A flexible LCE from FlexTrack

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Joost de Waal introduces an innovative cable engine solution

Linear cable engines (LCEs) are available on the market with various pulling-force capacities. But what machine capacity one needs depends often on the project or product. What if the tensioner available offers too little capacity or is an overkill and able to deliver too much power for its purpose?

A thing most cable engines have in common is the size. They are normally big, heavy and difficult to move around. Another thing is that the hydraulic system on most cable engines does not give the possibility to accurately control speed, pulling-force and squeeze values.

The challenge is how to guarantee that forces on the product will not exceed the given values for the product, and how to prove that the machines have been operating within the limits during a project.

A novel solution from FlexTrack

The FlexTrack cable engine system offers solutions and makes it possible to create the required tension by assembling units, either in a linear or curved configuration. The compact units are easy to install and to operate and offer full control over the forces to the user’s product.

It allows the user to deploy the right capacity equipment for cable projects, either combined or as a standalone unit, enabling a maximum utilisation of assets.

Five units can, for instance, be used as a 10 ton tensioner on one project or any possible combination of 2, 4, 6 or 8 ton tensioners at several projects by changing the number of units in the line setup.

FlexTrack tensioners use electrical servo drives instead of hydraulic motors. All you need on location is electric power. (CEE 32A 3x 400V for the machine and 16A for the control-unit).

Benefits of FlexTrack units

At the same time, this approach gives users a better possibility to control all parameters of the machines and makes collecting data of the process possible and project reports far easier. Pulling and clamping forces to the product will remain within the set limits.

Each unit can deliver up to 2 tons pulling force, a line speed of 0-22m/min for products with a diameter between 10 and 450mm and a clamping force of up to 2 tons. Product specific limits can be set as maximum values in the system and stored under product name or specifications for later use.

Sometimes the rare and unexpected does happen and machines break down. FlexTrack units in the production line can be replaced, removed or added, avoiding valuable downtime.

FlexTrack smooth transfer guarantee

A curved configuration avoids damage to the product. Instead of pushing/pulling the cable around a corner, the FlexTrack guarantees a smooth transfer. It also reduces the space needed in confined areas such as vessels holds or at factory-plants.

Although the system is relatively new, it has been widely used at cable manufacturing sites in the production line, for transport, storage and transhipment purposes and offshore cable-laying projects.

The system is DNV-GL certified and can be delivered in combination with on-line support and a service contract.

Joost de Waal is mangaging director of Azimuth Marine

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