self lube roller chain informationWhat is self-lube chain?  When most people refer to self-lube chain they are often thinking about a chain that has a bush made from a material that slowly releases lubrication over the service life of the chain.  We refer to these chains as sintered bush chains, not self-lube chains and they are one of three ranges of low maintenance, self-lube chains. The other two are plastic combination roller chain and sealed for life roller chain.  

The earliest self-lube chains did not have a roller due to the sintered material being weaker than the steel in standard chain roller so the bush diameters were increased which increased the strength of the sintered materials.  The bushes did not rotate when engaging with the sprockets and in many applications were damaged as the chain speeds and load were too high for a self-lube chain without a roller.

As the sintered process developed, roller chain bushes could be made small and strong enough to fit inside a standard size chain roller which meant that self-lube chains performance started to approach the levels of a standard steel roller chain with the added benefit of not requiring any lubrication. 

Many companies that experience problems with chain drives are pointed towards self-lube chains as the answer to all their chain problems but to get the best from self-lube chains, operating speeds should be in the range of 25m/min to 75m/min and the ambient temperature should be below 80⁰C. If it is a higher temperature there is a possibility that the lubrication will start to weep from the sintered material. Running a self-lube chain in water can also lead to rapid wear. 

Although self-lube chains offer a number of benefits over standard roller chains, in dusty environments certain types and size of dust entering the sintered bushings can also impact on the wear rates. Stop start applications and chains experiencing shock load, may therefore not be appropriate for self-lube chains however this can be overcome by increasing the chain sizes selected.