Industrial conveyor systems are frequently required to operate in arduous and demanding conditions.
When the performance of your conveyor chain is key, we often recommend using welded pins and bushes to provide greater strength and improve the wear characteristics of the chain.
If carried out correctly, welded pins and bushes can increase a conveyor chain’s strength by more than 30%.
But if that welding isn’t carried out to a sufficient standard, if the materials aren’t suitable for the process or if the welding has been added as an after-thought, then you could find yourself with a lower-quality conveyor chain that is more prone to malfunctioning and that has a significantly reduced service life
If your industrial chains manufacturer has suggested they can supply you with their own version of welded conveyor chain, then it will definitely be worth clarifying a few things with them first:
1. Do they have an automated welding procedure?
For demanding conveyor applications, the quality and function of the weld is critical.
The use of automated welding machines means that the control of the welding process, the welding temperature and energy usage is all tightly managed.
By using an automated welding system, each size and type of conveyor chain has its own pre-loaded welding parameters which minimises the risk of human error and provides an optimum weld quality that is consistent and repeatable.
Highly-developed automated welding technology also keeps the heat affected zone to an absolute minimum, – ensuring a product with dramatically longer wear-life that will stand the test of time.
2. Have their pins and bushes been induction hardened?
The choice of materials, and the type of production process that is used, needs to be specifically designed for the welding of the pins and bushes.
It’s important, for example, to carefully protect the ends of the pins and bushes from hardening as this improves the weldability of the conveyor chain, the conveyor chain pins and the conveyor chain bushes.
If your manufacturer has case hardened the pins, for example, then this means they will be hard all the way to the ends which affects weldability.
Induction hardening, on the other hand, will ensure that each end of the pin and bush is protected throughout the heat treatment, so it remains easily weldable.
3. Are they welding before or after the chain has been produced?
Another important consideration is at what stage in production the welding of the pins and bushes takes place.
As you can see in this example, this manufacturer has added the welding process as an additional step, after the chain has been produced.
Crucially too, they have welded around the pin so it is sticking out of the chain, which means there is a much higher risk of it catching as the chain is driven.
Another problem this manufacturer faced was that the materials were not designed for the chain to be welded in the first place. As a result the depth of the weld could only be very shallow – leaving the customer with a sub-standard chain that had a vastly reduced service life.
The extreme demands of conveyor chain applications rely on using the highest quality chains that have been produced using the best materials and with the most advanced production methods.
Here at FB Chain we have more than 100 years of material, design and product improvement which has put us at the forefront of the industrial chain industry.