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Lube-free chain promises reduced maintenance costs in food and beverage sector

Home Manufacturing & Processing Food & Beverage Lube-free chain promises reduced maintenance costs in food and beverage sector

BMG’s extensive range of Tsubaki chain products encompasses the Lambda lubrication-free roller chain series, which has been designed for industries where clean working environments are required and where product contamination cannot be tolerated.

That’s according to Carlo Beukes, Business Unit Manager, Power Transmission division, BMG, who said typical applications for this chain are in packaging machines used in food processing, pharmaceuticals and electronics manufacturing, as well as in environments where abrasive contamination is prominent, like wood processing and the paper and packaging sectors.

“Tsubaki’s environmentally-friendly Lambda lube-free chain series has been designed with a sintered oil-impregnated bush, where the chain is internally lubricated to avoid premature wear. This feature extends the operating life of the chain, without the need for additional maintenance or messy external lubrication,” said Beukes, adding that because the chain requires no lubrication, working conditions are cleaner and safer.

“Difficulties encountered with conventional chain for case packaging and secondary packaging equipment include contamination of cardboard surfaces and products, caused by lubricants and paper dust. This gives rise to high maintenance costs and costly production halts for the necessary cleaning cycles of equipment. Added to this, uneven wear and elongation cause problems with chain alignment, resulting in unsynchronised product transport.”

He said the chain is supplied with a specially developed food grade lubricant as standard and this increases chain wear life by 30%, with no compromise on chain strength. “Because there is no need for external lubrication, the chain is kept cleaner, making it easier to specify and install, especially in areas with strict hygiene regulations.

“The microscopic pores in the seamless sintered bush of Lambda chain are vacuum filled with a high-performance NSF-H1 food-grade lubricant. While most of the lubricant is held in place, where it is needed most, a small amount will inevitably migrate to the surface of the chain. For this reason, it is critical that the lubricant is deemed suitable for use in the food industry.”

Beukes said the chain meets all NSF-H1 requirements and can be safely used in environments where there is the possibility of incidental contact with food. H2 lubricants are suitable for locations where there is no possibility of contact with food and H3 lubricants, which are typically edible oils, are used where there is likely to be contact with foodstuffs.

Many industries, including food and beverage production, use processes involving heating and cooling. According to Beukes, Lambda chain, which has been shot-peened for higher fatigue strength, operates efficiently and safely in a wide ambient temperature range between -10°C and +150°C. BMG supplies a special heat resistant series which is suitable for use in environments with elevated temperatures up to +230°C.

The surfaces of the outer and inner link plates are Fe403 blackened for improved corrosion resistance and there is smooth engagement with the sprocket and reduced wear on the sprocket teeth because of the durable roller. There is also a lower risk of chain breakage because the specially selected steel alloy has undergone effective heat treatment.

Apart from the advantage of the extended service life of this chain – which is achieved as a result of advanced sintering bushing and an improved bushing-lubricant combination – other features of this series include easy cutting, a patented ring coining process, high productivity, easy interchangeability of chains and sprockets and reduced maintenance requirements.

The patented ring coin connecting link ensures the chain can be specified to its full chain capacity. This process increases the strength of the link plate around the pinholes to ensure the link retains the same high strength and wear resistance as the rest of the chain.

The disassemble rivet pin design makes for easy fitting and removal of the chain and a special coating on the pin surface enhances long term internal lubrication. The elongation pattern of Tsubaki’s Lambda chain is extremely stable, which reduces the need for intermediate chain and sprocket adjustment and also contributes to increased service life.

The standard Lambda series includes BS/DIN and ANSI drive and conveyor chain with attachments, double and hollow pitch conveyor chain, as well as double plus and accumulator chain with centre rollers.


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