Igus has developed what it claims to be the largest plastic energy chain in the world for applications on offshore oil drilling platforms. The new E4.350 energy chain is wear-resistant, maintenance-free and resistant to seawater and mineral oil. It is corrosion-resistant and the high-performance plastics from which it is made of are lighter and less expensive than comparable stainless steel energy chains.
When the drilling rig is moved on to an oil platform (rig skidding) the plastic energy chains will be able to move 15m up and down during the drilling head stroke (top driving). This guarantees the heavy hydraulic cables are guided and protected. Igus presented the E4.350 energy chain at the Hanover Fair for many such tough tasks in conditions dominated by ice, wind, storm, salt water, oil and drilling mud. The energy chain has an internal height of 350mm and a variable inner width of 200mm to 1m, giving a large internal capacity. Cables and hoses with a diameter of up to 300mm are guided stably by the plastic chain, with a potential fill weight of more than 100kg/m.
The special design of the E4.350 ensures extremely high torsional stiffness and stability. Thanks to an interlocking tongue-and-groove bolted joint, the links move easily. Additionally, a special inner/outer link design ensures a straight run and quick assembly, especially when compared with steel alternatives. Integrated sliding surfaces, larger wear surfaces and particularly strong stop-dogs ensure a very long service life. Even gliding use is possible for very long travel distances. Centre links increase stability even more and make it possible to extend the width of the energy chain almost without limit. Other special designs are possible. Finally, there is a comprehensive, easy-to-assemble, modular range of accessories including internal cable separation and shelving parts
Igus says the E4.350 series will be available in 2009.