Rocla is a company that manufactures reinforced concrete products around its many sites within Australia.
Recently, the machines that resistance weld the reinforcing mesh together within the reinforced concrete were identified as needing an upgrade. The machine’s control system and mechanical components needed updating, too. The decision was made to move away from a traditional cable festoon configuration to an energy chain system (echain).
This solved a number of problems for Rocla. The cables on the original festoons caused frequent stoppages due to core failure, or worse, intermittent faults due to the characteristic design of a festoon repeatable bending cable in the same spot at the trolley attachment point. An echain gets around the issue by bending the cable along its entire length so the cable lasts longer.
Chilled water used for cooling the resistance welder was also problematic on the original festoon. The tight bend on the trolley attachment slows the water flow. This causes the welds to be of poor penetration due to the temperature increasing in the welder’s windings and could damage the welder. The echain’s radii support for the hose solved this problem.
Not only did the echain system allow for both cable and coolant lines to be carried more reliably, there was also a cost saving on the amount of steel structure to support the echain when compared to the old festoon. Festoons are end fed and require a significant amount of space to park the trolleys when the machine is stroked towards the feed end. Echains only need structure for half the stroke length.
Overall, the end result was exactly what Rocla required. Rocla was able to save more on the cables themselves. A festoon requires a cable length of stroke length plus at least 40 per cent more, while the echain requires half the stroke length plus what ends up getting used in the radius.