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igus energy chain system fitted on 1000th ship-to-shore crane

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article image igus recently installed an energy chain system on its 1,000th ship-to-shore crane (STS)
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Motion plastics specialist, igus has completed the installation of an energy chain system on its 1,000th ship-to-shore crane (STS). Most of the long travel installations executed over the last 17 years have involved the use of rolling energy chains (rol e-chains), helping increase the service life of components and reducing the drive power. They can also be combined with the new isense modules wherein different sensors measure the movement and wear of the energy chain system, allowing accurate prediction of the replacement date for components during ongoing operation, thereby enhancing fail-safety.

Factors such as large temperature fluctuations, severe vibrations or movements of the entire steel construction have to be taken into account when new equipment or retrofits of existing cranes are planned. igus has equipped its 1,000th STS crane (ship-to-shore) with an energy chain system made of plastic, demonstrating the trend towards lightweight, long-lasting components.

Theo Diehl, Head of Industry Management Cranes, who was directly involved in many of these 1,000 projects, explains why igus is so successful in the industry: “For us, the big breakthrough was the development of the rolling energy chain, which we installed to supply power to the trolley of our first STS crane in the year 2000. By using a roller, the coefficient of friction on long travels drops dramatically, when the upper run of the chain runs on the lower run. Thereby, up to 57% of the required drive energy can be saved while moving the energy chain system. The noise is also significantly reduced.”

igus launched the heavy duty version of the roller energy chain in 2004. According to Mr Diehl, it was strengthened in many ways, improving its stability and expected service life. In 2008, the 'P4' roller energy chain was launched onto the market based on igus’ experience over the preceding eight years. This model operates with considerably less noise and vibration due to the double-roller design, helping increase the service life of the system.

igus products such as roller energy chains, originally developed for the crane industry, now serve as solutions for other branches of industry too; the new chainflex FOC cables introduced in 2016 can be used in moving applications in temperature ranges between -40°C and +80°C without being filled with gel. Another example is provided by seawater-resistant aluminium trough systems for long travels over 100 metres with rise protection or by floating moving ends that compensate for alignment errors.

igus supplies all the components as individual products or, as a complete harnessed solution planned and installed by its Project Engineering department, based on the customer's requirements.

The intelligent isense family of products from igus, designed to predict the required component replacement date during ongoing operation, includes the new and improved EC.M module, which is mounted on the moving end of the chain and automatically records acceleration, speed, temperature and the number of cycles completed; the EC.W wear sensor, which measures the wear on the e-chain, making it possible to determine the remaining service life; and the new EC.RC (e-chain Run Control), introduced in 2017 to monitor the operating status of the chains, especially in guide troughs where long travels are involved.

For more information, please visit the Treotham Automation website, www.treotham.com.au or call 02 9907 1788.

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