Trailing cable

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Container bridge in the port of Dortmund. The drooping loops of the towing cable are visible under the carrier rail of the trolley.
Bridge crane in a hall. The loops of the towing cable can be seen in front of the yellow bridge girder.
Reel for winding the drum cable on a bucket wheel excavator

In mechanical engineering, a trailing cable or garland cable is an electrical connection between two mutually movable machine parts.

technical structure

The towing cable is usually carried by ropes or rails on which it can move with easily rolling or sliding fastenings. These cable trolleys or cable trolleys ensure the lowest possible mechanical stress on the cable and prevent twisting or knotting of the cable through their fixed guidance transversely to the direction of movement of the cable. So that the changing distance between the two machine parts can be compensated for, the cable sags between the cable trolleys like a garland .

Several cables are held together with clamps to form flat or round cable ties , which can run in a horizontal or vertical direction depending on the application. More rarely, trailing cable systems are also provided with hoses for the transport of compressed air and liquids or with optical fibers .

Systems, in which the cable rolled up for length adjustment, be used as motor cable drums or spring cable reels respectively.



In vehicles and machines with heavy energy cables, reel systems with motorized or spring cable reels are used. The drum is preferably mounted on the moving machine, but also on the 'mainland'. It winds up the cable from the floor, from support rods or rollers or from a gutter. There are guided drums with an orderly cable run, both with one or many rows next to each other, or wildly rolled up drums (or reels ). The cables are called drum cables or trailing cables. In mining , excavators and loaders are often operated with such cables that are reeled onto the vehicles.

Energy chains, radio links

Instead of trailing cables, energy chains can also be used for short as well as long distances of a few hundred meters , which not only carry the cables at points and thus less mechanical stress and also require significantly less installation space. If only control signals are to be transmitted, trailing cables can be replaced by radio links.


  • In the case of overhead cranes , the towing cable provides the power supply for the winch motor of the trolley and for the transmission of signals from the trolley.
  • The car of an elevator is supplied with power for the control and for the light with one or more flat trailing cables.

Web links

Wiktionary: trailing cable  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : trailing cable  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Electric prospectus (excavator Electric drives), Sennebogen retrieved 2014-04.
  2. Catalog motorized cable reels ( Memento of the original from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Hartmann & König Stromzuführungs AG, accessed 2014-04. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Chains instead of garlands , (accessed 2013-11).
  4. ↑ March without towing! ( Memento of the original from December 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , (accessed 2013-11). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /