Heat and dust: These are just two components that arise during sheet metal production. On top of that, there is plenty of waste tinder. In these harsh operating conditions, a pre-assembled energy supply system reaches its full potential. It handles a travel of almost 100 m, offers long service life and thus guarantees operational reliability. The plastic energy supply system need not fear comparison with a comparable solution made of steel; it copes very well in the difficult environment.
The voestalpine Grobblech GmbH, a 100 % subsidiary of voestalpine Stahl GmbH, processes approx. 10 % of the crude steel produced at the Linz/Austria site into high-quality heavy plate with 630 employees. In one project, the on-site slab pit furnace drawing plant had to be equipped with an energy supply system. To be more precise, the so-called furnace cover trolley, which travels on the pit furnace with a travel of 99 m, has to be supplied with data and electricity. The traversing carriage continuously travels to all six furnace stations in the plant.
The challenge here was the special environmental conditions in the plant, which place special demands on all the components used. The slabs are heated in the furnaces. When they are pulled out of the furnace, their temperature range is around 1,200 °C. Some of the furnaces are bursting into flames. Furthermore, the customer wanted an energy supply system that would ensure largely maintenance-free operation. Added to this is the requirement for a long service life in the harsh rolling mill environment. If parts need to be replaced due to wear and tear, this must be done easily. "The energy supply system simply has to function during operation without us having to take care of it in any way," remarks the Project Manager of the GTA (Electrical) Department, Markus Scheuchenpflug, of voestalpine Grobblech.
The external engineering office "Buma Engineering", which works for voestalpine among others, was responsible for awarding the contract. For the energy and signal supply, the company opted for a pre-assembled energy chain system from igus, which are marketed under the name readychain. In this application, the complete chain length is approx. 50,800 mm. It was delivered on site ready for connection, including all cables and strain relief on a large drum Specifically, voestalpine Grobblech GmbH uses the series 4040CR as a roller energy chain. The version with crossbars every link proves its worth especially in tough applications. A double stop-dog system in the area of the link connections ensures the absorption of high push/pull forces. The roller energy chain has a number of other advantages. It reduces the drive power to less than 25 % for moving the energy supply system. In this case, the actual drive operates via the furnace cover trolley. In addition, there is the jerk-free operation and the constant travel frequency. The energy supply system has a smooth inner and outer contour - with all the positive effects on the igus chainflex cables used. In contrast to energy supply systems of conventional design, the rolling (gliding) version is predestined for applications with dirt. The four-part chain link system makes replacement of parts extremely easy. It can be opened from both the inner and outer radius. No special tools are needed; a screwdriver is sufficient to open the system. A cable replacement or, if necessary, a cable extension is thus possible without any problems.
For many years, the engineering office has relied predominantly on energy supply systems from igus for its projects. "The potential of the entire voestalpine company is far from exhausted," Dieter Bencer points out. "The traditional steel manufacturer, who naturally prefers to use energy supply systems made of steel, learns about the advantages of the plastic energy supply system in this demanding application. In addition, we present ourselves as a complete supplier with the pre-assembled version. " The complete energy chain system has also been tested in the igus laboratory. "The customer has a comprehensive system guarantee on the guide troughs, the energy supply system and the chainflex cables used," confirms Dieter Bencer. "And should technical problems arise, we can respond quickly simply because of our geographical proximity to the end customer. “