Drag chains: Material matters
21 June 2018
The drag chain range offered by Kabelschlepp Metool includes steel cable carriers as well as plastic and hybrid systems. These are used in machine tools, crane systems or complex applications such as offshore oil rigs or space travel.
The specification of a drag chain system is determined by technical parameters, such as dimensional requirements, accessibility of compartments, unsupported travel or the additional loads to be managed. However, there are many more determinants to consider in the choice of materials. The effect of certain operation conditions, options available, whether higher investment is balanced by reduced down times is a vast field for users.
Kabelschlepp Metool says standard plastic drag chains have proven successful in a temperature range from -30 to over 100°C. Some special applications, however, present specifications which can only be met by special plastics. These include:
- customised explosion protection solutions
- heat protection components
- closed cable carriers preventing red-hot chips from entering or damaging the cable carriers
- clean room requirements
However, Kabelschlepp Metool explains that plastic cable carriers are not suitable for every application and says steel chains are better for
- extremely rough environmental conditions
- very high temperatures
- high mechanical loads
- aggressive atmosphere
Hybrid chains are a powerful material combination that combine the benefits of both steel and plastic chains. The side bands consist of steel or plastic while the cables are guided by an aluminium stay system.
The advantages are said to be:
- easy access to the inserted cables
- increased width variability by mm increments
- large cable chain widths without installation of additional side bands
- reduced cable wear and increased service life of the cables
Whether steel, hybrid or plastic: materials are determined by the customer's application. Different materials in the product portfolio mean that Kabelschlepp Metool is prepared for any sophisticated application and offers impartial advice. The company believes that, today, there is an ideal solution for any individual challenge – whether in standard widths or adapted to customer requirements in millimetre increments.
The complete range of products and accessories comprises more than 100,000 variants from stock and consists of matching accessories starting from cables, clamps, guide channel systems up to complete systems ready to install.