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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

Heat and dust: energy supply in adverse conditions


  • What was needed: Pre-assembled energy chains for use in a heavy duty application
  • Requirements: Tight installation space, resistance to high temperatures and heavy contamination, trouble-free operation
  • Product: readychain® harnessed energy chain
  • Field of application: Steel industry
  • Success for the customer: Quick assembly on the crane bridge by delivering the filled energy chains on transport drums. In addition, the very compact chains do not have to be dismantled or packaged for further transport to the place of use.

About slab transport crane:The slab transport crane from BANG Kransysteme GmbH & Co. KG is responsible for handling slabs in the hot and dust-filled interface between the steelworks and the rolling mill. The task of the double-girder gantry crane in Thyssen Krupp's hot rolling mill in Duisburg is to remove, store and transfer freshly produced slabs and take them to the hot holding furnace before they are processed to produce steel strip. With a gantry length of approx. 30 m, a carrying capacity of 32 tonnes and an own weight of around 180 tonnes, the extremely powerful crane is in continuous use. It travels at a maximum speed of 120 m/min along the 500 metre track, which is also used by other cranes. The trolley can travel at speeds up to 60 m/min and the crane driver can move the cab over almost the entire length of the gantry in order to have a good overview of the process.

readychain harnessed energy chain in a process crane

The challenge

For reasons of limited vertical installation space, the entire control system was not accommodated in an external switch room but in the gantry itself.
Furthermore, all components used must be designed for heavy duty operation. The crane is constantly exposed to large amounts of dust and high temperatures. The slabs and the hot holding furnace emit so much heat that temperatures up to 70°C are reached even just below the ceiling of the hall.
Accordingly, the movable cables for electrical energy and signals as well as the energy chains must be designed to cope with the adverse conditions in order to ensure trouble-free operation under the extreme conditions.


Based on the special requirements for energy chain and cables, the chains were designed and supplied as pre-assembled readychain basic systems.
The cables have been inserted but have not been completely pre-assembled or fitted with connectors. Plug-in connectors are unnecessary because the cables are connected to terminals. In addition, the cable lengths for such a special project cannot be determined down to the centimetre. Flexibility is more important in the assembly. Only the fibre optic cables (FOC) were harnessed with connectors in advance.
Given the requirements, the igus technicians recommended a roller energy chain.
Therefore a rol e-chain 5050RHD was used on the crane gantry. HD stands for heavy duty.

Bang crane

This type of chain differs from the 5050R due to its reinforced side sections, additional wear surfaces and an approximately 40 per cent stronger pin-and-bore system. As a result, cable weights – in this case 13 kg/m – can be guided and moved reliably. The energy and signal supply to the cabin is ensured by a rol e-chain of type 4040RHD.
In addition, all movable chainflex cables are equipped with a TPE jacket that can withstand higher temperatures.
The two filled energy chains were each delivered on a transport drum so that they could be mounted on the crane bridge within a short time. Altogether, only three days were estimated for mechanical and electrical installation of the 180-tonne slab transport crane: In a rolling mill, shutdowns can cost a great deal of money.

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