Who wants to live forever?
With Murrplastiks new sliding blocks, cable drag chains gain as much as a fivefold extension to their useful life.
The new sliding blocks from Oppenweiler-based Murrplastik Systemtechnik reduce surface wear suffered by cable drag chains installed with horizontal freedom of movement to effectively zero. The sliding blocks are fitted onto the side links in the cable drag chains inside bend. As a result, the chain side links ñ i.e. the chain upper and lower run ñ no longer rub against one another: all wear is borne by the sliding blocks. The cable drag chains thus suffer much less wear: the brunt of it is borne by the sliding blocks, just as intended. The result is impressive: cable drag chains gain as much as a fivefold extension to their useful life. Instead of replacing the entire cable drag chain, as is usually the case, system owners now need only swap out the sliding blocks. Installing the sliding blocks takes just a few moments and does not require the removal of the cable drag chain from the guide channel. The sliding blocks are optionally available for the Murrplastik PowerLine and HeavyLine cable drag chains.
Author: Michael Kobus is Cable Drag Chain System Product Manager at Murrplastik Systemtechnik
Picture 1: Chain side links ñ i.e. the chain upper and lower run ñ no longer rub against one
another: all wear is borne by the sliding blocks.
Load stresses increasing for cable drag chains.
In recent years, mechanical specifications have become much more stringent for cable drag chains installed with horizontal freedom of movement. Problems with increasingly longer travel distances as required by plant and machinery engineers are compounded by a sharp rise in extra weight from control, data and supply cabling and, last but not least, the rising tempo at which modern plant is operated. Particularly where travel distances exceed three meters, applicable mechanical stresses then start to rise exponentially. The consequences:
ï Cable drag chains wear out faster
ï More frequent end-to-end replacement of cable drag chains
ï Downtimes increase as a result of repairs and/or maintenance windows
ï In short: profitability takes a hit.
Picture 2: The sliding blocks are fitted onto the side links in the cable drag chains inside bend.
The sliding block.
Reduced chain wear ensures greater profitability.
To solve the problem, Murrplastik Systemtechnik devised a simple but ingenious solution: the sliding block. Instead of the usual frame bridge interlocks, the sliding blocks are fitted onto the side links in the cable drag chains inside bend. The fully tool-less installation takes a matter of moments to lock the blocks into place. For removal, technicians merely require a screwdriver to disengage the sliding block.
The sliding blocks are 4 mm thick for PowerLine cable drag chains and 6 mm thick for HeavyLine cable drag chains. Murrplastik recommends replacing blocks once they wear down to a thickness of 1.5 mm. As a result, only the comparatively inexpensive sliding blocks will now need to be replaced, instead of the entire cable drag chain. Practical tests show that cable drag chains can gain as much as a fivefold extension to their useful life. Accordingly, the sliding blocks pay for themselves after only a short period of use. As a result, maintenance cycles for Murrplastik cable drag chains do not need to be planned so close together.
Picture 3: Sliding block installation is fully tool-less
, taking just a few moments to lock the blocks in place on the chain.
Its all down to modern materials science.
Murrplastiks engineers developed the sliding blocks using a novel synthetic material specially optimised for low-friction applications while also making full use of the materials science ìcookbook. One key aspect here was finding the right balance for the material formulation ñ hard enough to guard against wear while staying soft enough for a good low-friction profile. The design of the new sliding blocks reflects a technically optimum compromise.
The new sliding blocks in glass-making.
Glass manufacturing is one of the most demanding fields of application for Murrplastiks new sliding blocks. Handling machinery is used to move glass panels around and supply them to processing plant. A core issue for all moving parts in the manufacturing system is the high concentration of glass dust in the environment. As a result, cable drag chains do not merely experience ìnatural wear but also suffer from a ìsandpaper effect between their upper and lower runs. Here, Murrplastiks sliding blocks are a real blessing. Practical experience shows sliding blocks can more than double the useful life of cable drag chains in such conditions.
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