Leading conveyor chain manufacturer and supplier FB Chain has seen a 70% increase in sales of conveyor chains over the past year with a large proportion of these to customers in the UK biomass and recycling industries.
“We have always had strong sales within the wood and paper and pulp processing industries but biomass and recycling are relatively new markets for us,” says Peter Church, Managing Director of FB Chain UK.
With governments offering huge subsidies to schemes and companies that will help them achieve EU targets of 15% renewable energy by 2020, new biomass and recycling plants are popping up all over the country at a staggering rate. According to Biofuelwatch 42 new biomass plants are planned for 2012 alone.
In order to respond to these rapid market changes, Hertfordshire-based FB Chain is in the process of widening its product range and capabilities.
“Because chain conveyors in the biomass and recycling industries are subject to more shock and irregular loads than in any other bulk material handling industry, we are having to adapt to provide much larger quantities of welded pin and bush conveyor chains,” says Peter Church.
FB Chain are producing conveyor chains with welded pins and bushes that have tensile strengths 30% higher than the ISO Standard conveyor chains commonly found in the marketplace. These induction hardened chains with a secure welded construction offer a much higher durability against overloading and decrease the likelihood of chain failure and costly conveyor downtime.
FB Chain are also working to develop completely new products with the biomass and recycling industries in mind. One such product is the INNO scraper attachment, made from multi-laminated beech that is a tenth of the weight of steel but with almost the same strength.
The frequent shock and irregular loads occurring in the biomass and recycling industries often cause traditional steel scrapers to buckle and deform, causing costly damage to surrounding chains, sprockets, furnaces and chipping units. Lightweight INNO scrapers, however, reduce the stress exerted on the conveyor drives and simply snap when overloaded. Furthermore, broken INNO scrapers can be disposed of easily and in an environmentally-conscious way in shredders or furnaces.
“Our new INNO scrapers have saved our clients in the biomass and recycling industries time and money. Not only do they not cause any damage to other conveyor components when overloaded, if they do break they can be easily and cheaply replaced which reduces conveyor downtime considerably,” says Peter Church.
“The biomass and recycling industries are quickly becoming a major sector in the UK and it is essential that we adapt to meet their needs. Growing at the rate they are, I see our conveyor chains, sprockets and attachments adapted to applications in these industries as the future of the FB Chain conveyor chain business,” he adds.