Equipment & Technology

Flexible solutions for critical cables

Cables connect machinery to critical power and data. If they’re severed, it can lead to expensive maintenance and repairs. Treotham Automation provides a potential solution to protect these links.

System failures are often the worst-case scenario for bulk material handling operators. In addition to the high repair and maintenance costs, they often lead to significant periods of expensive downtime.

To help operators avoid this, energy chain manufacturer igus has developed a range of products designed for some of the harshest environments and applications, such as deep-drilling rigs.

One such product is the e-loop, a robust energy chain system that safely guides critical cables in vertical hanging applications.

Tim Schneebeck, Industry Manager Oil & Gas at igus GmbH says the e-loop was developed as an alternative to the service loop.

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“The three-dimensional energy supply system combines the advantages of a polymer energy chain with a high-strength pull rope,” he says.

“The rope absorbs the tensile forces inside the chain and transmits them to the mounting brackets. This means that the cables remain completely strain-relieved.”

In a traditional service loop, the cables have no guide and no defined bend radius – they cannot move and can break.

The e-loop has a defined bend radius to help it withstand vibrations and shocks thanks to polyurethane protectors – ideal for use in drilling rigs or bucket wheel excavators.

The e-loop has also been used on power supply and open cast mining projects.

“We have already won many projects. Customers often wanted a complete energy supply system with the appropriate essential tests in accordance with VDE and IEC,” Schneebeck says.

Markus Hüffel, Product Manager readychain & readycable at igus GmbH, says the business can manufacture low voltage, completely tested readychain systems with chainflex cables right from the start.

In addition, the company can provide high-voltage cables and special connectors where required.

Treotham Automation, a supplier of electrical components to industrial markets, distributes the technology in Australia.

The company’s cable package for the e-loop consists of seven different types of cable: three single-core cables of different cross sections, a protective conductor, two data cables and a hybrid cable.

Chainflex cables are available without a minimum order quantity and as they are now available as a catalogue part, there is no lengthy and expensive individual production process.

John Sharp, National Sales Manager at Treotham Automation says delivering the components from a single source provides the customer with significant benefits.

“All of the components are ideally matched, and tests in its 3800 square metre test laboratory, igus can certify this,” Sharp says.

“At the same time, the harnessed readychain system reduces procurement time by almost 90 per cent and assembly time by 68 per cent.

“With the new CFSPECIAL.5 series, there is now also the matching igus cable range for the e-loop. A combination of seven chainflex cables makes cost savings of 35 per cent possible.”

As a result of the system’s success, igus has also expanded the e-loop series to include a version with crossbars every second link. The new version has been specifically developed for stationary applications, for example on shore power supply. 

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