Conveyor chains in many food processing facilities are kept running around the clock. Even if your facility doesn’t run its conveyor chains 24/7, they will still need to be lubricated regularly. It is possible to do this manually, but using lubrication systems for your conveyor chains is much more efficient.
In this article, we’ll discuss maintenance tips that will help you increase the longevity of your lubrication systems.
How to Select the Right Lubricant
The first step in maintaining a conveyor chain lubrication system is ensuring that you are using the right lubricant.
There are several types of lubricants that are used for conveyor chains, which is why it’s important that you select the right one for your application.
Before choosing a lubricant, you must know the operating temperature of your application. The temperature will determine the optimum lubrication viscosity. No matter the type, all conveyor chain lubricants should have a viscosity rating between 150 and 450 centistoke (cST); anything lower will provide insufficient lubrication.
Next, mineral oils are a good choice for most conveyor lubrication applications. Grease may be required for heavy-duty applications, especially those with an ambient temperature of over 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Special high-temperature oils are available for applications where the temperature reaches 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) or more.
Types of Lubrication Methods
The next step in properly maintaining your conveyor chain lubrication system is using the right type of lubrication method. There are four main types of lubrication methods: bath, drip, forced-feed, and manual.
- Bath: This method of lubrication immerses the bottom part of the loop in lubricants. As the chain spins, all of the links pass through the bath.
- Drip: Lubricants are dripped onto the chain by a drip oiler. The drops have to land on the edges of the chain to ensure effective lubrication.
- Forced-Feed: Force feeding lubrication is often used in conjunction with an oil bath. In this method, a tube sprays lubricant onto the chain in a constant stream.
- Manual: Lubrication is applied with a brush, spray can, or oil can. It’s a very time-consuming method, which is why it is rarely used in food processing facilities.
What Should You Use to Lubricate Load Chains?
When choosing a lubricant type and lubrication method, you should look at the speed of the chain and the temperature of the application. Many slow-moving chains that operate at room temperature can be lubricated with manually applied mineral oils. Drip lubrication is often utilized for medium-speed applications. High-speed applications often require the use of drip or forced-feeding lubrication systems.
Why You Need a Chain Lubrication System
Chain lubrication systems have many important benefits. Perhaps the most important benefit of a lubrication system is the lack of downtime required. If you are lubricating your conveyor chain manually, you will have to shut down the machine on a regular basis. You will not need to do this if you have an automatic lubrication system.
Additionally, chain lubrication systems are very precise. It is easy to control the exact amount of lubrication it provides. You can even send different amounts of lubrication to individual bearings. It is impossible to achieve this kind of accuracy when manually lubricating a conveyor chain, even if the technician is highly skilled.
Still Have Questions? Contact DropsA Today
If you want to learn more about extending the life of your conveyor chain with lubrication systems, let our experts at DropsA help. We’ve been manufacturing custom lubrication systems since 1946, and are committed to providing innovative solutions to our customers.
If you would like to learn more about our solutions, or just have general questions about lubrication systems, please contact us today.