Achieve energy efficiency with 60 % less consumption

Published:  09 July, 2009


Energy chain systems not only transport energy, data and media to machines and systems. They also influence their energy consumption costs. How much pull-push force, or driving force, is required at a given speed to move an energy chain? How light or stable do energy chains have to be for minimum energy to be consumed? Modern plastic energy chains and "Chainflex" cables from igus UK, help in the design and operation of machines that are efficient in terms of energy and cost.

Energy consumption can be drastically reduced by using the right materials and the right design, as current tests at the igus energy chain and cable laboratory now show. For example: long travel distances with high fill weights. If a roller energy chain is used in place of a sliding application, friction loss is reduced. Tests show that with the same basic data (filling, chain length, speed and acceleration) the friction factor can be reduced from 0.3 to under 0.1. Result: Thanks to the user of the roller energy chain, the drive power was reduced by 37 percent compared to the equivalent sliding application.

Such roller energy chains for long distances developed by igus has been in use globally for more than ten years' now. A good example is the 550 m chain used in a taconite mine in Minnesota (USA); another is the longest plastic energy chain in the world so far, a 615 m in the Czech lignite-fired power plant Tusimice. Metal chains are being replaced more and more now by lighter and lubricant-free plastic energy chains even in the toughest of working conditions. The latest example is in a steelworks in Isfahan (Iran), where dust, lubricants and oils impaired the functional ability of the heavy metal chain that had to be pulled by the machine. Cables were damaged by sharp chain edges and permanent sun radiation.

Alongside the reduction of the friction coefficient illustrated by roller energy chains, there are further factors which favour efficient energy management. Size and weight, for example.  Comparative tests in the igus Technical Centre have proved that 17 percent drive power can be saved with smaller energy chains which are  as robust as larger chains thanks to their careful design. A strong energy chain from the "E4" range was chosen. This is a comprehensive, modular system that can be used to realise almost all applications from "side mounted" and "hanging” applications, through to long travel distances of over 200 m. The new “E4.1” generation of energy chains, which has been available since last year, offers a wealth of application possibilities, since design features from previous energy chains, and new design features, have been merged in one new design.

"Chainflex" cables especially for energy chains can help directly in reducing energy consumption. According to the latest igus tests, the use of high-grade sheathing and insulating materials, depending on the combination of cross-sections and cables used can, ultimately save between 5 and 30 percent. Energy consumption. The result is that the drive power requirements can be reduced by around 17 percent.

Firstly, optimised sheathing materials, matched to the energy chain application, can achieve low abrasion resistance. Secondly, high-quality sheathing materials can be extruded with an extremely thin wall, which saves up to 18 percent in weight compared with conventional cables.. Insulation materials must also be considered. With high-quality materials, significantly higher current carrying capacity can be achieved with the same core cross-section, or, the cross-sections can often be reduced without the electric performance being diminished. This again allows weight reductions of up to 30 percent.



igus UK

51A Caswell Road




Phone  +44 (0)1604 677240

Fax      +44 (0)1604 677245

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