REDwire How to minimize mechanical wear in chains

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Tsubaki’s Lambda self-lubricating chain employs patented oil-impregnated sintered metal bushings to ensure that the pin-bushing bearing area is constantly lubricated.

Mechanical wear is a common issue faced by chains in industrial environments. It’s inevitable — chain links articulate as they engage and rotate with a sprocket, causing pins and bushings to rub against one another. This rubbing causes mechanical wear, which gradually reduces the outer diameter of the pin, and increases the inner diameter of the bushing. The result: the chain lengthens. It’s for this reason that sprockets are designed with sufficient clearance to allow for elongation. But there are a series of steps users can take to minimize mechanical wear.

Minimizing mechanical wear was the topic of a recent blog post by Tim Morrison, a technical support manager with Tsubaki of Canada. In the article, Morrison highlights steps users can take to minimize wear. These include:

  • Make sure that the chain is properly sized for the application. Properly sized, installed and maintained chains should provide 15,000 operating hours before the elongation limit is reached.
  • Ensure the shafts are parallel and the sprocket faces are aligned.
  • Ensure that sufficient slack is maintained on the non-tension side of the chain.
  • Clean the chain periodically to ensure that lubrication gets to the critical pin-bushing bearing area.
  • Lubricate the chain with a suitable oil based on the horsepower rating.

The importance of proper lubrication cannot be understated, says Morrison.  

“When a chain reaches its elongation limit, the roller will start to ‘crawl’ up the working face of the sprocket tooth. This will lead to tooth jumping and ultimately chain failure,” he explains.

If operating in an application where lubrication is not desired or possible, Morrison recommends using Tsubaki’s Lambda self-lubricating chain, which employs patented oil-impregnated sintered metal bushings to ensure that the pin-bushing bearing area is constantly lubricated. The chain is designed to provide seven to 14 times the life when compared to a standard non-lubricated chain.

Using proper lubrication or the Lambda self-lubricating chain is essential to minimizing the type of wear that results in chain failure and the significant costs associated with downtime, unscheduled maintenance and replacement. 

To learn more, contact Tsubaki of Canada

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