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

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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