Igus expands YE hybrid chain series

The energy supply series made of steel and polymer in new large sizes is said to be 50% lighter and can be installed quickly.

50% lighter than conventional steel chains and 50% longer unsupported length than energy chains made of polymers – these are some of the key features of igus’ YE energy supply series. It consists of polymer and steel elements, and is therefore rigid. The company has further added two new sizes to its series of hybrid chains to make it possible to guide large hydraulic hoses and fill weights upwards on mobile crane work platforms and construction machinery.

Cables and hoses on drilling rigs, mobile crane platforms and hoists not only have to withstand extreme levels of mechanical stress but also have to be guided “safely and compactly” upwards along with the machine to which they are attached. For such scenarios, users often rely on heavy steel chains. These, according to igus, involve complex installation work and the risk that the complete chain will have to be replaced in the event of maintenance or repairs. At the same time, a machine shutdown translates to downtime costs. This drove igus to develop the YE hybrid chain, which combines the features of steel and polymer.

Jörg Ottersbach, head of business unit e-chains at igus, explained: “With an inner height of 42mm, the YE is already being used successfully on several construction machines and telescopic arms for unsupported lengths up to 7m. Our customers are convinced by the modular design of the energy supply system and by its ease of assembly and installation. This is because the energy chain can be opened and closed easily.”

The addition of the two new sizes enables longer unsupported lengths with hydraulic hoses and heavy fill weights. The YE.56 has an inner height of 56mm, and enables unsupported lengths of up to 8.5m; whereas the YE.108 has an inner height of 108mm, was developed primarily for drilling rigs and can guide heavy and large hydraulic hoses as well as cables up to 9.5m upwards.

The supporting chain links of the YE series are made of steel to ensure rigidity, whereas the pin/bore connection, the outer links and the crossbars are made of a tribologically-optimised polymer. The chain is therefore rigid, structurally stable due to its undercut design. As a result of the lower weight, higher fill weights on the cantilever arm of mobile crane work platforms can be achieved.

And due to the use of polymer, 22% less energy is needed to manufacture the hybrid chain, igus reported. The modular design of the YE also eliminates the need for screws, rivets or bolts that could become loose when vibrations occur. Cables can be replaced due to the openable crossbars and, for the interior of the energy chain, igus supplies interior separation elements that minimise wear on cables and hoses.

The energy supply system is also available as a ready-to-connect, harnessed ready-chain system with chain-friendly and tested chainflex cables, hydraulic components, hoses and hose fittings.