How to Save Money on Chains

with Interflon Food Lube

How can you easily save money on supply chains in the production industry?

The answer is simple: your chains need to be kept well lubricated and clean at all times. Interflon Food Lube, a dry, food-grade lubricant, is specially formulated to do just that. It’s easy to apply, and can even be applied automatically. Read on to learn more!

The food, beverage, and medicine production industries all have one thing in common: they rely on the use of chains in their processes. In fact, this is true of nearly every manufacturing process to some extent. The general public rarely thinks about chains, but chains are an important part of everyone’s life, even if they don’t know it.

Potato chips, cold medicine, tobacco, dairy, meat: items like these, and many tens of thousands more, all go through some sort of process as they are being produced and packaged. Most of these processes involve chains that move conveyor belts, supply lines, and more. Just about every piece of equipment used in these processes must be lubricated. If there is even a chance that equipment will come into contact with the item to be consumed, that lubricant must be certified food safe.

Not only is Interflon Food Lube the best choice for chain lubrication of all types… it’s certified as an H1-class Food Safe Lubricant by NSF. It’s also certified halal. What do these certifications mean? Not only are we in compliance with safety and hygiene regulations, they also mean we have a deep understanding of our clients’ needs. We bring that understanding to every level of our interaction with you.

Remember: our main goal is to help you save money. This is why our clients return to us again and again, and also why our client list is growing all the time.

Chains have something else in common: they’re expensive. Chains used to power conveyor belts or assembly lines can cost thousands of dollars, and sometimes more. As we have showed in previous posts, lubrication with Interflon Food Lube can save businesses huge amounts of money on chain maintenance and replacement. For a smaller business, the savings might mean the difference between failure and success.

What are chains used for?

Chains have a broad range of uses:

Interflon Food Lube can be used on every one of these chain types, plus any type of custom chain. It doesn’t just lubricate. It also repels water, protect against corrosion, and discourages soil accumulation. It can even be sprayed directly on electrical contacts.

What are the basic principles of chain lubrication?

The two most important aspects are, of course:

  • Lubrication
  • Re-lubrication

The second point is one where many businesses fail. It is not enough to lubricate a chain once. It must be checked and re-lubricated on a regular basis. How often? That depends on the type of chain and what it’s used for. Many chains should be continuously lubricated. That may sound like a lot of work, but in fact Interflon makes it very easy. Interflon Food Lube can be applied automatically so that no shutdown is necessary for lubrication to take place.

The requirements of a lubricant are:

  • The correct viscosity (thickness)
  • Strong adherence (stickiness)
  • Best penetration
  • Good emergency running properties
  • Water repellant
  • Very minimal dust adherence

All Interflon products fully meet these requirements.

What types of chains are used in food production?

Roller Chains

Roller chains are the most commonly used in food production. Below are three variations of roller chain that are most likely to be used:

simplex roller chain
Simplex Roller Chain (low loads)
duplex roller chain
Duplex Roller Chain (medium/high loads)
triplex roller chain
Triplex Roller Chain (high loads)

Roller chains have two sliding surfaces, and they tend to experience less wear than a bush chain.

Loading Chain

This is also called a lifting chain. These are typically solid links. They tend to:

  • Have high loads on pins
  • Be used at low speeds

Loading chains are typically used on fork lifts and cranes.

loading chain
Loading Chain

steel link chain
Round Steel Link Chain

These chains typically:

  • Have no pins, but instead are made of links
  • Are used at low speeds
  • Can carry high loads
  • Are flexible

Round steel link chains are often used in:

  • Hoisting or lifting
  • Transport
  • Conveyor belts in bakeries

You may think that a link chain like the one above doesn’t need lubrication, because it has practically no moving pieces. But if you look more closely, you’ll realize that isn’t true at all. Each link has contact points with the link it connects to. Since that contact creates friction, that means wear and stretching are taking place. Proper lubrication will minimize that. Also, remember that these chains typically run through various types of sprockets, gears, and pulley systems. Every one of those should also be lubricated to minimize the damaging effects of friction on your very expensive chain.

