Monday, August 28, 2017

Support Arm Systems - The Link Between Man and Machine

Support arm systems have proven their worth as an ergonomic link between machine, operating equipment and personnel, but the demands they are subjected to are increasing all the time. With support arms, control panels can be easily and accurately turned, lifted and swivelled so that operators can monitor their machine at any time.

Nowadays, these systems should be quick to assemble, simple to adjust, suitable for individual installations, designed in a uniform way, capable of bearing high loads and must facilitate cable management.

What is needed is an intelligent modular system with a consistent design over a wide range of loads. A wide-ranging modular system that offers the user consistency in terms of function, installation and project planning, in one uniform design and covers all the load ranges up to 180 kg that the market calls for.

Support arm systems can be created for the 60, 120, and 180 kg load levels (relative to a jib length of one metre) with a uniform function, installation and project planning system. The arm system, consisting of support section, intermediate hinge and angle pieces, can be mounted on top of a machine or on a side panel. Wall and base mountings, as well as flexible top-mounted joints and wall mounted hinges, are available with horizontal outlets for assembly. In addition, system adaptors permit adaptation to the next size down of support arm reducing the weight at the end of the jib and cost of the system.

With no need to dismantle, the system already installed can be adjusted with ease or their rotation range can be limited retrospectively. So user-friendly, all that is required is to remove the cover plate of the relevant arm component and manipulate the screws with a screwdriver.

To avoid unwanted electrical interference, support sections are also available as open versions with an X-shaped geometry. This version, in lengths of 500, 1,000 and 2,000 mm, offers the user two separate cable ducts in one section to allows control cables and power supply to be laid separately from one another. Removable covers on angle pieces, couplings and joints enable easy access. Through the open section, which complies with IP 54 protection category, the user can quickly and easily install cables - even with a DVI or VGA configured connector.

So far there has been no validation for support arm systems that specifies safety in electrical installations, thus just how plant constructors build safe operating solutions from an electrical engineering perspective lies within their own discretion and ultimately, something that is not often considered, within their own area of responsibility.

In electrical terms, many installations are now no longer state-of-the-art. Cable installations within support arm systems often lack any passive internal safety devices, such as edge protection elements to prevent chafed cables. Automatic potential equalisation should be standard with a support arm system, without any extra work and additional costs to users.

Where previously the focus has been on the mechanical structure, cable installations within these systems often had no passive internal safety devices, such as edge protection elements, to prevent chafed cables. Active protective measures were also absent, such as automatic potential equalisation throughout all the elements of a support arm system to protect the operator from live electrical voltage in the event of a defective cable.

With a support arm system all the rotating elements have so-called sliding contacts to ensure a reliable electrical contact throughout the entire system. Clever edge protection elements made of plastic, which can simply be clipped onto the inner section between extrusions and corner pieces, prevent cables from becoming pinched or chafed.

As an integrated modular system a support arm system offers plant constructors uniform function, assembly and engineering solutions in one design, offering major time savings during assembly, adjustment, and service.