Electric vehicle wall boxes: no more tangled cables

igus presents design study for automatic and compact cable retraction system

October 26, 2022 – One quick tug and the power cable rolls up: with the e-tract® 2.0 automated retraction system, igus® wants to make charging on wall boxes more convenient for e-car owners. The unique feature is an ingenious interplay of two guide rollers, and long extension lengths are possible with limited installation space.

Many owners of electric vehicles will be familiar with the dilemma. After charging the car on the in-house wall box, they have to wind up the power cable by hand. But typically, the power cable ends up on the ground. Unprotected from wind and weather, this presents a tripping hazard and is unsecured.

“We are therefore working on a compact retraction system that automatically retracts the power cable – just as easy as with a vacuum cleaner,” says Jörg Ottersbach, Head of Business Unit e-chains® at igus.

Although the system is currently still a design study, implementation is planned, and laboratory tests have already been carried out.

Ottersbach continues, “To offer a solution that is as simple and space-saving as possible, igus plans to integrate the electronics into the e-tract 2.0 system.”

Long extension lengths with limited installation space

The guide rollers sit at the ends of the rectangular housing, making the system compact. The cables are wound onto multiple tracks similar to a pulley. When the user pulls the power cable, the lower guide roller moves towards the upper roller on a linear rail while unwinding.

“This multiple dynamic deflection allows us to achieve long extension lengths with limited installation space,” explains Ottersbach.

The cable can be extended up to five meters. The user can then conveniently attach the connector to the vehicle. The housing is mounted on a swivel base, giving the system total freedom of movement. After charging, just a short tug automatically rewinds the cable. This means that the cables do not pose any risk to the users.

Usable for many years without maintenance

Weatherproof and UV-resistant plastics are used in the housing, some of which are recyclates. The retraction system is designed to last. The rollers are made of high-performance plastic that is gentle on cables. The cable itself also has a defined bend radius.

Another unique design feature is the power connection, which is connected to the wall box and does not rotate during unwinding.

“This design principle makes our retraction system more fail-safe,” emphasizes Ottersbach. “Wall box owners will also be able to use the automatic retraction system outdoors for many years without maintenance.”

The same applies to many other applications, from control panels to wired tools on assembly lines and work tables. Click here to learn more about the igus e-tract 2.0 cable retraction system.

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