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smart plastics on rail mounted gantry crane | igus


This application is an RMG (rail mounted gantry) crane or also called a rail mounted bridge crane. Due to the large number of cables in the e-chain®, two energy chains installed in reverse are used. The travel on the crane is 113 m.
The customer's wish was to have both a safety system that switches off in the event of damage (condition monitoring), and a preventive system (predictive maintenance), which, in addition to issuing a signal, also gives a maintenance recommendation and the remaining service life of the product.
In this application, the smart plastics components were retrofitted and were not installed right from the start of the e-chain®. Retrofitting smart plastics is no problem, even with existing systems.

smart plastics on RMG crane

The challenge

As already mentioned in the description, a high number of cables are installed in the two e-chains®. This large number also places a high load and stress on the e-chains®. As with most machines, this crane is designed for long and constant operating times. Even short and especially unplanned stops are undesirable and must be avoided. In addition to the desired long service life in connection with the loads mentioned, the most varied weather conditions naturally also come into play. Wind and weather put a strain on the material, but the function should be 100% guaranteed in every season, because the cranes in port facilities have to perform at their best. 
The customer therefore opted for the complete smart plastics crane package and now has full control, overview and safety for the energy supply system on his RMG crane. 

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To meet the customer's demands and all other challenges, 3 condition monitoring systems  i.Sense EC.P (push/pull force detection on e-chains®), i. Sense CF.P (tensile force monitoring on cables) and i. Sense EC.B (breakage detection on e-chains) are installed.
Second, a predictive maintenance system is installed. All systems are coordinated with one another and delivered and installed as a package.
Advantages of condition monitoring:

  • In the event of an incident with an energy chain, be it a bent guide trough, foreign bodies in the guide trough, a blockage or the breakage of a chain link, the crane operator is informed of the incident  and, if desired, the system can also be stopped at once.
The advantages of predictive maintenance:
  • Incorporates the functions of condition monitoring and sends a 
  • Signal regarding maintenance information or replacement of the e-chain®
  • All sensor data can be viewed online or in the company network via a dashboard in real time
  • Retrievable from different end devices/output channels 
  • It is possible to set alarms and to respond to increasing force values on the e-chain® or cables and to plan a maintenance intervention on time.
  •  Values such as temperature, acceleration, speed can be called up in real time via the dashboard    

EC.B Sensor on the floating moving end

smart plastics on RMG crane with EC.B

Assembly by means of support plate on the steel mounting bracket

smart plastics modules in the control cabinet

smart plastics module on RMG crane

Installation right on the top-hat (DIN) rail