Terms and Definitions




Carrier Length = (Total Machine Travel/2) + Curve Length + Offset

For minimum carrier length, moving bracket should be mounted directly above fixed bracket when machine is in center of travel. Offset is the dimension between fixed and moving bracket at center of travel.

Curve Height (H)

The overall height of the carrier at the loop. While (H) is the designed height at the loop, clearance should be provided above the carrier. This will be true of either metal or plastic carrier to account for built-in camber. Cable carriers have a positive camber or pre-tension designed into the links in order to provide additional self-supporting length in horizontally oriented applications. This camber adds to the clearance required above the track. (See “Recommended Clearance” specification). In applications with limited space or non-horizontal orientations, this camber can be reduced or eliminated. For details, including any resulting reductions in unsupported span, please contact your ALCO representative.

Carrier Bend Radius (R)

Minimum bend radius of the cable and hose carrier should be larger than the recommended bend radius of the stiffest cable or hose installed in the carrier. Consult with cable or hose manufacturer for recommended bend radius.

Curve Length (CL) = (π x Radius ‘R’) + (Pitch x 2)

Curve length is dependent on radius and link pitch – refer to Series specifications.


Refers to the distance between the pivot point centerlines of adjacent links.

Depot (K)

The centerline from the first link pivot point to the end of the carrier in retraction.


The total weight of the cables and hoses within the carrier. This is usually called out in pounds per foot. If hoses will contain liquid, please include that weight.

Maximum Speed

The maximum velocity of the moving end of the carrier during its travel.

Maximum Acceleration

The maximum acceleration of the moving end of the carrier during its travel.

Unsupported Span

Every carrier has an unsupported span. This span is a condition of link construction and the fill weight of the cables and hoses being carried. As the unsupported span of the carrier is exceeded, the carrier begins to sag. We will recommend proper support guidance when carrier fill weight exceeds its free carrying length. Refer to Series specifications for load charts.

Metal vs. Plastic Carriers

We offer plastic, metal and hybrid carriers to satisfy the broadest range of applications. In general, use steel carriers with elevated operating temperatures or when heavy loads exceed the maximum unsupported travel of plastic carriers. Use steel carriers with lower speeds; however, higher speeds have been achieved with control of acceleration and deceleration. Plastic carriers are usually the first choice in applications requiring higher speeds and accelerations and long travel.

Steel Link Carriers have the highest strength-to-weight ratio and maximum unsupported span capability. We offer several lightweight steel carriers that are competitively priced with plastic, while providing significantly greater strength than similar-sized plastic carriers.

Open-Style vs. Enclosed- Style Carriers

We offer both open and enclosed style options. Open-style carriers provide easy cable/hose inspection, while enclosed-style carriers offer protection from damaging outside elements such as hot chips.