igus unveils first plastic-steel hybrid energy chain

Lighter than steel chains, longer unsupported lengths than plastic chains

October 9, 2019 – igus has developed the first plastic-steel hybrid energy chains for safe and compact vertical guidance of cables and hoses.

The new energy supply system, called the YE.42, is 50 percent lighter than conventional steel chains due to the high-performance polymers manufactured by Germany-based igus. The company runs its North American operations out of Providence, R.I.

The hybrid chains provide 50 percent more unsupported length than plastic energy chains and have higher rigidity. The chains are easy to assemble and maintain due to their modular design, and operators can rely on work platforms or vertical lifts for a safe, lightweight, cost-effective and quickly replaceable system.

Lightweight and easy installation

Cherry pickers, construction machinery and lifting platforms face an identical challenge: a safe and compact vertical guidance of the cables and hoses. In these situations, users usually rely on tough and rigid steel chains. However, these are very heavy and difficult to install, and often need to be completely replaced when service or repair is needed. This means immense costs for machine operators and rental companies due to equipment downtime.

The new hybrid energy chain will work especially well for high unsupported travels. The supporting chain links of the new energy supply solution are made of steel and ensure high rigidity, whereas the pin/bore connection, the outer links and the crossbars are made of a tribologically optimized high-performance plastic. The hybrid chain is 50 percent lighter than steel chains and compared to a traditional plastic chain, allows for 50 percent more unsupported length.

Modular and easily assembled

The modularity of the hybrid chain offers another advantage. The chain links of the YE.42 are easy to combine and can be assembled quickly. igus completely dispenses with screws, rivets or bolts that can become loose due to vibration.

Also, cables can be quickly replaced via the openable crossbars, another advantage over classic steel chains, which are usually completely riveted or bolted.

The new YE.42 additionally achieves its high stability by means of an undercut design for locking the chain links. For the interior of the energy chain, igus offers a wide range of partitioning elements that ensure an interior separation friendly to cables and hoses.

readychain – ready to connect with system guarantee

Hybrid energy chains will be available with an inner height of 42 millimeters and a width of 50 to 400 millimeters with a bend radius of 100 millimeters. Other sizes are available upon request. The new energy supply system will also be available as a ready to connect, harnessed readychain system with chain-friendly and tested chainflex cables, hydraulic components, hoses and hose fittings.

All chainflex continuous flex cables are offered with a unique worldwide guarantee of up to 48 months, thanks to the millions of tests conducted under real conditions in the in-house 3,800 square meter igus test laboratory.

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