As the EOT Crane Industry Manager for igus®, I have traveled all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico visiting all types of facilities that operate cranes. During each meeting, I ask one common question, “How is your current cable management system working for you?” I typically hear that it is working fine and that they have no issues -- until I ask these follow-up questions:
- So, for your festoon system, how often are you having to grease your wheels?
- For your conductor bar, how often are you having to change out the shoes?
Without fail, their stance seems to weaken. By considering one of these two questions, crane users start to realize how much more they are spending on maintaining their festoon or conductor bar systems. This is also a great time to inform the crane user about energy chain systems, if they’re not already familiar, and begin to paint a clearer picture of the differences in maintenance costs.
By the numbers
If it takes 2 field techs making $20 an hour 2 hours to grease 1 crane festoon system, that would cost you $80 per crane, per month. Let’s say you have 20 cranes at your facility. That would cost you $1,600 dollars per month, or $19,200 per year, to maintain your fleet. Those numbers do not include any replacement parts, grease, etc., this is strictly the labor aspect. As you can tell, the numbers start adding up quickly (Table 1).
Table 2 describes the same crane fleet scenario but with igus® energy chain systems installed on the cranes. igus® recommends performing two inspections per year which on average will take about 4 hours per crane. Utilizing the same two field techs at $20 an hour, the cost of maintenance would be $6,400. igus® energy chain systems do not require any grease nor do they have parts marked for wear that need to be replaced, so you would only be responsible for labor costs.
The same can be said for conductor bars and replacing the shoes.
Depending on your application, the life expectancy of igus® energy chain systems can vary from 10 to 20 years. For simplicity's sake, let's examine the maintenance costs of an energy chain system and festoon system that each last for 10 years, the worst case scenario (Table 4). You can see that the energy chain would save you $128,000 over that period of time.
We all get complacent with what we assume is working while not really knowing how much it is costing us. Luckily, igus® is more than a cable management provider. We consult with companies to look at how they are purchasing their cable management systems and show them where igus® fits in within their supply chain. We work with a company’s Engineering, Operations, Purchasing and Accounting Departments to evaluate their current processes, assist in streamlining their processes, and ensure that they are getting every bit of return on their investment.
For more comparisons between e-chains, festoon and bus bar systems, check out the energy chains vs. festoons infographic and the busbars vs. energy chains for crane electrification tech talk.
*Assumptions made in the calculation scenario: labor cost, labor hours needed, life expectancy of the systems*
*All numbers used were based on worst case scenarios. While each system will be different, we believe that the numbers will generate even more savings utilizing the igus® energy chain.*