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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

Deep drilling rig with energy chains according to explosion proof regulations

Vibration-resistant cable guidance of energy, signal and hydraulic cables under harsh conditions.

With the TBA 440 M2 deep drilling system, Bauer Maschinen GmbH has developed a system that can drill holes to a depth of 6000 metres largely automatically. As a “walking unit” weighing in around 1000 tons, it is capable of changing locations. The handling system that feeds the drill pipes is supplied with hydraulic and electrical energy as well as control signals via our E4.1 energy chains.


  • What was needed: E4.80 series energy chains
  • Requirements: For a large number of heavy hydraulic, energy and signal cables, a robust cable guide has been developed in accordance with explosion-proof regulations.
  • Industry: Offshore
  • Success for the customer: Type E4.80 energy chains are installed in the three axes of the handling system. Thanks to the extremely robust design, a long service life is guaranteed, even when filled with rigid and heavy hydraulic hoses.
Oil exploration


A leap in automation is imminent in energy production and exploration. There is nowhere better to observe this than in Schrobenhausen, north of Munich. In the factory premises of Bauer Maschinen GmbH, The prototype of the TBA 440 M2 deep drilling rig is running. A world-renowned manufacturer and specialist in drilling technology describes the rig as compact- suggesting that everything in the oil & gas industry is in bigger proportions than in other industries. After all, the TBA 440 M2 occupies an area of 25 by 15 metres and the mast of the drilling unit rises 44 metres in height. “Based on market requirements for maximum safety, increased efficiency, productivity and environmental protection, Bauer used his many years of experience to develop a new generation of automated deep drilling rigs with the TBA 440 M2,” explains Ulrich Schöpf, Sales Director Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific, of Bauer Deep Drilling GmbH.
Measured against the performance of the system, however, this space requirement is actually small. Because the system can penetrate to a depth of 6000 metres - and unlike conventional deep drilling rigs, it has all the drill pipes for this task on board. Additionally, the system is largely automated. A pipe handler is directly docked to the actual drill rig: a handling system that automatically removes drill pipes up to 19 metres long from a finger board and places them in the drill hole. Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Huber, involved in the development of the TBA 440 M2 as a designer at Bauer: “We have implemented the first pipe handler here with fully automated handling of the drill pipe.” The gripper, which is attached to a mast system, moves to one of the vertically aligned pipes, grips it hydraulically and positions it exactly at the transfer point. The gripping mechanism is so flexible that it securely grips pipes with a diameter of 2 3/8 to 9 ½ inches and can position pipes weighing up to 3.5 tons.


One of the tasks that had to be implemented by the designers of the pipe handler included energy supply via the mast system up to the heavy-duty gripper. The engineers opted for a system that is also used in numerous other machines in construction and mining technology. Our E4.80 energy chains are installed on each of the three axes of the pipe handling system. These chains are suitable for outdoor use, not only in drilling rigs of various types (deep drilling rigs, pile drivers, rock and tunnel boring rigs), but also for example, in container cranes and recycling plants. They are extremely robust and equipped with a (secondary) retention mechanism, which ensures a long service life even when filled with rigid and heavy hydraulic hoses.
The chains are suitable for a wide temperature range and, most importantly for drilling rigs, they are not sensitive to vibrations. This is ensured by the “undercut“ - a constructive measure that creates an exceptionally load-bearing connection of the chain links in the truest sense of the word. The interlocking chain links also provide a dirt-repellent outer contour. The separators subdivide the chain interior and ensure an orderly guidance of numerous cables of different sizes. Bauer uses electrically conductive ESD energy chains that comply with explosion protection regulations- after all, deep drilling rigs carry media that have a high energy content and therefore have a potential explosion risk. Some of the chains are arranged horizontally, some vertically and travel distances of up to ten metres. They are essentially filled with large hydraulic cables, which provide the gripper with the required mobility and holding force. Electrical and signal cables for sensors, cameras and lighting are also routed via the energy chains to the gripper or to the respective end points of the individual linear axes.

Oil exploration
Oil exploration
Oil exploration
igus® supported the development of the pipe handler at two locations: in addition to the Schrobenhausen site, the Bauer subsidiary Schachtbau Nordhausen was also involved in the development. From Bauer's point of view, the early involvement of energy supply specialists offered the advantage of using a space-saving, robust and reliable energy supply system consisting of components from the igus® standard modular system. Special, reinforced guide plates are used in some of the energy chains. Overall, the entire construction - not just that of the energy supply system, but of the entire system - is designed to achieve a very long service life with minimal maintenance requirements under extreme conditions. The E4.1 energy chains fit perfectly into this concept. With the TBA 440 M2, Bauer has completed an extensive test program on the factory's 2000-metre deep test hole, demonstrating the flawless functioning of the innovative pipe handler. Thomas Huber: “The entire plant can be operated by two people accommodated in a comfortable cabin: one monitors the drilling progress, the other the pipe handler. “

With the TBA 440 M2, Bauer is breaking new ground and “breaking” is meant quite literally. The system, which weighs up to 1000 tons, is designed as a walking unit. This means that it can move independently on the drilling site - together with a pipe handler and 6000 metres of drill pipe - and can drill several holes without having to be dismantled and rebuilt. This significantly facilitates and accelerates drilling activities for exploration companies. It is therefore not surprising that Bauer is observing great interest in the TBA 440 M2. A first system has already been sold to South America and inquiries for more have been received from North America, among others.

The terms "igus", "Apiro", "chainflex", "CFRIP", "conprotect", "CTD", "drylin", "dry-tech", "dryspin", "easy chain", "e-chain", "e-chain systems", "e-ketten", "e-kettensysteme", "e-skin", "e-spool", "flizz", "ibow", "igear", "iglidur", "igubal", "igutex", "kineKIT", "manus", "motion plastics", "pikchain", "readychain", "readycable", "ReBeL", "speedigus", "triflex", "robolink", "xirodur", and "xiros" are legally protected trademarks of the igus® GmbH/ Cologne in the Federal Republic of Germany and where applicable in some foreign countries.

igus® GmbH points out that it does not sell any products of the companies Allen Bradley, B&R, Baumüller, Beckhoff, Lahr, Control Techniques, Danaher Motion, ELAU, FAGOR, FANUC, Festo, Heidenhain, Jetter, Lenze, LinMot, LTi DRiVES, Mitsubishi, NUM,Parker, Bosch Rexroth, SEW, Siemens, Stöber and all other drive manufacturers mention on this website. The products offered by igus® are those of igus® GmbH