The first hybrid chain is now available in two new sizes – designed by plastics expert igus for construction machinery and lifting equipment.
These YE hybrid chains, made of polymer and steel, are 50% lighter than conventional steel chains and can safely move large hydraulic hoses and high fill weights vertically on both mobile crane platforms and construction machinery.
Justin Leonard, energy chain director at igus, said: "The challenge for our design team was to develop the longest possible chain at the lowest possible weight, and they succeeded.
“Cables and hoses on drilling rigs, mobile crane platforms and hoists not only have to withstand extreme levels of mechanical stress but also have to be guided along with the machine they are attached to. In these cases, companies have historically relied on heavy steel chains, but these are heavy, expensive and take a long time to install with the risk that the entire chain will have to be replaced whenever maintenance or repairs are undertaken.
“Our YE hybrid chains, now available in two new sizes, use the optimum mix of lightweight plastic and tough steel, and can handle supported and vertical travels. They are also simple to assemble and install and easily opened and closed.”
The new YE.56 is 56mm inner height and can carry unsupported lengths of up to 8.5 metres.
The YE.108, which is 108mm inner height, has been developed specifically for drilling rigs and can safely guide and support heavy and large hydraulic hoses and cables up to 9.5 metres.
Polymer and steel – a light and structurally stable combination
What makes the YE series so special is the fact that its supporting chain links are made of steel, whereas the pin/bore connection, outer links and crossbars are made of a tribologically optimised high-performance polymer.
The chain is rigid, and, thanks to its undercut design, it is torsionally stable. Also unique is that it is up to 50% lighter than conventional steel chains and can therefore safely move higher fill weights on a cantilever arm of a mobile crane platform for example.
Its use of polymer means it takes 22% less energy to manufacture and its modular design means there is no need for any screws, rivets, or bolts – which can become loose when operating under vibration.
Cables can be replaced quickly due to the easy-to-open crossbars and it has also been designed to minimise wear on cables and hoses.
The YE series is also available as a ready-to-connect, harnessed readychain system with chain-friendly and proven chainflex cables, hydraulic components, hoses, and hose fittings. All chainflex cables are offered with a unique worldwide guarantee of 36 months, thanks to the rigorous testing carried out in igus’ in-house 3,800 square metre test laboratory.