How igus Opposes Planned Obsolescence with e-chain® Cable Carriers: Lab Testing and Service Life Calculation

Many manufacturers design their products in such a way that they break down earlier than they need to. This deceitful practice is named “planned obsolescence.” Is igus pursuing a different strategy? And if so, how?     

You are trying to print out a spaghetti recipe for an evening dinner with friends. But the printer doesn’t turn on. That can’ t be true for a device that is only two years old, can it? Yes, says a study (in German) commissioned by the German government. The study indicates that some manufacturers use components that cause premature defects. In addition, artificial wear and tear, also called planned obsolescence, costs consumers several billion euros a year. As early as the late 1950s, the US car industry – in times of high market saturation – designed car bodies, tires and exhausts that were increasingly fragile.

“In recent decades, market saturation has increased sharply in most industrialized countries for many products,” the authors of the study write. “Today, there is a tendency for overcapacity in many areas. These developments have greatly favoured the spread of planned wear in recent decades. “

Planned obsolescence is also a serious problem in B2B

Planned obsolescence not only affects consumers (who are annoyed by failing toasters, dishwashers and smartphones) but there is growing evidence that this issue has also become a serious problem in the B2B sector. If a component fails well before its expected service life, there is a risk of plant downtime and high costs for repair and loss of production.

At igus, we refuse to engage in the deceitful business practice of outputting products designed with planned obsolescence. We put our energy into developing energy chains that are tough, long-lasting and help users achieve maximum productivity.

How strong are energy chains? The largest test laboratory in the industry provides clarity

igus manufactures its e-chain® cable carriers from plastic. Plastic? Doesn’t this material cry out premature fatigue? Not at all. Because the plastics from igus are tribo-optimized high-performance polymers for industrial use. These materials are intended to demonstrate minimal friction behaviour and low wear rates. These qualities are proved by tests at the in-house laboratory, where 41,000 experiments are carried out annually, under real-life conditions, on cables and cable carriers.

An example from the laboratory is a test of a cable carrier, with load-bearing capacity on an unsupported length. Here, the energy chains of the E4-48L series made of polymer were compared with a competitor’s product.

Technical data:

igus E4.48LCompetitors
Inner/outer height48mm/64mm40mm/62mm
Inner/outer width105mm/125mm67mm/76mm
Pitch67 mm76 mm
Weight per metre1.73kg2.08kg

Load bearing capacity in the case of an unsupported length

Test setup:

The two chains are suspended unsupported over a distance of 1.8m with an additional weight of 5kg/m.


cable carrier and weight

Result: in relation to the neutral line, the competitor’s chain sagged 6mm lower than the E4-48L.

More than liability for defects: igus guarantees functionality over a long period

Energy chains are not the only ones that have to endure stress tests. Other products whose durability plays a key role for industrial customers must also enter this 3,800m2 large test laboratory – such as cables, plain bearing technology and low-cost automation components. The CF298.05.04 chainflex data cable, for example, has withstood 54 million double strokes in a long-term test when inserted into an energy chain.

Calculate service life with online tools

Use the service life calculator to quickly and easily determine the expected service life online

Are you wondering how long an igus cable carrier will last in your application? You can easily find out using our online service life calculator. This online tool sources data from our test lab results.

cable carrier with cables and calculator symbol

Service life calculator for e-chain® cable carriers

Calculate the service life of your energy supply system with the service life calculator for energy chains or ask us to do it for you and receive a 36-month guarantee. Send a request.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply