MRO Magazine

Total chip protection for machine tools


January 11, 2010
By PEM Magazine

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Metal chips can cause abrasion and wear in long travel, gliding cable carrier applications. To combat this, igus has developed a horizontal guiding system called “Guidelok”, which is designed to keep the upper and lower cable carrier runs apart. The new solution is ideal for applications in the machine tool industry up to 164 feet.

Debris and chips can become trapped between a cable carrier’s upper and lower runs as they glide on top of one another. Guidelok’s design keeps the upper and lower runs separate via a spring-loaded roller support, which is pushed back as the cable carrier passes through, before snapping out again after the radius has passed. The upper run rests on the roller support and is not allowed to glide on the lower run.

The system not only works to reduce abrasion and wear caused by trapped chips and debris, but also offers a number of other advantages. The system means the cable carrier can support itself over a longer distance. This enables users to choose a smaller version for the given length, saving overall costs and reducing the required push-/pull driving force. Guidelok keeps the upper and lower runs of the cable carrier separate from one another, which helps to minimize friction and wear and thereby increases service life.

The horizontal Guidelok system is already being used successfully by one machine-tool manufacturer, who replaced a heavy steel chain with this solution. A more traditional solution would have allowed large metal chips to settle in the inner radius between the upper and lower runs of the cable carrier, which could have caused damage. In contrast, the new system is ideal for such applications. Guidelok is also lower cost than most steel chains or sophisticated gliding systems.


New Guidelok is designed to be modular—the side troughs are optional—and is currently available from igus North America with a three week lead time. A movie illustrating the new design can be found at