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The alternative to cable trolleys: energy chain systems

With cable trolleys, the cables hang unprotected on cranes in wind and weather. The cables themselves and the cable trolleys are exposed to varying temperatures as well as sand and salt (at outdoor facilities). The wind often lets the cables get tangled, which quickly results in downtime. igus offers a reliable and modular alternative to cable trolley systems on cranes, which helps you save cable length and avoid downtime. Energy, data, fibre optics, oil and air are safely managed in one system. More than 1,300 STS and over 6,500 RTG/RMG ASC cranes have been fitted with energy chains.
Energy chain system in cranes

What is the difference between energy chain systems and cable trolleys?

We have compared energy chain systems and cable trolleys at a 100m plant:

Energy chain systems

Energy chain systems

In the solution with energy chains, the cables are fed into the e-chain in the middle of the travel. The e-chain is pushed or pulled halfway.

Cable lengths/space requirements
  • About 50% less cable (52m cable length with centre-fixed installations and approx. 100m travel)
  • Approx. 800mm system height
  • About 10% less structural steel (for the cable festoon)

Influencing the crane girder construction
No cable station required
Dynamic parameters
Rolling energy chains can be operated at a speed of over 600m/min and with an acceleration of over 2m/sec .
Secure cable guidance
Cables are safely guided in the energy chain and cannot get caught anywhere.

cable trolleys

Cable trolley systems

In a cable trolley system, the cables are attached at the end of the travel and the cable loops are pulled all the way by the trolley.

Cable lengths/space requirements
  • Approx. 115m cable (115% travel length) for 100m travel
  • About 3,500mm length for the "cable loops", system height approx. 5,000mm

Influence on the crane girder construction
Cable festoon is required
Dynamic parameters
Cable trolley systems reach their limits at speeds of 240m/min. and accelerations of more than 0.8m/sec.2 
Secure cable guidance
Cables hang uncontrollably and may get caught in the crane structure (e.g. by wind).


For maximum service life with optimised design - P4HD.56R heavy-duty rol e-chain

The new heavy-duty rol e-chain meets all the relevant requirements for container cranes of the next and future generations.Longer and longer travels, greater dynamics, short stress cycles, zero failures: in brief, this is what is demanded by the manufacturers of ship-to-shore container cranes for energy chains on the crane bridges. The new P4HD.56R fulfils these requirements - with maximum economy.
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Energy chain systems recommended by us

E4.1 system

E4.1 system High loads, long unsupported lengths and also for sliding applications.

E2/000 system

E2/000 system The all-rounder for unsupported applications. Cost-effective.

System 4040R/5050R

System 4040R/5050R Travels up to 800m possible. Speeds up to 6m/s possible. 

System 4040HD/5050HD

System 4040HD/5050HD Very high stability. High tensile stability (20% higher tensile strength than in 4040 series). Standard for long travels.

P4.1 system

P4.1 system Travels of more than 1,000m.  Speeds of more than 5m/s.  Low vibration and noise thanks to split profile roller

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance Defects are detected before they occur, unscheduled downtime and failures are avoided.

chainflex cables

chainflex cables Designed for use in energy chains. Numerous types of cable with different approvals and certificates of conformity.

readychain harnessing

readychain harnessing Ready-to-install e-chain systems and pre-assembled cables for your machines. No minimum order quantity, delivery in 1 to 10 days!

Selected application examples

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The terms "Apiro", "AutoChain", "CFRIP", "chainflex", "chainge", "chains for cranes", "ConProtect", "cradle-chain", "CTD", "drygear", "drylin", "dryspin", "dry-tech", "dryway", "easy chain", "e-chain", "e-chain systems", "e-ketten", "e-kettensysteme", "e-loop", "energy chain", "energy chain systems", "enjoyneering", "e-skin", "e-spool", "fixflex", "flizz", "i.Cee", "ibow", "igear", "iglidur", "igubal", "igumid", "igus", "igus improves what moves", "igus:bike", "igusGO", "igutex", "iguverse", "iguversum", "kineKIT", "kopla", "manus", "motion plastics", "motion polymers", "motionary", "plastics for longer life", "print2mold", "Rawbot", "RBTX", "readycable", "readychain", "ReBeL", "ReCyycle", "reguse", "robolink", "Rohbot", "savfe", "speedigus", "superwise", "take the dryway", "tribofilament", "triflex", "twisterchain", "when it moves, igus improves", "xirodur", "xiros" and "yes" are legally protected trademarks of the igus® GmbH/ Cologne in the Federal Republic of Germany and where applicable in some foreign countries. This is a non-exhaustive list of trademarks (e.g. pending trademark applications or registered trademarks) of igus GmbH or affiliated companies of igus in Germany, the European Union, the USA and/or other countries or jurisdictions.

igus® GmbH points out that it does not sell any products of the companies Allen Bradley, B&R, Baumüller, Beckhoff, Lahr, Control Techniques, Danaher Motion, ELAU, FAGOR, FANUC, Festo, Heidenhain, Jetter, Lenze, LinMot, LTi DRiVES, Mitsubishi, NUM,Parker, Bosch Rexroth, SEW, Siemens, Stöber and all other drive manufacturers mention on this website. The products offered by igus® are those of igus® GmbH