Energy Chains Available from Treotham Automation

A steel rail manufacturer based in Workington, England, has replaced existing, freely suspended festoons on its indoor and outdoor cranes at the steelworks with energy chains from igus.

Corus Rail drastically reduced maintenance requirements and associated costs; the pre-harnessed new energy chain system comprises sturdy E4/4 heavy duty (HD) plastic energy chains, aluminium guide troughs and Chainflex cables, all specially designed for dynamic applications in rough, corrosive environments.

These igus technologies are distributed in Australia by Treotham Automation.

Igus UK was asked by Corus to install sturdy energy chain systems on seventeen outdoor portal cranes and nine indoor magnet cranes.

The location of the plant on the coast means the outdoor cranes must withstand heavy winds, saltwater spray, sand and the pouring British rain.

The cranes, which work under changing humidity conditions and very high temperatures, were first equipped with igus energy chain systems as long as nine years ago.

A Demag crane for long travel distances was converted eight years ago, followed by the trolley travel on further Demag outdoor cranes four years ago.

The wear-resistant energy chains are still in operation, and according to Corus Rail, stoppage times for maintenance have never been required; in stark contrast to the original festoons. Conversely, the English workers reported frequent maintenance, due to corrosion and general wear, while also being difficult to access.

With the original festoons, servicing and repair work was only possible with the aid of scaffolding or lifting platforms.

However, with the energy chain solution, regular visual inspections now ensure that the chain has not been damaged and the cables are still correctly strain-relieved, reported Corus.

Corus’ new cranes are equipped with igus’ recently improved E4/4 HD, thus load-bearing surfaces have now been increased by 120%, thanks to the bolt-bore connections of this chain.

The bolt diameter has been increased from 40 mm to 45 mm and its length doubled from four to eight millimetres. Due to the significantly larger wear surfaces, the material strength and service life of the energy chain have increased even further.

E4/4 HD is ideal for heavy loads in dirty environments such as steel, cement, compost plants, docks, offshore plants etc. and for long travels at high speeds.

The thickness of the sidewall has also been increased from 22 to 29.5 mm, while the inside height (80 mm) and the outside height (108 mm) remain unchanged, with the energy chain running smoothly and stably even under high additional loads.

The energy chains are filled with a Chainflex cable package specially adapted for outdoor applications. This comprises CF310 motor cables, CF9 and CF10 control cables and CFLG fibre optic cables which are already been used successfully on hundreds of RTG cranes.

Due to the use of highly abrasion-proof TPE sheaths, the cables operate flawlessly fin rough environments such as the English steelworks, and are UV-resistant, can be used at high temperatures between -35 °C and +100 °C. The cables are resistant to media from coolants and lubricants through to bio-oils.

The 90% optical covering of the shielded cables with an angle of twist specially adapted to dynamic movements in energy chains increases the high EMC safety requirement.

The new energy chain system was delivered to Corus Rail as a so-called ReadyChain complete package and installed on site by the igus UK team.

The benefits were reduced costs due to minimal installation time and the loss of hardly any valuable production time.

The 'ReadyChain' energy chain system works, is reliable and maintenance-free. On top of that, the installation and back-up support from igus mean any problems are dealt with quickly.

The applicability of this to 24 hour sites, or in fact any other site were maximum productivity is a given mandate, is reflected in Profitt’s final comment, "You need to be able to have an energy chain system installed and then not have to worry about it."