A chain lubricant for the safety conscious

Safety was top of mind for a top Australian manufacturer of bakery products when they approached their long-term product suppliers at BSC seeking recommendation for a suitable chain lubricant. Nick Gunn, the BSC account manager at the time, recommended the ROCOL FOODLUBE Hi Temp Chain Lubricant from ITW Polymers and Fluids, which resulted in a long-term supply program, covering not just the ISO-certified oven chain lubricants, but also a wide range of other oils and greases in the FOODLUBE family.

According to Nick, the ROCOL FOODLUBE portfolio adds an invaluable safety dimension that not only ensures food industry requirements are met, but additionally works to optimise the production in food plants and simplify the overall cleaning process.

“FOODLUBE’s reputation as a globally recognised lubricant for food and beverage manufacturing means that our customer could use the products with complete peace of mind, with no concerns regarding contamination or machinery performance,” he says. “Due to the wide operating temperatures, FOODLUBE Hi-Temp Chain Oil can operate at temperatures ranging from minus 25 degrees to 280 degrees Celsius, they use the same product in their ovens, as well as in their freezers.”

Emilio Seballos, Channel Manager for Heavy Industry at ITW Polymers and Fluids, explains what makes the FOODLUBE proposition attractive for food manufacturers.

“ROCOL FOODLUBE has NSF accreditation, which is globally recognised, and it is also HACCP certified. On top of that, many ROCOL products provide an additional level of safety assurance through their ISO 21469:2006 certification. Like NSF H1, this certification is globally recognised and important for British Retail Consortium audits as it provides credible, independent assurance that products are formulated, manufactured, stored and supplied hygienically and safely.”

Another area where food manufacturers can benefit from the use of ROCOL FOODLUBE products, Emilio explains, is to rationalise and simplify their lubricant inventories.

“The technology behind food grade lubricant products has improved drastically over the last 10 to 15 years. Whereas many food manufacturers still prefer to keep separate inventories for food grade and non-food grade lubricant in their plants, they are increasingly coming to realise the simplifications they can achieve by switching to food-safe products through more of their applications, thus eliminating the risk of cross-contamination in their plants,” he says.

“In the case of the FOODLUBE product range, all the oils and greases are made with a synthetic base oil, which means they don’t break down and carbonise when exposed to high temperatures. This in turn leads to prolonged maintenance intervals as the lubricant does not evaporate from the chain, nor does it cause the chain to drag. The FOODLUBE Hi Temp Chain Spray also has great resistance to water washdowns, so you don’t need to lubricate your chain as frequently in a high water washdown environment. All of this leads to reduced maintenance expenses for the plants and enhances their total reliability and efficiency,” he adds.

As a routine practice, Emilio says the ITW and BSC personnel often perform joint assessments for BSC clients to help them rationalise their inventories.

“The beauty of the ROCOL FOODLUBE portfolio is that many of the products serve multiple purposes. For example, your gearbox oil in one application can be used as chain lubricant in another application. Similarly, your hydraulic lubricant might double up as a chain lubricant, depending on the situation,” he says.

“Where ITW P&F and BSC come into play is to help our customers rationalise their inventories to simplify their management. In one audit we did in conjunction with BSC some years ago, the customer was using 25 different lubricants from 13 different brands. We were able to simplify this down to 12 lubricants from the FOODLUBE range.”

Within this portfolio, Emilio says the FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease has been a “game-changer” in the food industry.

“The FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is a food grade grease designed for bearings operating at high speeds and high temperatures. Because this grease has a consistency grade of 1, in addition to a wide temperature range of minus 30 to 180 degree Celsius, it can effectively replace multiple types of greases in one application line.

“The FOODLUBE Premier 1 grease is resistant to water washdowns and ISO21469 certified, so you can safely use it where stringent quality control measures are in place.”

The FOODLUBE WD spray is another popular product within the range, Emilio says.

“The FOODLUBE Water Displacement (WD) spray is ideal for use as a general lubricant to protect small components such as linkages, pivots and pins. Having high temperature resistance (up to 120 degree Celsius) and being synthetic based make this a multi-purpose spray that you can use for many applications. The WD Spray is also fortified with PTFE for increased lubricity and like all FOODLUBE products, it is free from colour and odour – which is very important in the food industry.”

