What are the advantages of hybrid chains compared to steel chains?

Marco Thull | 4. July 2019

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It is a challenge to run energy, data and media cables in machines with inclined axes. The means of choice in the past: steel chains. Their biggest drawback, however: they are heavy. The constant vibration leads to massive wear in the area of the bolts. Time and again, there is a deformation of the crossbars, leading to detachment of individual chain links and a twisting of the energy chain, causing damage to the cables by sharp edges. Rust is also an adversary in standard steel energy chains. If corrosion occurs at joints, the energy supply becomes stiff. After a short time, malfunctions and plant shutdowns are imminent. In addition, steel chains are complicated to repair. Not infrequently, the user throws the entire chain, including installed cables and hoses, as scrap.
 
The alternative: Lubrication-free hybrid chains that are increasingly used in forklifts, lifting platforms and telescopic lifts. They combine the best properties of steel and plastic. They are light, about 50 percent lighter than steel chains. And maintenance-free. Usually the chains run for years without intervention – only a regular visual inspection is necessary. Repairs and the replacement of cables and hoses are done quickly. The outer plates can be opened in a few simple steps, and individual chain links simply put together.

And despite the light weight, hybrid chains bring the necessary stability for cable guidance in machines with inclined axes. Because their inner plates are made of steel. In case of load, the undercut design interlocks to further increase tensile strength absorption and stability. Thus, with an additional load of 2kg/m, e.g. implementing an unsupported length of over 10m at a 75 degree inclination.

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