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FEATURE BELTS, PULLEYS & CHAINS Putting chain specification in a spin


Although wedge riveted conveyor chain tends to be standard, what are the benefits of specifying spin riveted chain for critical applications? Renold Chain comments


Wedge riveting is cheaper and quicker than Spin riveted chain


can cut maintenance and increase productivity


E


xperiencing problems with the conveyor chain at its site, a manufacturer sent an


inspection team to Renold Chain’s Bredbury Service Centre to check on the quality of its spin riveting process and see whether this would provide a better option. The manufacturer was using a large amount


of conveyor chain which was fitted with attachments that had to carry very heavy loads through underground chambers that were inherently dirty and foul smelling. With the load on the chain’s side plates causing them to work loose over time and eventually come off, an engineer would then have to descend into the chambers to carry out repairs. To overcome the issue the company decided


to specify replacement conveyor chain with spin riveted side plates as the solution. Not only would this virtually eliminate the need for the engineers to enter the unpleasant environment to carry out repairs, but the spin riveted chain would also cut maintenance generally and increase productivity.


spin riveting, so is often a standard solution, Renold explains. While it is fine on most applications, especially where the side plates are not fitted with load carrying attachments, spin riveted conveyor chain provides enhanced side plate security. Alec Annand, the manager of Renold Chain’s customer service centre, therefore recommends that all engineers specifying custom designed conveyor chain, with attachments, should consider the benefits of spin riveting as an option, due to the extra side plate security that this provides.


THE SPIN RIVETING PROCESS During the spin riveting process, which takes place at Renold’s customer service centre, the pins are end softened to prevent cracking during riveting and to provide easier on-site installation, riveting and dismantling for customers. The spin rivet itself has a mushroom-like head and provides much greater surface area contact with the side plate – and it is this feature that provides the enhanced security of the chain’s side plates.


Renold Chain www.renold.com NEW LUBRICANT DISPENSER EXTENDS CHAIN LIFE


According to iwis, a leading supplier of precision chain systems for drive and conveyor applications, more than two thirds of all chain failures can be avoided with proper relubrication. In response to this, the company has introduced the CLA (Chain Lubrication Application) which is designed to permanently deliver lubricant to the chain drive and other components with absolute precision. With this, the special applicator, which is made from a high-


performance material, acts as a reservoir via which small quantities of lubricant are continuously delivered to the chain drive at the precise locations it is needed. This prevents too much, or too little, lubricant from being dispensed onto the operating roller chain. The CLA pumps can be operated separately with time control or integrated into the machine’s PLC.


Furthermore, a pump pressure of up to 70 bar means the distributors are able to supply as many as 16 lubrication points with sufficient oil without contaminating the environment and wasting valuable lubricant. The robust special applicators are available in many variants, including custom designs.


iwis www.iwisuk.com


As a vital part of the production flow, overhead conveyors are used to transport vehicle body parts through automotive production plants. Should the conveyor chain break or malfunction, a large proportion of the production line will come to a standstill, and this could quickly spread through to the other processes. Despite this, conveyor chain is often viewed as a commodity product. To help, specialist chains can often survive several times longer than conventional chain, particularly in heavy duty applications. Take one of the UK’s largest automotive assembly plants as an example.


WHY SPECIALIST CHAIN EQUALS LOWER TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP Tsubaki established that the OE chain


in use was not suited to the heavy-duty operation and suggested that a better quality chain would offer a longer working life. However, to add value to the production line, the new chain would need to offer a demonstrably lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Tsubaki therefore recommended its maintenance-free Lambda series of self- lubricated chain. This would eliminate the


The company was having to replace its conveyor chain at least once every 12 months, a problem which was made worse by the fact that maintenance was scheduled quarterly, so the chain could only be lubricated every three months. The chain became stiff and difficult to articulate and airborne particles were causing contamination to build up, causing wear. It would typically break inside of 12 months so, to prevent unscheduled downtime, had to be replaced every third quarter.


need for manual lubrication while extending the overall operation life of the chain. The engineers also developed a special top plate, which was fitted to every second link, helping to reduce chain contamination and protect the chain from wear. In addition, on Tsubaki’s recommendation, the rivets used to secure the top plates were replaced with special, high tensile, screws that are secured into position with thread locking adhesive. Thanks to the Lambda chain, the conveyor system now typically operates


reliably for in excess of two years, resulting in the plant spending less on chain each year, as well as less on maintenance costs and lost production.


Tsubaki tsubaki.eu


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FEBRUARY 2020 | DESIGN SOLUTIONS


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