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Busbars vs. energy chains for crane electrification

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tech talk Learn more at www.igus.com/info/energychains Though busbars can provide adequate power supply to some applications, they have some serious shortcomings. One problem that busbars cause is downtime for maintenance, as they require frequent inspection. The shoes installed on the collector arms need to be regularly inspected and replaced when they wear out. The system must be powered down to facilitate this changeout. Busbars are also limited in the complexity and type of energy they can supply. On a busbar system, each conductor or pole to be ran requires its own conductor bar and collector. To add additional conductors, extra conductor bars must be installed on the hanger brackets. Due to the space required to do so, it is usually not feasible to install more than eight conductor bars on a single system. This limits busbars to be used only for power or occasionally control circuits. Hoses and other cable types must be guided by a separate system. This is important to consider if wired Ethernet, camera systems or other Industry 4.0 solutions are planned to be used in the future, as they may require wired connection of data or fiber optic cables to a central location. While busbars may have a relatively low initial cost, potential functionalities are limited, as a full rebuild of the cable management system may be required to integrate additional components. Wireless systems can solve this problem to a degree, but they are generally regarded as less reliable and secure than hardwired connections. The difficulties with busbars don't stop there, as they expose bare loaded conductors to the surrounding environment, causing serious safety concerns. This is especially troubling in hazardous or explosive environments. Busbars can experience problems when used to power transfer carts or other equipment where dust or debris are in the air. Problems can also arise if the conductor bars corrode, which is likely in applications installed near seawater or where chemical vapors are present. Energy chains An electrification system that can solve the problems caused by busbars while providing superior performance, in most applications, is an energy chain system. Often referred to as the lifeline of modern machinery, energy chains are high-strength plastic cable carriers that reliably protect cables during constant movement. The systems have been successfully used and tested since 1971.

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