Extending the life of the roller chain in your facility is an excellent way to reduce costs in replacement parts and downtime. To do so, it is important to maintain them, and we’ve made a list of quick tips for keeping your roller chain rolling smoothly and efficiently.
Tension & Alignment
Some of the most common causes of premature wear on roller chain and even failure are improper tension and alignment. Too much tension can cause strain on the drive system and sprockets, while too little cause lead to slippage and damage to the chain and sprocket. Misalignment can quickly wear out all components and increase energy output. Calculate the correct tension and alignment during initial installation and regularly make adjustments.
That is to say you shouldn’t just douse your roller chain in whatever industrial lubricant you have on the shelf and call it a day, but rather to make a few important considerations:
- Frequency: How often and how much lubrication should be applied according to specifications?
- Type: What kind of lubrication do you need? Mineral oils? Food grade greases? High-temp greases? Factors such as speed of the drive system and environment dictate the smartest and safest choice of lubrication.
- Method: Again, the speed of the drive system may dictate whether lubrication is applied manually, or through stream, drip, or disk lubrication.
Lubrication is more than just reducing friction, wear, and noise, but also acts as a cushion from the impact of loads, so being wise about it can greatly increase the life of your roller chain.
Choose the Right Parts
For fewer replacements and less downtime, it is wise to invest in higher quality parts at the onset. Roller chain components that are manufactured for high surface hardness are better suited to resist wear and tear. Similarly, properly heat treated chain has higher durability and wear resistance. Lastly, chain that has been preloaded reduces the initial chain stretch that can otherwise lead to issues with wear and efficiency.
Make a Maintenance Schedule (and stick to it)
All of these recommendations and other tasks should be divided into a maintenance schedule that is strictly followed. Whether it is inspecting parts for wear, testing tension, or lubrication, you should sit down with your maintenance manager and team to determine which tasks should be completed quarterly, monthly, weekly, or even daily.