igus has announced it has fitted its 1,000th ship-to-shore (STS) crane with an energy chain system. For these long travels, rolling energy chains (rol e-chains) are used to maximise service life, while minimising drive power. They can also be combined with the new isense modules to measure the movement and wear of the energy chain system – this enables the replacement date for components to be predicted during ongoing operation and fail-safe operation is therefore enhanced.
“In crane technology, simple off-the-shelf cable management systems cannot always be adapted to new applications as the requirements are always different,” explained Justin Leonard, the-chain director, igus. “Large temperature fluctuations, severe vibration or movements of the entire steel construction have to be taken into account when new equipment or retrofits of existing cranes are planned. Hence the growing trend towards lightweight, long-lasting components is now the state-of-the-art all over the world.”
Core to the igus STS crane offering is the rolling energy chain, which was designed specifically to reduce the coefficient of friction on long travels. The roller element enables the upper run of the chain to run on the lower run, reducing the required drive energy by up to 57% when compared to conventional energy chain systems. Noise generated during operation is also reduced significantly.
Products, originally developed for the crane industry, now serve as solutions for other branches of industry too. A recent introduction is the chainflex FOC (Fibre Optic Cables), which can be used in moving applications in temperature ranges between -40 to 80°C and do not have to be filled with gel. Another example is the seawater-resistant aluminium trough system, which is built in accordance with EN6060 and suitable for travels of over 100m.
Most recent was the introduction of the isense family of products; these intelligent sensor devices predict the required component replacement date during ongoing operation and thus increase fail-safe operation. The EC.M module, which is mounted on the moving end of the chain, records acceleration, speed, temperature and the number of cycles completed automatically. Other examples include the EC.W wear sensor, which measures the wear on the e-chain and thus makes it possible to determine the remaining service life, and the EC.RC (e-chain run control), which monitors the operating status of the chains, especially in guide troughs where long travels are involved.