Long Travel Energy Chain Systems
Where a cable chain or energy chain can no longer support the weight of the cables in its own, the chain will require some sort of support. This is often referred to as a long travel application.
The chain requires support where the "free carrying length" of the chain has been exceeded.
The free carrying length of a cable chain can vary hugely from one cable chain to another. A lightweight plastic chain may require support if it is more than a couple of metres long, a heavy duty steel cable chain can be self supporting for ten metres or more.
The hoses and cables that are in the energy chain are obviously also a contributing factor. The more weight in the cable chain, the more the free carrying length will be reduced.
No matter what chain you use , if you have a travel length of 20 metres or more then it is likely that the cable chain will require some kind of support.
If an energy chain requires support there are various ways that this can be provided.
Probably the most common solution for a plastic cable chain that requires support is the sliding solution. In this case the plastic chain will sag down and then slide on itself. This system is effective and economical, but it also has limitations. For longer travels ( over around 50 metres ) or in applications where the cables or hoses are particularly heavy, it can require a large amount of force to get the chain moving. This force can be reduced by using low friction sliders. However, for very long travels or for heavy cables / hoses then it will be worth while looking at alternative energy chain systems.
Buttkereit offer a range of long travel energy chain systems that can reduce the friction in the chain hugely and can help where the travels are long or the cables / hoses are heavy. A number of systems are available, the Marathon system that is suitable for plastic chains or the Steel Rolltrak that can be used with steel constructions.
If the environment requires a steel energy chain then a sliding solution is not always the best. In this case a carriage solution can be used. Here the chain travels on rollers on a supporting frame that moves along with it. This keeps friction to an absolute minimum whilst allowing long travel lengths to be achieved.
For even longer travels, where steel chains are necessary it is possible to use a system of rollers that roll and support the chain on a specially designed trough section. When the chain is in the flat position the rollers fit into specially designed housings. The spacing of the rollers is such that the energy chain will supported throughout the length of the travel.
This unique design allows for long travel solutions to be manufactured completely from steel or stainless steel.
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