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e-skin: openable solutions for cleanrooms

The e-skin energy chain is predominately used in the manufacture of semiconductors, more commonly known as computer chips. These applications are exceptionally sensitive to dust so require special cleanroom manufacturing conditions. igus® developed a modular corrugated tube and a flat cable guidance system to ensure energy supply could be provided to work in such specialised environments. These energy chain systems supply moving machines with data, media and energy and minimise abrasion. As a result, there are no particles that can get into the air and contamination is avoided.

For applications like this it is essential that the environment is contamination-free, and with its clean room approved IPA ISO Class 1 certification, the e-skin range is perfect for this high-purity manufacturing environment.

There are other applications where the e-skin would be beneficial, such as the medical industry, printing and LCD screen manufacturing. All of these applications require the same high standard of cleanliness to avoid contamination.

There are 3 main types of e-skin: the e-skin, the e-skin soft and the e-skin flat although there are 3 more members of the e-skin family that are new this year, the e-skin hybrid, the e-skin flat single pods and the e-skin flat with supporting chain.

e-skin SK

The main e-skin range comes in 2 sizes, SK28and SK40. The 28 and 40 denote the inner height of the chain and can have internal shelves and separators fitted if required. This e-chain design has an easy open and close zipper design which makes replacing cables very quick and easy. The upper and lower shells are made from igumid SK, which is a polymer material designed especially for this range of chains. This chain can have an unsupported length of up to 2.5m, depending on the size chosen, and is cleanroom compatible with IPA ISO classification 1. The chain material is TPA which is optimised for low abrasion and low noise.

e-skin SKF

This chain is referred to as the e-skin flat due to its compact modular structure. The e-skin flat is perfect for small installation spaces and is a freely fillable system consisting of double profiles with 3 cable chambers. These can be connected to wider systems thanks to the manner in which these chains are produced as a continuous extrusion.
There are two versions of the e-skin flat. One with closed cable chambers and one version in which the individual cable chambers can be opened and closed with a zipper. The advantage of this is the convenience of replacing individual cables rather than complete systems.
Both versions can be shortened individually.

e-skin SKS

The e-skin soft is currently available in one size which is the SKS20, 20mm inner height. The installation height is 32% smaller when compared to the e-skin which makes it a good choice in very small installation spaces. This has a similar design to the e-skin with the easy open and close zipper design.

Suitable cables for cleanroom

To compliment the e-skin chain, igus® have over 918 types of cables with cleanroom classification IPA Class 1, 166 types with cleanroom classification IPA Class 2 and all these are tested, inspected and have a 36-month guarantee.

These ingenious energy chain systems not only avoid contamination within the application,  they can save you time with the ease of  installation. Gone are the days when systems need to be broken down entirely for a worn cable. With these energy chains, simply replace the cable, not the entire system and keep your cleanroom contamination free.

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