Global polymer manufacturer, igus, is steadily making inroads into applications where its energy chains can improve cable management on machines where repetitive linear movements are required. The energy chains usually replace festoon systems on equipment like gantry cranes, tripper cars and can even replace cable reel drums on heavy duty mining machines such as stackers and reclaimers.
Igus managing director, Ian Hewat, says its e-chain cable carriers are increasingly being designed into new systems or retrofitting festoons and cable reel systems. Rather than looping cables or winding them onto drum, the e-chains simply act as a moving conduit or a sort of spine that keeps the cable neat and always protected.
These are the five reasons to choose energy chains over festoons:
- Increased Reliability: energy chains are designed to provide reliable performance which reduces downtime through protecting the minimum bending radius. Unlike festoons which are prone to snagging and wear, energy chains offer a more robust and controlled cable management solution.
- Reduced Maintenance: energy chains require minimal maintenance compared with festoon systems as the self-lubricating polymer reduces the need for constant maintenance whereas the rollers on festoons often require regular lubrication. The e-chain also allows users to add cables and hoses should they wish to do so.
- Better Cable Protection: the design of the energy chains in controlling the minimum bending radius shields cables and hoses reduces the risk of damage or electrical failures caused by external elements. Festoons on the other hand have their radius exposed and uncontrolled with added stress and tension on the hanging parts.
- Space Efficiency: compact and space-efficient, energy chains are suitable for applications with limited space whereas festoons require space to be allocated for the cables depending on the length of travel and number of trolleys used.
- Safety: energy chains contribute to a safer work environment by preventing cables from hanging loose. The e-chain can be installed at a lower level due to its compactness making any sort of maintenance easier and safer. Festoons need to be at a much higher-level impacting health and safety.
Effective cable management systems should complement an operations’ objectives and result in better productivity, increased reliability, improved safety while reducing costs. Polymer energy chains tick all these boxes and more.