Bush Chain

Bush chains are so called because they use a bushing around a pin to operate. See the image below:

bush chain
Bush Chain

The image below shows where wear and tear occurs on bush chains and the sprockets they move on:

Chain Wear and Sprocket

Custom Chains

Practically any type of chain you can imagine already exists. Below are some examples.

custom chain 1
Custom Chain (1)

custom chain 2
Custom Chain (2)

custom chain 3
Custom Chain (3)

custom chain 3
Custom Chain (4)

How does Interflon Food Lube protect loading or supply chains?

Interflon Food Lube is a dry lubricant that uses the unique MicPol® technology. It will adhere to your chains under all types of conditions. It will penetrate every tiny crack and crevice on the surface, as well as deep inside bushings, links, hinges, pins, and other hard-to-see spots. It is specially formulated to coat your chains (as well as any other surface) with a layer of micronized, polarized particles. These particles adhere magnetically to your chain for far longer than other lubricants.

Magnetic adherence is far superior to the adherence provided by wet lubricants. The bond between particle and surface is far stronger and longer-lasting. Since it doesn’t rely on the surface tension provided by moisture, it won’t collect dirt or rust particles. And it won’t come off easily under high pressure, high temperature, or power spray situations. Interflon Food Lube is even resistant to high-pressure salt water spray.

The best way to protect your chains from excessive wear or stretching is to lubricate them on a regular basis. A small expense for lubricant will save you big expenses on machine shutdowns and chain replacements. Many companies use various types of oils for this purpose, but they are not up to the job. Wet oils have lower adherence properties and will come off under high pressure, high temperature, or water spray. They also quickly accumulate soil and debris, resulting in an abrasive paste that causes premature wear and tear, which in turn creates a need for more maintenance.

How does chain wear happen?

Chain wear occurs:

  • During standstill and heavy load
  • During startup and varying load
  • During regular use

You may wonder how wear can happen when a chain isn’t even moving. The fact is, wear occurs at any time that metal makes contact with metal… even if the metal isn’t moving at all. This is due to the friction that occurs whenever contact is made.

In addition, a chain under load--even the load of its own weight--is stretching all the time. Proper lubrication will greatly reduce the amount of stretching at all times, because it reduces the amount of friction.

Of course, wear is even greater when equipment is in operation. This is when significant wear takes place due to high friction, high local temperatures, and rapid degradation of the lubricant. Once the lubricant has been allowed to degrade beyond a certain point, it must be renewed or replaced immediately, or chair wear will increase exponentially.

How can I tell chain wear has taken place?

The following are all signs of chain wear:

  • Rust on chain links
  • Squeaking sounds
  • An increase in energy consumption
  • Extension of the chain

Chain extension is also caused by:

  • Bad performance of drive/gearbox
  • Excessive wear of sprockets and gear wheels

When should a chain be replaced?

A chain must be replaced when extension has reached 3%. At this point, the chain is no longer safe to use. You should also check the manufacturer recommendations to determine whether they have further guidelines for replacement.

chain stretch
Measurement of Chain Stretch

What kind of Interflon product do I need for the chain in my industry or business?

Overview of Chain Lubrication

product table

Procedure for Lubricating New Chains

  1. Remove existing lubricant (absolutely necessary for high temperature applications) or conservation wax or # grease, preferably submerging the chain in a bath of degreaser.
  2. Blow the chain dry with an air gun to remove residues
  3. Submerge the chain in lubricant
  4. Remove excess lubricant
  5. Use automatic lubrication if necessary

Procedure for Lubricating Existing Chains

  1. Remove as much dirt, soil, or pollution as possible with a degreaser
  2. Blow the chain dry with an air gun to remove residues
  3. Lubricate in short intervals
  4. Remove excess lubricant after lubrication
  5. Gradually lengthen the lubrication intervals when no more dirt, soil, rust, or other pollution appears from within the chain
  6. Use automatic lubrication if necessary

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