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Roller Chains Lubrication Tips  

If your application uses roller chains such as those available through a roller chains supplier like Yorkshire’s YB Components, then using the correct type of lubrication is crucial.

Usually, heavy oils and greases are not suitable because they have a high viscosity which hinders the penetration of the pin-bushing joint, which is actually the most important area that needs lubrication. Using a high viscosity grease means only the outside of the roller chain will be lubricated, resulting in premature wear of the chain.

Most roller chains supplier like Yorkshire’s YB Components will recommend using a good quality SAE 20/50 oil that is non-detergent and multi-grade petroleum-based. There are also synthetic oils which replicate these properties adequately.

Do note that the temperature of the application should be considered because a low temperature may increase the viscosity of the oil. In contrast, a high temperature can cause the lubricant to dissipate or carbonise, leading to a much quicker deterioration while creating oil residues that impact the performance of the roller chains.

Now let’s look at the main methods for lubricating industrial roller chains.

Manual Lubrication

Manual lubrication requires manually applying the correct lubricant to the chain using either a special brush or oil can. Such application should happen every day, or around every 8 hours of operation. This is an imprecise lubrication method, but should be suitable for low speed applications. Just make sure you are monitoring the chains properly to ensure effective coverage.

Drip Lubrication

You can also lubricate roller chains via drip lubrication, which requires fitting an automatic oil drip to the application. This will then dispense the correct lubrication onto the roller chains at scheduled intervals. This method obviously removes the need to have someone manually apply the lubrication, but should really only be used for low speed applications due to its lack of precision.

Bath or Disc Lubrication

If your application operates at medium-speed, then you should opt for the bath or disc lubrication method. The bath method requires running the chain through a pool of lubrication oil within the drive housing. Similarly, the disc lubrication method features a special disc that picks up oil and deposits it onto the chain via deflection plates.

Stream Lubrication

For high speed applications, you should choose the stream lubrication method. This involves directing a continuous stream of the correct lubrication oil from a circulating pump onto the roller chain. The lubrication soaks the chain in oil just before it engages with the driver sprocket. This method cushions the engagement to ensure the chain’s components are fully enveloped in oil.

The stream naturally helps to keep the application’s temperature down, but a special oil cooling system can also be included which will reduce the temperature even further.

Lubrication-free Roller Chains?

Some applications can use lubrication-free chains, so speak to a roller chains supplier, Yorkshire’s YB Components for example, to explore your options.

If you require any roller chains or roller bearings, then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading roller chains supplier in Yorkshire. We keep local stocks of all such parts and more ready to ship out fast and free all over the UK and the rest of the world.