The ‘guidelok slimline F’ has been developed by igus to improve the ­performance of vertically hanging energy chain cable carrier systems  in fast-moving storage systems, even up to 50m travel.

The most commonly used orientation for igus energy chains in storage and retrieval systems is hanging vertically.

Vertically hanging energy chains

Energy chain applications are increasingly common for guiding and protecting cables in storage and retrieval systems. This is because they offer many benefits over other power supply technologies including:

• The ability to carry a mix of services: power, data, fibre optic, fluids, with no modification.

• The ability to add and replace cables and services easily.

• The physical guidance offered by the energy chain to enforce a minimum bend radius on the cables, and the ability to separate the cables.

• The physical protection of the cables ensuring they cannot contact with and get damaged by the structure, pallets or products.

• The maintenance free nature of the polymer energy chains themselves.

The most important factor for a vertical hanging energy chain to run well in a storage and retrieval system is how the energy chain itself is guided, supported and protected.  If the application involves vertical motion without lateral acceleration, i.e. the crane part of the system doesn’t move horizontally whilst travelling vertically, the energy chain can be installed with minimum support.

However, more and more ­storage systems are achieving higher system efficiency by travelling quickly along both horizontal and vertical axes at once.  In these cases, the energy chain should be guided and contained.

This is required because the energy chain system could sway away from its hanging position under these accelerations and contact on the storage framework or products and pallets stored on them, causing damage. 

One common solution to this problem is to fit a steel guide trough system to the crane mast to support and guide the energy chain as it moves.

However, with ever increasing lateral accelerations needed for higher system efficiency, this doesn’t completely guarantee the energy chain cannot move at any point in its travel.

igus has developed a unique solution to ensure this is no longer a concern for customers building or operating storage and retrieval systems.

The new guidelok slimline F system from igus is a clever solution which incorporates of a series of locking supports to captivate the energy chain at regular points along its travel.

The guidelok slimline F system itself comprises a single bracket unit containing two spring loaded rockers on each side. When the energy chain radius passes through the “guidelok slimline F” unit, the rocker moves away from the moving radius allowing a smooth through movement, then springs back out behind the radius to lock the energy chain in place as it continues on its travel.

The guidelok slimline F units are placed at regular intervals along the travel thus ensuring the energy chain is captivated at any point in its travel.

There are a number of benefits for the end user to the guidelok slimline F system over just using a passive trough support system:

Improved safety

The energy chain being safely captivated at regular points along its travel means it can accelerate laterally and vertically at the same time in any direction with no risk of the energy chain swaying out of its correct area of operation. This in turn leads to an increase in reliability and safety.

Less cost and weight

This is due to the fact that a continuous trough system is now no longer required.  In comparison with a trough required over the full distance of travel, and to contain both sides of the energy chain, this is a significant reduction in the amount of steelwork, weight and cost.

Faster and easier installation

Because a continuous trough is not required, installation of the system is much easier; the guidelok slimline units are only required at certain intervals on the travel. This in turn means faster and simpler installation.

Easy to retrofit on an system

The simple modular nature of the guidelok slimline F system means that it can be easily and quickly retrofitted to almost any existing system.

High performance

The guidelok slimline F system can be used on travels up to 50m long, and for speeds up to 7m/s and accelerations up to 10m/s2.

In addition to the guidelok slimline F and the energy chain itself igus also offers its full range of chainflex cables which are guaranteed for millions of operating cycles in such hanging energy chains. Around 1,000 types are available, signal, power, data, BUS and Fibre optic; with jacket materials allowing for extremes of temperature operation (eg in refrigeration units) or under special washdown conditions. All chainflex cables are from stock and with no minimum order or cutting charges.

As with all igus product, igus engineers are always at hand to assist with any aspect of your application.  Additionally, igus UK offers its igus installed service to fully supply and fit energy chain systems and cables at your site.


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