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igus® Ltd.

Caswell Road

Northampton, NN4 7PW

01604 677240

The evolution of the igus® rol e-chain®

igus rol e-chains shown in fast-forward mode over the last 20 years

For around 50 years, igus has been developing energy supply systems that reliably guide cables and hoses and protect them against damage. Whereas, in the beginning, they were almost exclusively products for the mechanical engineering sector, the invention of the rol e-chain more than 20 years ago brought about the breakthrough into other branches of industry.
The technical basis of this are rollers in the e-chain links that enormously reduce the coefficient of friction on long travels when the upper run of the e-chain runs on the lower run. As a result, a saving of up to 57% of the drive energy required to move the energy chain system can be achieved. The noise created is also reduced considerably. Thanks to the design, travels of up to 1,200m and more are possible.

10x longer service life for rol e-chains

More than 20 years of continuous improvement of the igus rol e-chains for long travels and less drive force

The evolution of the rol e-chain

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Order the free "System P4.1" sample and see the quality of our product for yourself.

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Rol e-chain in crane systems

The first igus rol e-chain in Europe with a travel of 130 metres as the main way of supplying power to a crane system.

HD rol e-chain in STS cranes

Heavy-duty rol e-chain used for an STS crane. The "HD version" of the rol e-chain becomes the standard for STS crane applications and ship loaders/unloaders with long travels and high speeds, worldwide.

P4 rol e-chain in crane systems

As an addition to the rol e-chain product range, the P4 is for applications involving very high speeds (<240 m/min) and installations where noise is a very important factor. Where used: worldwide for STS crane systems, ASC cranes etc.

P4.1 rol e-chain

P4.1 – The latest generation of rol e-chains supersedes the P4 and becomes an endurance runner. In the case of ASC cranes, the P4.1 enables the primary supply of power and data and operates at very high speeds (<300 m/min). Where used: worldwide for STS crane systems, ASC cranes etc.

The most fascinating projects with igus rol e-chains

Comparison of how rol e-chains evolved

E400R series

E400R series


Due to rollers in the e-chain links, the coefficient of friction and therefore the drive energy needed for energy supply systems can be significantly reduced. Especially in the case of long travels of more than 100 metres, this is a decisive factor, which led to the success of the rol e-chains from igus.

4040RHD series

4040RHD series


In the second development stage of the rol e-chains, the chain was strengthened at all important points. In the case of this "heavy-duty version", the pin/bore connection in particular was enlarged by 100% while the size of the contact surfaces was increased by more than 30%. As a result, the expected service life doubled compared to the preceding series.

4040RHD series

System P4

System P4


The P4 is a new development stage. It is characterised by the fact that it operates with considerably less noise and vibration due to the double-roller design, which increases the service life of the system. Due to
the same-sized pitch of standard links and roller links, the polygon effect was reduced as well.

P4 system

System P4.1

System P4.1


In the latest development stage of the igus rol e-chains, the use of maintenance-free, tribo-polymer plain bearings in the connection of the e-chain links also considerably lengthens the service life. As an option, they can also be fitted with wear sensors, to reliably predict the expected service life of the system. Compared to the first rol e-chain, the expected service life has been more than trebled.

P4.1 rol e-chain

Fail-safe even on long travels ... with igus chainflex cables

Largest product range with 1,354 cables types for motor, data, bus, and hybrid systems and much more. Specially developed for moving applications in e-chains.

CFCRANE.PUR motor cable


The special cable at the standard rate

  • For maximum voltages and outputs
  • Flame-retardant
  • UV and oil resistance

Find out more

DNV-GL and NEK cables


Certified and resistant to mud and dirt

  • Unique in the world with DNV-GL approval
  • MUD-resistant according to NEK606
  • More than 370 certified products for all types of cables

Find out more

CF310.UL single-core cable

CF price check

A variety of potential savings with single cores

  • First advantage: installation space reduction
  • Second advantage: cost reduction
  • Third advantage: longer service life

Further information


Further e-chain applications

"The evolution of the rol e-chains" (PDF)

igus system guarantee

igus system guarantee

Every application is different. igus guarantee certificates are issued for your application on an individual basis. Ask for the igus guarantee: "Chain, Cable, Guarantee"