Oiling the wheel for Boundary Bend’s olive harvesters

Australia’s award-winning extra virgin olive oil, Cobram Estate, is advertised as ‘the only oil you need,’ and while that message pertains to the delicate process of cooking, the less delicate process of harvesting the olives relies on other types of lubricants, as Bryden Coote, Branch Manager at BSC’s Swan Hill explains.

“When you have a chain worth thousands of dollars installed on a harvesting machine, it can become quite expensive if the chains do not last through the harvest season, not to mention the downtime from having to replace the chain in the middle of harvesting,” says Bryden.

Cobram Estate is the flagship brand of Boundary Bend Limited (BBL) – Australia’s largest olive farmer and producer of extra virgin olive oil. Across its multiple olive groves in the Murray Valley region of Victoria, BBL owns over 2.5 million olive trees on more than 6000 hectares of farmland.

To efficiently harvest olives from these groves, BBL has been involved in developing its own unique olive harvester machines that enable continuous harvesting rather than the discontinuous system used in most other olive growing countries. During the harvest season, these machines work 24 hours a day to pick the olives when they are at their best.

Over the past couple of years and as recommended by Bryden, Sam Griffiths, Maintenance Manager at the Boundary Bend Estate has been using CRC TAC2 chain lubricants for the maintenance of the Boundary Bend harvester machines – with more than satisfactory results.

“Every day, as part of our routine maintenance, we spray the CRC TAC2 on the harvester chains and this has helped us extend the service life of the chains considerably,” says Sam. “We only use the harvester machines during the harvest season but by keeping the chains lubricated throughout the year, we have almost halved our chain breakdowns. Now we only replace the chains once or twice a year as part of our routine maintenance.”

Iain Faber, National Channel Manager at CRC Industries explains why TAC2 is a suitable choice for lubricating high-speed chains, such as the ones in Boundary Bend’s harvesters.

“The CRC TAC2 is a dual-viscosity lubricant, which means it can be sprayed onto the chain as an oil but it firms up into a grease-like consistency as it sets, enabling it to remain in place without flinging off. Because of this unique formulation, TAC2 can penetrate into the pins and the seals in the chain to effectively protect the chain against wear.

“Moreover, the TAC2 lubricant is resistant to water wash downs, so it can be safely used in areas where water is present. It has a wide operating temperature range, so you can use TAC2 in both hot and cold temperatures.”

But TAC2 is not the only chain lubricant CRC has on offer. The CRC GEL TAC is another chain lubricant with similar properties as TAC2 but suited to different applications, as Iain explains.

“I always use the example of a motorbike and a forklift,” says Iain. “Whereas the TAC2 is best suited for high speed applications like motorbike chains, GEL TAC is designed to stay in place in low speed, high pressure applications such as the chains used in general leaf and pin chains and overhead forklifts.

“The CRC GEL TAC has the similar benefits as the TAC2 in terms of dual-viscosity and water resistance, in addition to having a higher temperature performance. The GEL TAC can withstand temperatures up to 300 degree Celsius compared to the 165 degree Celsius in TAC2. Both products are water-insoluble, meaning that they both perform very well in high water environments and resist water wash off.

Additionally, CRC also offers the Food Grade range of chain lubricants for applications where risk of incidental contact with food is present.

“The CRC Food Grade chain lubricants use a special blend of mineral oil and synthetic additives. The formulation for these lubricants is such that after you spray the oil, it forms bubbles and this foaming action gives the oil better penetration rate into the chain,” he says.

“CRC’s Food Grade range are all NSF-H1 certified and tested for a list of 25 allergens, making them safe to use across all food processing applications. CRC also has all of the certifications required for audit purposes, enabling food processors to easily produce these when required.”

Back to the context of the BBL application, Bryden says in addition to recommending the best lubrication product for each application, BSC experts can also advise on the best maintenance regime to help extend the chain longevity for customers.

“Our customers invest heavily on chains and sprockets for their equipment and it’s important that these chains are maintained as best as possible. When BSC staff visit any site, they often check the equipment and make maintenance recommendations depending on the site conditions and the equipment available on the plant,” says Bryden.

