from Camerobot Systems make an indispensable contribution towards correct and appropriate presentation of the contents. The energy supply systems from igus® safeguard the long-term operational reliability and safety of the robots, while also ensuring quiet operation at all times.
Applications involving high cycle counts, speeds and accelerations or demanding environmental conditions require proven systems providing durable and reliable operation, especially when it comes to energy chains, cables as well as polymer slide bearings and linear systems. igus® conducts tests continuously in the in-house laboratory under real conditions. Every year, we conduct more than 2000 tests on e-chains® and cables, and over 5000 tests on slide bearings . The focus of our tests are tensile strengths and shear forces. Coefficients of friction, wear, driving forces and abrasion under extremely different conditions and speeds. Influence coefficients such as dirt, weathering, low temperature, or impacts and shocks are tested