What is a festoon system, and what is it used for?

You just received the ok from the higher-ups to get the material handling equipment that you have been telling them is “exactly what is needed” to increase productivity, and make a process safer at the same time. The material handling equipment could be as simple as a hoist or as complicated as a bridge crane…or anything in between. Whatever it is, it moves (some really fast and some really slow), and the traditional options to power or control the equipment won’t work. Festoon systems can be a great option, particularly for short travel distances and if lots of control cabling is required. Festoon systems have been available for industrial applications for many decades now. In many cases, the festoon cable system over its extensive life provides a lower cost of ownership than conductor bar, open copper wire, cable reels, and power cords to name a few. They come in a variety of materials, but are typically galvanized steel, aluminum, or stainless steel.

Key Manufacturers:

  • Duct-o-wire Festoon Systems
  • Conductix Festoon Systems – Now known as Conductix Wamplfer Festoon Systems
  • Magnetek Festoon Systems
  • Hubbell-Gleason Festoon Systems
  • Vahle Festoon Systems
  • Aero-Motive Festoon Systems

    Applications where festoon cable systems have been used:

  • Bridge Crane Festoon Systems – The festoon cable systems can be either for power or control cabling to the crane’s hoist.
  • Bridge Crane Runway Electrical Festoon Systems – These electrical festoon systems provide power to the bridge crane as it traverses along the runway.
  • Jib Cranes
  • Monorails – straight and curved
  • Truck Washes – Hose Festoon Systems as well as Cable Festoon Systems
  • Car Washes (same as truck washes) – much more affordable to maintain than energy chain systems.
  • Firing Range (Hold Targets)
  • Photography studios (hold backdrops)
  • Tennis court partition netting
  • Gymnasium partition netting
  • Mobile Conveying Festoon Systems
  • Gorbel Crane Festoon Systems
  • Explosion Proof Applications (all of the above)
  • “Your Application Goes Here”

    How Do Festoon Systems work?
    Essentially a festoon system uses a track system, sometimes called a festoon track system, mounted along the path of the moving material handling equipment. There are two basic types; c rail festoon systems and stretch wire festoon systems. The c rail track is open on the bottom and has festoon trolleys with wheels that glide inside and sometimes on the outside of the track. These festoon trolleys come in many sizes and shapes to carry hose, round and flat power and control cable, and encoder cable. Sometimes the track is actually a wire. We call these stretch wire festoon systems and they too hold trolleys which in turn hold the same types of cables or hoses.

    The trolleys have saddles that clamp tight around either flat or round festoon cable or hose. Usually there is a cable clamp on the end where the festoon cable or festoon hose is fed. This locks the festoon cable or hose in place. As the material handling equipment proceeds down the path, the festoon trolleys are pulled along (often using a tow bar and lead festoon tow trolley. The cabling then appears to stretch along the festoon track all the way to the other end which has an end stop to keep the festoon trolleys from falling out. When the material handling equipment moves back to the starting position, the trolleys stack up alongside one another and the electrical festoon cable or round hose groups together in a series of loops. These loops are varied simply by using more or fewer trolleys along the track. A traditional loop depth that often minimizes interference with other equipment or personnel is usually at 3 ft (thus 6 feet between festoon trolleys).

    For further information, check out the available resources on our website or catalogs that provide more descriptions for designing your own system. Feel free to contact an experienced application specialist directly, at 866-755-6102.

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