I'm curious about harsh environments, too. My question is: what materials are these carriers made of that lets them withstand extreme temperatures, salty water and chemical exposure and also gives them enough strength to do their job?
For several years I had wanted to sell an organization that does crash testing a set of cable carriers. Presently most crash testing setups use drag cables and a polished floor for them to slide on. On rare occasions the cable becomes tangled, at which time the situation becomes very intense and quite ugly, all in just a few milliseconds.
The challenge of the chain style cable carrier is that it has to function in the " push" mode, so that at the end of the track most of the cable is not in motion, down in the cable guide.. If the carrier ran in the "pull" mode, at the end of the test there would be as much as 450 feet of carrier moving at up to 45 MPH, and then stopping in a few inches. That would tend to reduce the carrier life a bit. So the application is quite critical, and the cost of failure very high, because the actual cost of the crash vehicle is high.
So the response was always "would it run for ten years and never fail even once?" And the challnge was that I did not wish to make a career ending error.
As for the harsh conditions in crane applications, the typical hazrds are dirt, metal chips, salt water spray, rain, lightning, rodents, and gravel. In some applications there is also iron ore, and rock salt. Amazingly enough, one of the better materials is UHMWPE. It is not rodent resistant, nor is it fireproof, but it seems to resist most other types of contamination.
What you will find is that some of the larger cable carrier manufacturers will be willing and able to provide assistance in materials selection, and that some of them may be able to discuss installations similar to your application, which they have already done. Of course the challenge on your side will be to to provide an accurate description of your specific application. Depending on the application, getting an accurate description may be quite involved.
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