Igus’ roller e-chain integrated for targeted irrigation

The e-chain-equipped irrigation carriage is said to reduce water and fertiliser consumption by 75%.

Rathmakers Gartenbautechnik, a German developer of irrigation systems for horticulture, has developed an irrigation carriage that optimises the usage of water resources whilst protecting the groundwater at the same time. For the safe and compact guidance of hoses and cables, the developer relied on an igus energy chain system consisting of roller chain and guide trough.

The new automatic irrigation system is designed for outdoor potted plant cultivation, and ensures that water “is delivered precisely into the middle of the plant’s growing pot”. By using this new technology, savings of 50-70% “is possible” in irrigation water, plant protection and fertiliser, depending on the pot size, said igus. This also reduces the nitrogen input into the groundwater.

The precision irrigation carriage has a span of 40m, and a travel of 208m. The cables and hoses for the water supply were pulled behind the carriages until now. A loop was created, which required about 2m of space between the carriage guide and the plants.

As a safe and space-saving hose with cable guidance was required, Rathmakers Gartenbautechnik approached igus and decided to design a roller energy chain in a guide trough.

By guiding the hoses and cables, the usable area is increased by 343 sqm. It also increases the service life of the supply components in the system. A 3500R series roller chain with a width of 35cm is used in a guidelite guide trough. The technical basis of the energy chain is the integration of rollers into the chain links to reduce the coefficient of friction on long travels. Thereby, up to 57% of the required drive energy can be saved while moving the energy chain system. The guidelite guide trough is made of corrosion-resistant and polymer.