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Energy chains replace festooning on indoor and outdoor cranes at steel mill

"Heavy Duty" for english steelworks: plastic energy chains prove their worth in harsh environments

The railway engineering supplier "Corus Rail", Workington (England), has replaced the existing festoonings on the indoor and outdoor cranes with our energy chains for reasons of maintenance and economy. The fully harnessed new energy supply system consists of sturdy plastic E4/4 Heavy Duty (HD) energy chains, aluminium guide troughs and chainflex cables, all specially designed for dynamic applications in harsh, corrosive environments.


  • What was needed: Energy chains type E4/4 HD, supplied and installed as a fully pre-assembled readychain system; chainflex cables for moving applications
  • Requirements: Highly corrosive, windy, wet and abrasive environments (outdoor cranes), high temperatures and humidity (indoor cranes)
  • Industry: Steel industry, cranes
  • Success for the customer: Compared to previous festoonings, downtime due to maintenance was never necessary, according to Corus Rail. Today, regular visual inspections are sufficient for the energy chains.
Energy chain outdoor crane Corus steelworks in Workington, England: We have replaced the cable trolleys on seventeen outdoor gantry cranes with ready-to-install readychain energy chain systems.


In order to ensure safe energy and cable guidance, the specialist for railway technology, Corus Rail (now Tata Steel), was looking for a new solution for its total of 17 outdoor gantry cranes and nine indoor magnetic cranes.
Depending on the area of application, the requirements for the systems vary considerably. The steel mill cranes, which are used outdoors near the coast, operate in highly corrosive environmental conditions caused by the salty air as well as salt water splashes, strong winds, swirling abrasive sand grains and often pouring British rain. 
In the case of indoor cranes, on the other hand, the cable solution is exposed to extreme heat when the steel is formed into rails, which calls for particularly temperature-resistant materials. But even the indoor cranes are not completely protected from the changing humidity influences from outside.
As the cranes had already been in operation with festoonings, the project required modernisation of the system. The trailing cable solution for energy and data guidance led to an increasing number of incidents due to components requiring maintenance. In addition to general wear and tear, these incidents were mainly due to outdoor corrosion. At the same time, the components were difficult to reach for maintenance, making shutdowns particularly time-consuming and therefore more costly. Inspections of the system and necessary repair work were therefore only possible by erecting scaffolding or lifting platforms.


Years before the project, several Demag cranes were retrofitted with our energy chains, which are still in operation today. Downtime due to maintenance, Corus Rail says, has never been necessary. In contrast to the festoonings, regular visual inspections are now sufficient for the energy chain solution. 
For the modernisation of the cranes in the current project energy chains of the type E4/4 HD were fitted. In the pin-bore connections of this chain, the load-bearing surfaces have been increased by 120% compared to the previous model. Due to the considerably larger wear surfaces, the strength and service life of the energy chain have been further increased. This predestines the E4/4 HD for high loads in dirty environments on long travels at high speeds.
The new energy supply system was supplied as a fully pre-assembled complete readychain package, and installed immediately on site by our UK team. The benefit: reduced costs for installation time, hardly any loss of valuable production time. 
The chains are filled with chainflex cables (CF310 motor cables, CF9 and CF10 control cables and CFLG FO cables) for outdoor use. Highly abrasion-resistant TPE jackets make the cables ideal for harsh environments. They are UV-resistant, can be used at high temperatures between -35°C and +100°C, and have a very high media resistance to coolants and lubricants. The 90% optical coverage of the shielded cables with a coordinated braiding angle increases the requirement for high EMC safety.

"The readychain energy supply system is functionally efficient, reliable and maintenance-free. Moreover, thanks to the support from igus during installation and back-up, any difficulties are eliminated right from the start. [...] The energy supply system only had to be installed, and now everything is running so well that you can almost forget about it."

Richie Profitt, Electrical Engineer at Corus Rail
Corus Rail steelworks Energy chains for indoor magnetic cranes. The steel rails here are exposed to extreme temperatures during the casting process and moulding.
Energy chain and chainflex cables For harsh ambient conditions: our sturdy E4/4 Heavy Duty energy chain and the chainflex special cables CF9 and CF10.


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