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Heat and dust: energy supply in adverse conditions

readychain® energy chain from igus used on process crane
Thyssen Krupp's hot rolling mill in Duisburg has started using a very powerful process crane. A slab transport crane from BANG Kransysteme GmbH & Co. KG is responsible for handling slabs in the hot and dust-filled interface between the steelworks and the rolling mill. The supply of energy and signals to the trolley and cab is ensured by heavy-duty igus® energy chains supplied preassembled as basic readychain® systems.

Crane systems

The process crane can lift up to 32 tonnes and is responsible for the transportation of slabs in a hot rolling mill.

Crane systems  

Recently built by BANG Kransysteme GmbH & Co. KG and delivered on seven heavy-load haulage vehicles, the crane is made up of very heavy duty parts - from its wheels to its load magnet.
An extremely powerful and robust crane
The task of the double-girder gantry crane in Thyssen Krupp's hot rolling mill in Duisburg is to remove, store and transfer freshly produced slabs and take them to the hot holding furnace before they are processed to produce steel strip. With a gantry length of approx. 30 metres (27.5 m), a carrying capacity of 32 tonnes and an own weight of around 180 tonnes, the extremely powerful crane will be in continuous use. It travels at a maximum speed of 120 m/min along the 500 metre track, which is also used by other cranes. The trolley can travel at speeds up to 60 m/min and the crane driver can move the cab over almost the entire length of the gantry in order to have a good overview of the process. Two powerful load magnets on the magnet beam hold the load.

Bang process crane

On the gantry of the Bang process crane – from left to right: CEO Christoph Bang, Yve Kirsch, igus® Sales readychain®, igus® Sales Consultant Denny Woogk and Mike Götzensberger, Project Manager at Bang.


Restricted installation space, high temperatures and a very dirty environment
For reasons of limited vertical space, the entire control system was not accommodated in an external switch room but in the gantry itself. For the same reason, the trolley does not travel above the two gantry girders but between them. And all the components used are designed for heavy-duty operation. Dipl.-Ing. (BA) Mike Götzensberger, project manager at Bang: "The crane is constantly exposed to large amounts of dust and high temperatures. The slabs and the hot holding furnace emit so much heat that temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius are reached even just below the ceiling of the hall. "The motors are therefore fitted with fans, while heat protection plates have been installed at specific points and all electrical components are designed for high ambient temperatures. As requested by Bang, the hoist motor was developed specifically for this type of use so that it performs efficiently and effectively in adverse conditions.

Experience with process cranes and the steel industry
The Bang design engineers are very good at dealing with such requirements, the reason being that the company is active solely in the high-end area of crane technology and has already designed numerous crane systems for such applications. CEO Dipl.-Ing IWE Christoph Bang: "We only develop and build process cranes that are mainly used in the steel industry and in pressing plants of the automotive industry. The company has a large vertical range of manufacture. Like the control system, the entire steel structure is produced and assembled on the company's own premises. However big it might be, the crane is nearly always assembled in Oelsnitz so that it is immediately ready for use. The user then inspects it here before it is dispatched to its final destination.
The company, which is located in Oelsnitz near Plauen, has been very successful with this specialisation. Originally established by Werner Bang as a one-man operation for crane service in 1990, the crane manufacturer now has 115 employees and has already supplied all well-known steel producers in Europe with cranes. At Thyssen Krupp in Duisburg as well, several Bang process cranes are already in use.

Care taken in the selection of cables and energy chain
The fact that the moving cables for electrical energy and signals also have to be designed to cope with the adverse conditions on site is self-evident – especially in view of the large number of cables required. Mike Götzensberger: "For the trolley drives, we need cable cross-sections of up to 185 mm2. Despite being complex, the control system does not require very much cabling because it communicates via Profibus. However, the crane is also equipped with safety features such as video technology and a reversing camera, which transmit moving images to the crane cab via fibre-optic cables. The positioning aids and the collision protection system for the opposite cranes also need additional signal cables. “


The chainflex® cables with their high-quality TPE jacket are designed for moving applications at high temperatures.


