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Designing gliding cable carrier systems for large machinery

Tech Talks by igus helping solve design engineering problems with motion plastics

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Learn more at In applications where the fixed point is at the center of the travel distance, low-friction glide bars are installed on the inner walls of the guide trough to allow the carrier to glide at the same height as the chain link. When installing the trough, there are a few key points to pay attention that: • All parts of the trough must be properly aligned • All screw heads must be flush with the trough • The transition between the end of the chain and the glide bars should be as smooth as possible • A solid connection with the glide surface is established Travel speeds and accelerations Travel speeds of up to 32.8 ft./s (10 m/s) and accelerations of 164 ft./s2 (50 m/s2) are possible in continuous operation with energy chains ® in gliding applications. Higher speeds and accelerations are possible in particular applications, such as in crash test facilities, for example, where speeds can reach over 72 ft./s (22 m/s) with accelerations of more than 2,572 ft./s2 (784 m/s2); however, these applications only require a few thousand cycles per year. The acceleration of a gliding application will have a major impact on the possible speeds, cycles, and overall service life of an application. Service Life The service life of gliding applications is highly dependent on the quality of the installation of the systems as a whole. Some cable carrier manufacturers, including igus ® , offer service life calculations based on decades of extensive real-world testing. Between these tests and applications running in the field, igus ® energy chains ® in gliding applications have seen a service life of more than 12 years with nearly zero maintenance. Individual service life calculations are available from igus based on application-specific criteria. For maximizing possible service life and simultaneously protecting against downtime, igus offers external condition monitoring systems, which monitor the displacement forces of an energy chain. This "isense EC.P/EC.B system is easy to install, and offers double security, with push-pull force detection (EC.P), and break detection (EC.B). As of early 2017, beta-testing for the new smart isense EC. W modules (intelligent sensor modules), which constantly send information about their status to an igus ® communication module. Before wear to the cable carrier system becomes critical, custom notifications are sent to allow for planned maintenance instead of unexpected downtime. To learn more about igus ® energy chain systems ® or cable carrier solutions for large machinery, visit

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