When is it time to go beyond standard chain?
For many applications, standard chains are able to deliver the required level of performance and wear to ensure cost-efficient and reliable operation. However, sometimes a standard chain is not enough to address the requirements of the operating environment, which can range from harsh environmental conditions to strict production guidelines. Selecting a chain that is unmatched to the challenges it operates under can quickly translate to reduced wear life, unplanned maintenance and increased costs.
When a chain can’t deliver the reliability and performance needed, selecting one that has been designed to meet specific operating challenges can help eliminate downtime and improve productivity.
Here we outline three common problems that are easy to overcome by selecting a solution chain instead of a chain designed for conventional operating conditions.
1. Exposure to dirt and dust causes the chain to wear out quickly
Most standard chains are not designed to withstand regular exposure to significant amounts of dust and debris. This makes achieving reliable and safe operation a challenge in a range of applications where contact with them is unavoidable, such as in construction machines or on brick and tile manufacturing lines. Without appropriate design considerations, for example when it comes to the bearing areas between pins, bushes and plates, exposure will accelerate the wear rate of the chain. There are also a number of other requirements chains used in harsh environments often need to meet, such as withstanding heavy/shock loads or operating with irregular maintenance, that make many standard chains unsuitable.
Opting for a solution chain can help address these issues. Abrasion resistant chains that are built of resilient and durable components, such as Renold’s Sovereign, are developed with these challenges in mind and can therefore offer performance and features far beyond the scope of standard chains. Sovereign, for example, is able to provide enhanced abrasion resistance thanks to its special surface treatment and pins that are optimised for hardness. It can offer multiple times longer wear life compared to standard chains, making it ideal for situations where maintenance is a challenge.
2. Lack of lubrication damages the chain
In abrasive-free environments, regular lubrication is key to optimising the wear life of most standard chains. However, this can be a problem in some industries, such as food and pharmaceutical production, where operators don’t want to use lubrication for fear of contaminating the product. Yet without correct lubrication the chain will wear out rapidly, in some applications in just a matter of days.
In situations like this opting for a lubrication free, dry-to-the-touch solution can help protect manufacturing processes and keep the production line operational for longer. Renold Syno, for example, is a solution chain which features a bush that releases the lubricant onto the friction surfaces only when the chain is running. As soon as the chain stops the lubricant remains within the confines of the chain, eliminating any risk of contamination whilst keeping the production lines well maintained.
3. Regular washing results in excessive corrosion
Standard chains are usually designed for waterless operating conditions, which leaves them at risk of corrosion if they are regularly exposed to water or have to operate outdoors. Corrosion damages the chain’s component surfaces, allowing compromise of its structural integrity and leaving operators facing a repeated cycle of chain replacements and downtime.
While corrosion is a major threat to the chain’s reliability, it is easy to overcome. Depending on the application, this can mean selecting materials that can withstand the stress they are put under, such as selecting a stainless-steel chain for food service applications where production lines are subjected to multiple wash downs each day. Better durability can also be achieved through surface treatment. Good examples of this are Renold Nickel Plated and Hydro-Service chains: every component of these are individually treated prior to assembly to ensure optimal corrosion resistance. This means that Renold corrosion resistant chains are able to perform for much longer than carbon steel chains, optimising operating life.
Alternative: There are many elements to consider when it comes to choosing the right chain for your application. Our solutions chain grid will help you to take the right decision.