Energy chain in a gantry machine for metal processing in a small installation space

A vertical-design E4/4 energy chain is used in a heavy duty gantry machine

With this gantry system, a space problem was solved with a simple trick: there was only 20cm of installation height available for the cable guidance, too low for a conventional energy chain. But lying on its side, the space is sufficient. However, it was only possible with the simultaneous installation of a supporting stacker module including a traversing trough on the CNC gantry. This allows the gantry to reach travel speeds of up to 15 metres per minute.


  • What was needed: igus E4/4 energy chain
  • Requirements: small installation space did not allow for a large chain solution
  • Industry: machine tool manufacturing
  • Success for the customer: due to a well thought-out design, a lateral installation of the energy chain could be implemented without the chain end sagging
Other products for machine tools
Gantry machine At the top right of the picture, you can see the energy chain installed on the side, together with the metal shelf and rail construction.


The JIER Machine-Tool Group is one of the leading international machine builders of large-scale plants for metal cutting and forming. For one of its new "heavy duty" designs - a large CNC gantry machine for milling and drilling metal - the machine builder was looking for a special implementation solution for the cable and guidance of energy and signals. In machines for CNC drilling and milling of metals, the chains for guiding the cables are usually installed horizontally. But due to the special design of this unit, it was possible to rule out this common type of installation in advance. The reason for this is simply that there was only about 20cm of installation height available for the chain, which ruled out the possibility of a large chain.
But with a simple trick, the space problem could be solved. It was decided to install the chain solution vertically. However, it brings with it stability problems. For example, a chain tends to sink in at the upper chain bend due to its own weight and the additional load caused by the cables, and to form a depression.


In the large-scale gantry machine for milling and drilling metals, an E4/4 type energy chain is used today. Since the chain has to lie on its side due to the confined space, it was decided to install a supporting tray for the end of the chain. It is essential, otherwise there is a risk of the heavy end of the chain sagging downwards due to the weight of the chain and the various cables. Furthermore, even a slightly sagging chain would cause severe friction when returning to the machine and affect the service life of the cable guide. A rail construction to which the metal tray is attached allows the tray to always run with the bow end of the chain. Also installed vertically on the supporting tray are three nylon rollers which - lying inside the chain arch - allow the chain to unroll cleanly and maintain the arch shape. The sophisticated design ensures that the energy chain can always keep up with the high travel speeds of up to 15000mm/min.