Machine Design
Giant cable carrier keeps sludge moving

Giant cable carrier keeps sludge moving

Plastic links protect hoses connected to traveling pumps.

Sand, silt, and water dredged from Antwerp harbor first get dumped in a circular holding basin at the Amoras plant. A rotating bridge with two pumps that move from the center to the perimeter can be positioned to reach any area of the basin and its four subdivisions.

The world’s largest plastic cable carrier has been installed in Belgium’s Antwerp Mechanical Dewatering, Recycling, and Application of Sludge (Amoras) plant to help process 550,000 lb of sand, silt, and water dredged each year from Antwerp harbor.

Energy Chain cable carriers are modular devices that bend and flex while protecting hoses or cables. Developed by igus inc., East Providence, R. I., they are used on the first major section of the plant: a 1,150-ft-diameter circular holding basin. The multilink carriers protect hoses that run from two high-power pumps mounted on either side of the 560-ft dredging bridge that stretches from the center of the basin to the perimeter. The bridge can swing 360° to get to any of the basin’s four sections while the pumps are independently moved along the bridge from the center of the basin to the perimeter to reach different areas of that section.

The Energy Chain, a plastic, multilink cable carrier, resembles a bicycle chain. It supports and protects the hose that flexes to remain connected to a sludge pump as it moves along a bridge above a holding basin.

When a pump moves toward the center, the carrier holds and supports the extra hose, preventing it from kinking and protecting it from abrasion. Each link of the chain measures 3-ft long and 14-in. wide, with the hose running inside. The links are large enough to give the hoses room to expand and contract with changes in temperature and internal pressures. And to further minimize abrasion and wear, and extend the life of the hose and chain, igus added rollers made of iglide J, a self-lubricated plastic, inside the links to support the hose while letting it move and shift.

The cable carrier has proven capable of supporting the hoses while they carry sludge at up to 2,000 ft3/hr, or about 70 lb/ft of Energy Chain. The carrier is also light enough that structural engineers on the project could use smaller motors to move the sludge pumps and to rotate the dredging bridge. Project managers are also confident the Energy Chain will last the estimated 15-year lifespan for the processing plant.


igus inc.

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