The railway engineering supplier “Corus Rail”, Workington (England), has replaced the existing festooning systems, which “hang” freely in the wind, with energy chains from igus® at its steelworks due to maintenance and cost efficiency reasons. The new completely assembled energy supply system is made of sturdy plastic energy chains from the E4/4 “Heavy Duty” (HD) Series, aluminum guide troughs and “chainflex®” cables, all especially designed for dynamic applications in harsh, corrosive surroundings.
igus® UK was commissioned by Corus to install robust energy chain systems on seventeen outdoor gantry cranes and nine indoor magnetic cranes. The steel there is exposed to extreme heat and is shaped by Corus into rails. The outdoor cranes, close to the coast, must defy strong wind, salt water splashes, grains of sand and often pouring British rain. Even indoor cranes work under ever-changing humidity conditions together with very high temperatures.
The first igus® energy chain systems were installed at the English steelworks nine years ago. A Demag crane for long distances was converted eight years ago as well as the trolley drive on other Demag outdoor cranes four years ago. The wear resistant energy chains are still in operation. Downtimes due to maintenance, according to Corus Rail, have never been necessary. When it comes to festooning systems on the other hand, people at the English company report on components which were often in need of maintenance (corrosion, general wear), which were difficult to reach, moreover. Inspections or necessary repair work were only made possible by setting up scaffolding or lifting platforms. With the energy chain solution on the other hand, regular visual inspections are now adequate, says Corus, to ensure that the chain has not been damaged and that the cables are still correctly relieved from strain.
The new cranes are equipped with the recently further improved “E4/4 HD” energy chain from igus®. With the pin-bore connections on this chain, the supporting surfaces were increased by 120 %. The diameters of the pins were increased from 40 to 45 mm, the length doubled from four to eight millimeters. Thanks to the considerably increased wear surfaces, the strength and service life of the energy chain have been further increased. That predestines the “E4/4 HD” for high loads in dirty environments (steel, cement, composting plants, harbors, offshore facilities etc.) on long distances at high speed. The thickness of the side plates has also been raised from 22 to 29.5 mm. With an unaltered inner height (80 mm) and outer height (108 mm), the energy chain operates quietly and with stability even under high additional loads.
The energy supply systems are filled with a “chainflex®” cable package adapted for outdoor applications. This consists of “CF310” motor cables, “CF9” and “CF10” control cables and “CFLG” fiber optic cables, which have already been used successfully on hundreds of RTG cranes. Using highly abrasion resistant TPE jackets makes the cables predestined for harsh environments, like here at the English steelworks. They are UV-resistant, can be used at high temperatures between -35°C and +100°C, and feature a very high resistance to media, from coolants and lubricants to organic oils. Particularly the 90 % optical covering of the shielded cables with a special braiding angle, especially designed for dynamic movements in energy chains, increases the requirement for high EMC safety.
The new energy supply system was supplied to Corus Rail as a so-called “readychain®” complete package and installed on site straight away by the igus® UK team. The benefit: reduced costs for the installation time, with hardly any loss of valuable production time. Richie Profitt, electrical engineer at Corus for 35 years: “ The 'readychain®' energy supply system works, is reliable and maintenance-free. Furthermore, thanks to the support from igus® in terms of installation and back-up, any difficulties are taken care of in advance. ” This is particularly important for 24-hour plants, where productivity is constantly being increased, according to Richie Profitt. “The energy supply system just had to be installed, and now it runs so well that you can almost forget about it.”
Richie Profitt, Corus Rail, Workington, England