Igus Provides One of the World’s Longest Cable-Carrier Travels

An igus® cable-carrier system with a 1,447 feet travel is being used for two ship-unloading cranes in the Lekir Bulk Terminal/TNB Power Plant in Lumut, Malaysia. Plastic components and assemblies manufacturer igus, East Providence, R.I., worked with Siemens and crane manufacturer Koch, Germany, to develop a cable-carrier system for what is considered one of the longest travels in the world. The location is a coal-power plant, where coal is unloaded from ships by two large Koch cranes, and transported 1.2 miles to the power station by conveyor belt. The terminal has the largest capacity for bulk unloading goods in southeast Asia. The quay is about 0.5 miles long and 66 feet deep so ships as big as the Panamax and Capemax can dock.

An igus ReadyChain®, a fully pre-harnessed cable carrier, supplies energy and data to the trolley and cabin ride. A 732-foot cable carrier is used for the longitudinal travel of each crane. Each carrier can accelerate up to 98 feet per minute and is filled with 45 medium-voltage Chainflex® cables, including CF-Crane, fiber-optic cables, and a water hose, all equal to a fill weight over 4.7 pounds per foot. With a cross-travel cable carrier weight of more than 2.5 tons, the load could only be handled using igus’ Roll-E-Chain 5050R, whose mini-integrated wheels reduce shearing and traction loads by more than 75 percent due to the friction coefficient.

Another igus cable carrier (System E4/4) supplies the drivers’ cabins with 240-foot travel distance and 2.8 pounds per foot load. The cable carrier is equipped with specially designed Chainflex continuous-flex cables, travels at speeds of 66 feet per minute, and accelerates at 1.6 feet per second.

An important factor influencing the system design was the tropical climate, so stainless steel guide troughs protect all the cable-carrier systems from weather and harmful sun rays. The cable carriers themselves are also made from weather-resistant, corrosion-proof polymer material to handle demanding conditions.

With other systems, issues such as drum and slip ring corrosion had caused problems in the past; a more reliable solution was needed. The igus solution is a system that does not require additional driving gears, so greater operational reliability is offered. Another advantage is that only one supplier is required for the complete, fully harnessed system, rather than multiple suppliers for the different components.