Technical Bulletin 4 – Lubrication of Drive Chain
Roller Chains are constructed of a series of connecting Metallic Bearings. These Bearings must be properly lubricated to provide the maximum life of the Chain.
Reasons why Lubrication of the Roller Chains is important:
- Resists wear on the bushing joints
- Helps to cushion the impact load
- Dissipates the heat that is generated during operation
- Helps to remove any foreign materials
- Reduces rust and corrosion
- Provides a lubricant for the chain to sprocket surface
With proper lubrication, a barrier of lubrication is formed between the Pins and Bushings in the chain joints. The viscosity of the lubricant greatly affects the strength of the lubricant film, and its ability to separate moving parts. This is essential to minimize metal to metal contact and address a cooling effect when running at higher speeds.
Chain drives must be protected from any type of corrosive materials and the oil supply kept free of contamination. Oil should be applied to the upper edges of the link-plates. Oil applied to the rollers only will not reach the pin bushing joints and cannot reduce elongation due to wear. When lubricating multiple strand chains, it is very important to lubricate each row of chain link-plates.
MANUAL OR DRIP LUBRICATION
Oil should be applied periodically between the chain link-plate edges with a brush or drip lubrication. Utilize the I.J. White Main Drive Chain Oiler, which consists of a reservoir brush and piping assembly used to lubricate the Main Drive Chain. This assembly can be a Manual or an Automatic Oiler.
DRIVE CHAIN FAILURES
Most Drive Chain failures are caused by improper lubrication, incorrect mounting, debris buildup, or the lack of routine maintenance.
Key Warning Signs of Drive Chain Failure:
- Excessive Noise – This can result from the Chain hitting an object that is in the Chain path. Lack of proper lubrication can also contribute to Chain noise.
- Chain Climbs Sprocket Teeth – This is due to the incorrect tensioning of the Drive Chain or accumulation of slack chain due to excessive wear.
- Worn Chain and Sprockets – Elongation due to Chain wear progresses rapidly when case hardened wear surfaces have been damaged. Badly worn Chains do not mesh properly with the Sprockets or Teeth. You will see the Tooth or Teeth become reduced in size and the tips become hooked. This wear will greatly reduce the life of the roller chain.
- Misalignment – When a Chain operates over the misalign Sprockets or Tooth Segments the wear will be on the inner link-plate edges. The segment or Sprocket Teeth will also show signs of wear. This will reduce the life of the Roller Chain.
- Chain Clings to the Segments – A snapping sound will be heard caused by the Chain staying on the Teeth as the Chain rotates.
- Cracked or Broken Chains Parts – Broken pins, Rollers, Bushings and link-plates are a sign of extreme overloading.
DRIVE CHAIN MAINTENANCE
All Roller Chains (Main Drives, and Take-up) should receive regular Preventative Maintenance. Each drive chain should be inspected after the initial 40 hours of operation.
At this initial inspection, the following items should be checked and corrected if necessary:
- Chain Tension
- Chain Wear
- Sprocket Tooth Wear
- Sprocket Alignment
- Drive Interference
- Chain Failure
RECOMMENDED PM ACTIONS
- Excessive Noise – Make sure the Chain path is clear of any obstacles. Check the Chain for proper lubrication.
- Chain Climbs the Sprocket Teeth – The Drive Chain needs to be properly tensioned. Adjustment is required as normal Chain wear occurs.
- Worn Chain and Sprockets – Replace the Roller Chain and the Tooth Segments at the same time. This will allow the Chain to mesh properly with the Teeth of the segments. All worn Sprockets should replaced.
- Misalignment – The Tooth Segments or Sprockets will require replacement to bring the Chain back into proper alignment.
- Chain Clinging to the Segments – Check for excessive slack in the chain and adjust accordingly to reduce the slack.
- Cracked or Broken Chain Parts – The Drive Chain should be replaced along with the Tooth Segments or Sprockets.
MAIN DRIVE CHAIN
After Every 40 Hours, check the following:
- Chain Oiler System and Drip. Fill if necessary
- Chain Oiler Timer
- Main Drive Spring Tension
- Motor Base Sprockets and Tooth Segments for wear / proper alignment.
- Tension Arm Safety Sensor
- Main Drive Chain for Lubrication
TAKE UP CHAIN & SPROCKETS
After Every 100 Hours, check the following:
- Lubricate Drive Chain
- The Clutch Sprocket must be kept clear of any debris.
After Every 200 Hours, check the following:
- Drive Sprockets for Wear
- Chain for Wear and Tightness
Please refer to the IJ White Operations Manual for the Maintenance Schedule for the Main Drive, Take-Up Drive, Cage Drive, Track System, Take-Up and Spiral Belt.