Which roller chain applications are best for the biomass industry?
Biomass facilities rely on being able to consistently generate power round the clock, 24/7. However this need for continual operation can make the cleaning, lubrication and maintenance of roller chain much more of a challenge.
Any period of downtime – whether it’s for planned maintenance or as the result of an unplanned outage – has the potential to cause major disruption and incur huge expense.
So what’s the best roller chain solution to reduce planned maintenance time and avoid costly unplanned outages?
If you’re finding that corrosion, reduced roller chain service life or unplanned downtime are impacting on your plant’s productivity then maintenance free self-lubricating chain (often referred to as lube free chain) could provide the answer.
Whenever lubricated roller chain is used in the biomass industry it is at risk of becoming contaminated – whether that’s due to organic particles in the air or through direct contact with debris from scrap wood, straw, manure, debris or waste residue.
To reduce the risk of operational disruption or equipment failure, it can be tempting to use either steam jet equipment or cleansing agents. The problem though is that this frequent cleaning also serves to degrease the chain and to increase the rate of roller chain wear.
The cleaning process can often leave behind excess water and cleaning fluids that sit in the roller chain bush, roller and joint and can lead to corrosion, stiffness, pitting and more rapid roller chain elongation.
Any new lubrication of the chain can also attract debris onto the roller chain surface – and especially when the surface of the chain is dry or dusty. This can then inhibit any additional chain lubricant from penetrating the vital load bearing sections of the chain where it’s most needed, such as between the articulating link plates, and the chain pins, roller and bushes.
When lubricants combine with dust or dirt in the environment they can also create an abrasive paste which can quickly accelerate the wear of the roller chain’s bearing surfaces.
Maintenance free roller chains
Lube-free and self-lube chains are an excellent replacement for standard roller chain drives where lubrication needs to be carried out frequently, but where the processing environment makes regular maintenance difficult, costly or time consuming.
FB Chain’s maintenance free chain comes in three types – sintered bush roller chain, plastic combination roller chain and sealed for life roller chain.
Sintering is the process of forming a powdered material into a solid mass by means of heating but without liquefaction.
Sintered bush self-lube roller chain combines the key features of standard roller chain but with no further lubrication required once it’s been installed.
The chain’s oil-impregnated sintered bushing works in combination with a specially treated bearing pin.
Plastic Combination (PC) lube free roller chain is a totally lubrication free product with corrosion protection qualities which help to prolong chain life, increase productivity and reduce maintenance costs.
Sealed for Life
Sealed for Life roller chain is often referred to as O or X-ring chain, due to fact that the lubricant is contained by tiny O-rings that are positioned between each pin link and roller link plate.
Maintenance free Sealed for Life roller chain is a lube-free chain that can be applied to a variety of conditions, from low to high speed operation and from low load to high load operation.
It has also been known to last between five and twenty times longer than standard lubricated roller chain, even when operating in dusty environments.
Unplanned outages can be hugely costly for biomass facilities. Maintenance free, self lubricating roller chains can play a vital role in keeping your equipment operational and ensuring consistent energy supply, 24/7.
If you’re interested to find out more about how lube free or self-lube chains could benefit your biomass processing then please get in touch with a member of the FB Chain team.