Electric cables: developed for special requirements
All moving cables have a TPE jacket that can withstand very high temperatures. And they all come from the chainflex® product range from igus®, which has also proven itself in numerous other crane applications.
All the cables of the extensive chainflex® product range are designed for constant movement and a long service life even in adverse conditions. Due to the special braiding, the corkscrew effect and other typical symptoms of wear that occur in moving applications are avoided.

Heavy-duty energy chains – for more than fifteen years
The igus® energy chains in which the cables are guided have been part of the standard equipment of Bang process cranes for 15 years. For Thyssen Krupp as well, this kind of energy supply for cranes is nothing new. Mike Götzensberger: "We supplied the first crane for the hot rolling mill in Duisburg in 2009. It is also equipped with energy chains that function flawlessly even in extreme conditions. “
In view of the requirements, it is no surprise that the igus® engineers recommended a rol e-chain®. Unlike conventional energy chains, it has highly stable integrated rollers. The consequence of this is that the side sections of the chain do not glide over each other but roll over each other. This type of chain is therefore ideal for long travel distances and, even in a dirty environment, its rolling resistance is very small.

energy chain

A heavy-duty rol e-chain® supplies energy and signals.

energy chain

The principle of the rol e-chain®.ensures low rolling resistance even in the case of long travel distances and use in a dirty environment.


Rolling instead of sliding
On the crane gantry, a 5050RHD type rol e-chain® is used. The "5050R" is a rol e-chain® with an inner height of 80 millimetres, where HD stands for "Heavy Duty". This type of chain differs from the 5050R due to its reinforced side sections, additional wear surfaces and an approximately 40 per cent stronger pin-and-bore system. As a result, cable weights – in this case 13 kg/m – can be guided and moved reliably. With this type of chain, which was developed specially for crane applications, travel distances of up to 800 metres are possible. In the case of the slab transport crane, the travel distance is only 13.8 metres (centre mounted) but the conditions here are all the more severe due to dirt and high temperatures.
Energy and signals are reliably supplied to the cab by means of a rol e-chain® of the type 4040RHD with an inner height of 56 millimetres and an inner width of 254 millimetres. This chain is 17.8 metres long and travels over a distance of 15.5 metres.


The crane cab is also supplied with energy and signals via a heavy-duty rol e-chain®.


Supplied ready to install as a readychain® basic
The igus® sales consultant responsible, Denny Woogk, designed the chain and cables in collaboration with the electrical planners from Bang. From the very beginning, it was clear that the chain needed to be supplied as a "readychain® basic". This means that the cables have been inserted but have not been completely preassembled or fitted with connectors. There are two reasons for this. Denny Woogk: "Connectors are unnecessary because the cables are connected to terminals. And in such a special project, it is not possible to determine the cable lengths to the exact centimetre. Flexibility is more important. We only fitted the fibre-optic cables with connectors. “
The two populated energy chains were each supplied on a transport drum so that they could be installed on the crane gantry in a short time. In addition, the very compact chains do not have to be dismantled or packaged for further transport to the place of use. For these

Crane systems

The chains are delivered as readychain® basic chains – filled with cut-to-length cables but without connectors. This ensures sufficient flexibility during installation.


Complete installation in three days
Altogether, only three days are estimated for mechanical and electrical installation of the 180-tonne slab transport crane: in a rolling mill, shutdowns can cost a great deal of money. The persons responsible at Bang are confident that this time window will be sufficient. They are well prepared for the new crane and the moving cables do not have to be installed on site. Nevertheless, it is intended that the crane will be in use for a long time in spite of the tough ambient conditions and the high levels of stress. Christoph Bang: "Our new crane replaces one that has been working there since the 1950s. " This shows just how high the requirements regarding the service life of the energy chain and cables are.

More information:

e-chain® Przegląd aplikacji

Przegląd zastosowań e-chain system®

e-chain® Przegląd aplikacji