Lubricants Lubrication Reliability & Maintenance Center

Properly Lubricate Conveyor Chains

EP Editorial Staff | December 1, 2021

Consistent chain maintenance is essential for reliable asset performance.

The most critical part of a chain-driven conveying system is the chain.

Assuming the chain is of good quality, it could be easily argued that the most important factors in chain performance are cleanliness and lubrication. If chains are not properly maintained, they can wear (stretch), resulting in gear-tooth wear, ultimately degrading overall conveying-system speed and performance, and eventually leading to extensive and costly repair.  

To prevent added expense and unscheduled downtime due to unexpected equipment failure, consider these tips, which will not only keep conveyor chains in tip-top shape, but also help avert accidents caused by broken or poorly maintained equipment.  

Metal On Metal Requires TLC 

Whether it’s roller chains, cardan chains, or trolly forged chains, metal on metal should be the subject of focused attention when it comes to lubrication and cleaning. A good general rule is, if it’s moving, then it needs to be lubricated. If a chain also intersects with other materials such as plastic, polymer, rubber, or composite parts, it’s important to choose a lubricant that’s safe for use on multiple surfaces. Check the fine print on labels to make sure lubricants are safe for metal and non-metal parts.  

Consider The Environment 

The environment in which a business operates plays a big role in which lubricant is used. In general, dry lubes are best in environments that are prone to dust. Dry lubes won’t attract dirt or grime and can be reapplied without cleaning. On the flip side,
dry lubes don’t last as long as wet lubes, requiring more-frequent applications. Wet lubricants are longer lasting but can attract gunk and grime and need regular cleaning. Wet lubes also provide superior performance in keeping rust and corrosion off equipment.  

Apply With Precision 

While lubrication is a must, over spray or over lubrication can get messy, wastes product, and requires extra time and effort in clean up. To avoid over lubrication, apply lubricants with precision. Consider using products such as gel lubricants, which go on thick and stay where sprayed. Gels are particularly good for use on vertical surfaces. 

Set Up A Regular Schedule For Cleaning And Lubricating 

Stay ahead of potential issues by setting up a regular cleaning, lubricating, and maintenance schedule for chains and equipment. A good way to begin is to create a log of all equipment in use, including key points in need of inspection, lubrication, and cleaning. The log should track when maintenance is done, who performed it, and what was done. When choosing a cleaner and degreaser, look for one that doesn’t contain harsh solvents and make sure to rinse away cleaners thoroughly to avoid degrading any new lubricants that may be applied following cleaning. Finally, check with equipment manufacturers on recommended frequency for cleaning and lubrication, and for any specific guidance unique to your equipment. EP 

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