Energy chain installed on wash bay crane

Crane manufacturer, Stahl Cranes and Hoists in Vereeniging, is shifting its jib crane cable management systems from the old system of festoons and pulleys to reliable and snag-free energy chain systems from specialist supplier, igus.

Manufactured from engineered polymers, the energy chains are mechanical machine elements that guide and protect data and power cables needed to operate the crane. Rather than the cables being exposed and hanging from the festoon system, the energy chains secure the cables within the chain and provide the required movement without damaging the cables.

Stahl Cranes and Hoists sales manager, Marius Ferreira says the latest crane manufactured and supplied to SEW Eurodrive’s Gauteng factory, is supplied with an energy chain system from igus. Its ease of installation on the crane and lack of rotating moving parts makes for a less complicated system with fewer structural attachments, clamps and weld points.

Abrasion resistant

The 3-ton Monorail system is used in the company’s parts wash bay for the cleaning of equipment from its customer sites around the country. The potential for dirt and ingress is therefore significantly higher than usual applications and the use of abrasion resistant polymers ensures that the cable and energy chain do not wear out. Compared with a trolley system on a festoon, there are far few moving parts, no lubrication and the energy chain system is less likely to be damaged by accident as is the case with the older method. 

“With the introduction of these chains on our cranes there is virtually no reason to return to the old festoon systems. Also they are considerably more reliable, need almost no maintenance, do not use lubricants and most importantly keep the cables out of harm’s way,” says Marius.

“In conjunction with igus’ Chainflex cables which are specially designed to bend and flex, there is no reason why the energy chain and cables should not last the lifetime of the crane with just routine maintenance. Growing demand for igus’ energy chains has led to keener pricing and is considered more cost effective throughout its lifespan,” he adds.

Engineered polymers

igus managing director, Ian Hewat, says the success of its systems lie in the engineered polymer materials on offer which simply cannot be matched globally.  igumid G, a high-performance plastic that possesses a variety of traits for a number of different environments can handle strenuous loads and extreme temperatures. It is also abrasion-resistant and suitable for outdoor use. A host of other materials are available for  extreme or unusual applications.

“We supply our energy chains for applications as diverse as heavy port cranes, mining machines, industrial machines and even 3D printers and robotics. Whatever the size or application we are able to produce energy chains that are fit-for-purpose and able to outlast and outperform just about everything available in the marketplace today.

“With ongoing research and development at the company’s headquarters in Germany and plants across the globe, the company continues to innovate and develop solutions and materials for almost any application,” concludes Ian. 

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