Through our work on British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) technical and ISO standards committees we’ve always been aware of leaf chain safety and the implications of leaf chain wear.
For many years we stocked a plastic chain wear gauge which we gave away as a free product to customers. However, it quickly became clear that this flimsy plastic device wasn’t fit for purpose.
We decided that if we were going to continue to supply a leaf chain wear measuring instrument, we wanted it to be a tool that every engineer would want to have in their toolbox.
The gauge needed to be accurate and to be able to give a reading of precise percentage elongation. But it also needed to be simple to use.
With that in mind, we started to develop the idea of a device that measured leaf chain elongation over a specific number of rivet pins as determined by the pitch of the leaf chain.
Operating in a similar fashion to a vernier slide rule, the aim was to create a device that measured the actual length of the chain, that made a comparison to the leaf chain’s nominal pitch length and that calculated the percentage of leaf chain wear.
During the development of the chain wear gauge, we produced the first prototypes using cardboard, ‘Blue Peter’ style. With a few modifications to the design, we came up with a device that not only calculated the wear but also measured it.
A little more work added the ability to measure the leaf chain pitch and a calibration window, so that it was possible to check the gauge was in tolerance. What was unique about the device was its ability to measure elongation quickly, accurately and with confidence.
The FB Chain Professional Chain Wear Gauge is now the industry standard.
It is used extensively by maintenance engineers and insurance inspectors who appreciate the importance of being able to precisely recognise the amount of leaf chain and roller chain wear in a safety-critical lifting chain.