chainflex® Flexible Cables in Storage and Retrieval Units

Storage and retrieval units, or SRUs for short, have become indispensable in modern high-bay warehouses. The requirements are becoming increasingly complex as the degree of automation increases. High dynamics and extreme temperature conditions demand a lot from the components used. Therefore, a reliable and fail-safe energy supply system is particularly important. The chainflex® cables easily meet all these requirements and have already proven themselves millions of times in various SRU applications. Thanks to more than 1,350 different cable types, it is always possible to select the best, and at the same time, most cost-effective cable.

What should you consider when selecting cables for storage and retrieval units?

The applications in which cables are used are as varied as the SRUs. Therefore, several factors must be considered when selecting the right cable. Does the system move horizontally or vertically? Are the energy chains used unsupported or gliding? What speeds and accelerations must the cables withstand? At what ambient temperature is the system operating in? How many movements are expected during the service life of the device? All these aspects must be taken into account; only then can we find the ideal solution for chainflex® cables in SRUs. This not only applies to the price of the cable, but also to its service life because nothing is more expensive than a system failure that could have been prevented by choosing the right cable. One way to determine the service life of a cable in advance is by using our service life calculator.

What are the differences between the types of chainflex® cables?

With more than 1,350 different cable types, chainflex® offers the most diverse range of cables for moving applications on the market. Let’s take the family of servo cables. It is used in almost every SRU. The user can choose between four different outer jacket materials: PVC, iguPUR, PUR and TPE.

Are there examples of cables in storage and retrieval units?

If the SRU has to travel nine meters, travels at a speed of 5m/s, and is operated in a normal ambient temperature of, for example, 59° – 68°F, a CF210.UL cable can be used without any problems. The cable has a PVC outer jacket and has no inner jacket. This cable is ideally suited for moderate applications and – like all chainflex® cables – has a guaranteed service life of up to 10 million double strokes or four years. However, if the same SRU is used in an application that covers a long travel of 50m, for example, a cable must be selected that is equipped with an inner jacket. Due to the higher stress caused by the long travel, a cable with an inner jacket offers more protection for the cores. Thus, the dreaded corkscrew can be prevented. If the same SRU is used in a cold store, the ambient temperature will naturally also change. In order to select a fail-safe and low-maintenance cable, a different jacket material should be used in these applications. The jacket materials PUR and TPE have proven themselves millions of times over. Both in our in-house test laboratory and in various customer applications. The TPE servo cable CF29.D is used, among other things, in SRUs that are operated in ambient temperatures as low as -31° F.


Cables in SRUs must meet a number of requirements, such as long or short travel and extreme temperatures. It is important to match the cable perfectly to the respective application. The chainflex® cable range always offers the right solution for your SRU. The cables have been optimally developed for use inside energy chains and are already being used in countless SRUs. In addition to the chainflex® cable range, igus® also offers complete systems for your storage and retrieval unit. Learn more about our solutions for the material handling industry here, or contact us with any questions.