As an additional safety measure, all plastic components including the lids and actuators in the ROCOL FOODLUBE products are metal detectable and capable of detection by most metal detection equipment.

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Building a bond that lasts

Baler chain failures can be very frustrating when they happen in the middle of the busy harvesting season, particularly at night. As Troy Markland, Product Manager at BSC explains, the broken chain often needs to be replaced right there in the field to continue the day’s job, causing serious delays and reduced productivity.

“There’s also always the risk that a failed or a badly fitted chain can damage other components such as the sprockets,” he says.

When one of BSC’s customers, Rob Pickles from Hayanmi Fodder, complained about frequent chain failures on his baler machines, the BSC Shepparton team suggested switching to Diamond’s high strength (HS) series roller chains for increased reliability.

Rob’s business, Hayanmi Fodder, owns two Krone balers and engages in agricultural contracting work in the north central regions of Victoria, producing 15,000 – 20,000 bales per machine.

Hayanmi Fodder’s existing baler chains were wearing out quickly when put through the heavy workload and failing before even one hay season was over.

When Rob contacted the BSC Shepparton branch in search for a solution, he was advised to switch to the Diamond 60HS-1 chains.

As Troy explains, the HS series of Diamond drive chains features through-hardened, medium carbon alloy steel pins, which enable them to resist higher impact and shock loads and offer better working load capacity compared to the standard heavy series drive chains.

“Diamond’s high strength series chains are built to ASME/ANSI B29.1 and B29.28 standards, making them suited to applications subjected to heavy loads or lifting,” says Troy.

Following the upgrade to Diamond 60HS-1 chains, the reliability of Hayanmi Fodder’s baler machines has improved dramatically, says Rob.

“We now tend to put a new set of roller chains on the balers at the start of the harvest season and we get through the season without a hitch. Sometimes the same chains last for two consecutive seasons without needing replacement. Before this, we sometimes had to replace the chains up to three times each year.”

As an additional benefit, Rob says replacing the chains has also reduced the frequency of sprocket wear on the machines.

This, as Troy explains, is due to the Diamond 60HS-1 chain maintaining correct pitch length, ensuring positive and accurate chain and sprocket engagement, combined with a good lubrication process.

In addition to the high strength series, Diamond Chain also manufactures hoist chain and rollerless lift chain for heavy loads or lifting applications.

“The Diamond hoist chain is dimensionally identical to standard series chains but also incorporates pins produced from medium carbon alloy steel, through-hardened to give chains higher working load capacity and additional resistance to fatigue,” says Troy.

“The Diamond rollerless lift chains are designed for tension linkages where frequent articulation requires the increased bearing area of roller chain. Rollerless lift chains are dimensionally identical to standard series chains but are produced without rollers,” he adds.

As strong as the new chains on his balers are, Rob says so is the bond of friendship that has formed over the years between him and the BSC Shepparton Branch Manager, Adam Failla – whom he refers to as his “mate”.

“I’ve known Adam for a long time, and he knows his products very well. In fact, all of the BSC team have a good product knowledge and they are very down-to-earth, so it’s easy to get their advice when an issue comes up,” he says.

“I’ve worked with the Shepparton branch for many years and I can say with confidence that whatever spare part or product I need, they can find and provide to me in the shortest time possible,” he adds.

Adam says as industry experts and suppliers of reputed agricultural equipment parts, the BSC team engages closely with farmers and agricultural contractors through regular site visits and participation in agricultural field days to understand their requirements.

“When we meet with the farmers and our customers, be it during a visit to their farm or on an agricultural field day, we always ask them questions to see if we can offer better products than what they are currently using to get better life out of their equipment,” says Adam.

“Contractors like Rob invest heavily in their machines and they put these through very different conditions. For example, some contractors go to the Mallee region, where the farming conditions are a lot different than what they experience here. The soil tends to be drier and dustier up there, whereas we have had more rain here near Shepparton.

“So, when we offer a solution, we keep in mind all of that based on our experience and this helps our customers get better life and service from their equipment,” he concludes.

Diamond High Strength (HS) Roller Chains:

  • Built to ASME/ANSI B29.1 and B29.28 standards
  • Intended for heavy shock or pulsating loads
  • Through-hardened, medium carbon alloy steel pins
  • More resistance to heavy loads compared to standard heavy series drive chains

Read more articles like this at: www.lets-roll.com.au