Cable carriers on moving equipment might be necessary, but they generate noise and dust, and the constant moving makes wear a recurring maintenance issue. To overcome these problems, engineers at igus Inc., East Providence, R.I. (igus.com), use magnetic levitation to suspend the moving cable-carrying chain in their LeviChain without physical contact. This does away with friction, the leading cause of wear and noise. In fact, the chain generates 41.7 dB at one yard.

To ensure magnetic attraction, the company embeds iron particles in the plastic cable carrier. And the magnetic field is not strong enough to produce inductive effects in the power or bus cables. The carrier has been tested on travel lengths up to 131 ft and speed to 32 fps. Upper and lower runs of the chain can operate independently and mount horizontally or vertically. It is available in widths to 2.95 in. The design is said to be ideal for clean rooms, medical equipment, and industrial robots.