Cable carrier systems not only transport energy, data, and media to various types of machines, they also greatly influence energy costs. To keep energy costs low, one important consideration is the amount of pull-push, or driving force, required at a given speed to move the cable carrier. Another consideration is the stability and maximum weight for the cable carrier system to ensure it consumes the least amount of energy possible. Energy Chain® cable carriers, combined with Chainflex® continuous-flex cables can reduce the required drive power, energy consumption and costs for environmentally conscious applications.
Recent tests and sample calculations performed at igus’ test laboratory showed how energy consumption could be drastically reduced with the right cable carrier material, especially in long-distance, high-load applications. If you use Rol-E-Chain®—a specially designed cable carrier with built-in wheels that rolls instead of glides to facilitate travel over long distances—the friction factor is drastically reduced from 0.3 to less than 0.1. This correlates to a 37% reduction in drive power when compared to a traditional gliding application.
In addition to reducing friction, Rol E-Chains are energy efficient due to their dimensions and weight. A test used an E4 Energy Chain, which is suitable for long travels and unsupported, side-mounted applications. It reduced drive power requirements by 17%, partly due to its smaller dimensions.
Chainflex continuous-flex cables can also reduce energy consumption. igus tests show that using high-performance sheathing and insulating materials, depending on the combination of cross sections and number of cables used, can provide between a 5 and 30% reduction in energy.
In addition, if the sheathing mixtures are optimal for the application, it will reduce abrasion. High-quality sheathing materials can be extruded with an extremely thin wall, which saves up to 18% in weight compared to conventional cables. These two factors can reduce the drive power required.
High-grade insulating materials can achieve higher currents with the same electric cross-sections, which means the cross-sections can often be reduced without compromising the electrical performance. This enables weight reductions of up to 30%.
Closer analysis reveals that there is basically no difference between the energy consumption in machine and plant engineering, including all costs for power electronics, and the automobile industry.
Metal cable carriers are being replaced more and more by plastic chains, such as Energy Chains®, because they are lightweight, require no lubrication and can withstand even the toughest applications. One example is a 1,804 ft Rol E-Chain system being used in a taconite mine in Minnesota. Another is the longest known Energy Chain application in the world: a 2,018 ft cable carrier system in a lignite-fired power plant in the Czech Republic.
Filed Under: Cables + cable management, Energy management + harvesting