What are energy chain system and the advantages?

Vishaka Upreti | 15 January 2021

The term e-chain is closely related to the terms drag chain, energy chain and energy supply system or energy guiding chain or even cable guidance systems. 

The e-chain describes a product that safely carries cables or even hoses,  over a certain distance. They ensure the dependable supply of energy, data and signals while in constant motion. They were developed to guide and protect. igus® has been developing, producing and testing polymer energy chains since 1971. There are energy chains made of plastic or metal (steel or aluminium) and of a combination of both materials, the so-called hybrid chains.


There are different types and versions of energy chains to meet different requirements. For example, there are completely enclosed versions that withstand external influences such as dirt or swarf and still guarantee the function of the machine. Variants specifically designed for multiple directions of movement, such as on robots, are also common, as are special materials, that prevent static charges or are suitable for food processing areas (FDA).

Variety of energy supply systems

Energy chains are described as one of the most modular possibilities of energy supply systems. There are other possibilities, such as festooning (cable loops), which are often seen on cranes in ports and so on. With festoonings, cables “hang” freely and loosely on cranes in wind and weather. There are also motor cable drum, busbar, busbar systems or inductive transmission. Here, for example, it is rather difficult to carry air or liquids, even light waves, whereas in an energy chain it can simply be carried along with data and signals.

The latest generations of energy chains focus especially on very easy assembly and filling. In addition, noise reduction, increased stability and lower weight are also important.

Saving installation time and costs: An energy chain that can be opened and closed in seconds without tools plays out its advantages here.

Reduction of the noise level of the entire plant/machine: Smooth operating energy supply systems are often the first choice here.

Small installation spaces and dimensions of the machines/plant: Smaller energy supply systems with the same or higher stability than their predecessors demonstrate their advantages here.

Higher dynamics of machines/plant: Reduced moving masses due to lighter energy supply systems are a topic here.

The latest generation of energy supply systems should always be considered for new and innovative machines and systems. E4Q from igus® – one of the latest generations of e-chains.


  • Cable-friendly due to smooth contours
  • Many options in terms of movement and length
  • Low weight, modular, strong, quiet, easy to open
  • Energy, data, FOCs, oil and air guided in one system
  • Configure online
  • Predictable service life
  • Little easy-to-perform maintenance, easy to install
  • Large catalogue of standard items
For any queries, please feel free to contact Kaushik S R, kramanujachar@igus.net: +91 9341635593
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