Plant & Works Engineering

Profile roller energy chain "P4" for fast, quiet movement

Published:  05 November, 2008

With the development of the roller energy chain more than 10 years ago, igus has successfully designed a safe solution for the transmission of energy and data for cranes. Since then, energy chain systems have been proving their abilities in even the toughest of crane applications the world over. Since 2006, the numbers of large shipyard cranes being equipped with energy chains from igus has run into double figures. In June 2008, the 375th ship-to-shore crane was equipped with an igus energy chain. So far, in the field of RTGs and RMGs the company has now equipped more than 2,500 cranes world-wide.


New "System P4" for even quieter smoothness

In view of ever increasing speeds, the demands made on energy chains are increasing all the time. Smooth running properties and low noise levels are increasingly needed, because many ports are moving closer to residential areas as they grow. After about three years of development work and endurance testing, igus now has a completely new generation of roller energy chains available. The new "System P4" was recently presented to the public. "P4" is an energy chain series where rollers no longer roll over one another, and where all chain links have the same short pitch. Endurance tests at speeds of up to 7 m/s have been carried out safely under operating conditions on an outdoor testing facility 125 metres long (which can be extended to 300 metres) on igus' company grounds.


Container crane in the largest German inland port

Harald Nehring, manager for energy chain systems at igus says: "With the P4, we now have a product available that has sufficient reserves suitable even for the fastest and largest cranes currently conceivable. We have already received our first order to install the new system on a container crane in the largest German inland port. In addition, a test is being discussed for the "P4" on a testing facility 245m long in a Chinese terminal on behalf of a customer."


Technical Design: Chain upper run and lower run roll offset on one another

The low-maintenance "System P4", a modular system, makes safe energy and data transmission possible over very long distances of up to 1,000 m.  Specially developed for indoor and outdoor crane equipment as well as conveyor systems, it is particularly quiet and hard wearing at high speeds and large filling weights (up to 30 kg/m). Thanks to the use of additional centre links, there is practically no weight limit. The upper run and the lower run of the chain roll offset on one another. This means the tribologically optimised plastic profile rollers are not rolled over. Instead they roll on a consistently wide area, which increases the service life of the chain even more. In addition, the pitch of the chain links is now identical with and without roller, which means the energy chain achieves particularly smooth and vibration-free movement in the radius. The rollers themselves are firmly integrated into the sides of the energy chain. "Auto-glide" bridges made of tribologically optimised plastic that go easy on cables and a special groove system provide a safe guide for the energy chain.


The new "P4 System" is available immediately with an inner height of 56 mm and in five inner widths (200, 250, 300, 350 and 400 mm); bending radii can be chosen from 250, 300 or 350 mm. The inner height 80 mm and central links for "infinite" widening will be available from autumn 2008.