As for Sam, he says he is quite pleased with the services he receives from the BSC Swan Hill branch, particularly Bryden, with whom he has been engaging regularly for the past four years.

“BSC is a very good supplier and the team are genuinely helpful, always going out of their way to supply us the required parts and products when we need them urgently. It’s a relationship built on trust and grown over time.”

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




The benefits of changing to new chain drives

Chain drives can often let food and beverage manufacturing operation down. They require more time to lubricate and maintain, and they may fail only a few months into their lifetime, requiring expensive replacement. Downtime costs businesses in lost productivity and earnings yet they continue, claiming “That’s how we’ve always done it.”

A Better Alternative
Building on decades of experience in creating optimum solutions for belt drives in both automotive and industrial applications, Gates PolyChain GT Carbon belts are well equipped to handle the demands of any manufacturing environment. PolyChain GT Carbon is Gates’ most powerful synchronous belt and is specifically designed for optimum performance on the sort of high torque, low speed drives often seen in industrial applications.

An excellent alternative to chain drives, PolyChain offers many benefits to your business.
The benefits of PolyChain begin with the belt’s innovative, state-of-the-art construction. The body and teeth of PolyChain GT Carbon are constructed of a lightweight polyurethane compound that is specially blended to adhere to the cords and fabric. Carbon fibre tensile cords provide extraordinary power carrying capacity as well as exceptional flex fatigue life. Combined, these factors mean PolyChain GT Carbon has the strength to withstand shocks and surge loading and is virtually immune to abrasions. Being much lighter than steel chain, PolyChain GT Carbon also reduces overhung loads.

Additionally, PolyChain GT Carbon has power ratings up to 30 per cent higher than previous incarnations of PolyChain – and yet, it has a multi-year service life, up to three times longer than chains. Similarly, pulley life for PolyChain is up to ten times longer than roller chain sprockets.

Maintaining chains – lubricating, re-tensioning, removing links – takes up a lot of time. Imagine how much more efficiently businesses would run if they didn’t have to dedicate valuable production time to these tasks. PolyChain GT Carbon belts are completely maintenance free. They do not require messy lubrication or oil baths (a hazard for any food handling environment), or re-tensioning every few months. They will not stretch during service. That means less downtime spent maintaining drives, and more uptime getting on with the job. It offers 400 per cent greater capacity than HTD belts, 5 per cent energy savings over V-belts, and 99 per cent efficiency for the life of the drive.

PolyChain GT Carbon is inert to most acids, chemicals and water, making it an ideal solution for wet environments – unlike roller chains, which can rust, potentially contaminating food-handling spaces.

Poly Chain GT Carbon belts operate on Poly Chain GT pulleys and do not require any adaptation of existing GT2 applications.

The Specifications
PolyChain GT Carbon comes in a range of lengths, including short and extended, to suit a variety of manufacturing purposes.

Short length versions of the belt are suitable for industrial markets requiring a short centre distance but high-density power and offer all the benefits listed above. They are suitable for temperatures from -54°C to + 85°C and are available in 8mm and 14mm pitch sizes.
PolyChain GT Carbon is now available in extended lengths to handle longer drive centre distances than ever before, while still delivering the same high-power capability, long life, freedom from maintenance that you’ve come to expect from the shorter lengths. PolyChain also offers a massive 96 per cent weight saving versus traditional, comparable transmission roller chains.

Available in 5M pitch shorter drives, to the more common 8M and 14M pitch, Gates now offers 19M PolyChain GT Carbon extended length. This 19M pitch belt can replace even bigger roller chains, open gears and wide multi V-belt drives. The extended length allows for custom belt lengths with any tooth count (within minimum and maximum length range), a product that is truly tailored to your needs.

All PolyChain GT Carbon belts are fully operational in temperature extremes of -54°C to +85°C and can be used for applications in general manufacturing, food and beverage, timber, agriculture, oil & gas, cement and more.

PolyChain GT Carbon is ideally suited to a range of different environments, from food production to fans and pumps. Already, plants around Australia have converted their tired, dirty old roller chains to the efficient Gates alternative and are seeing the benefits.
PolyChain GT Carbon is an excellent problem solver. It offers reduced width drive conversions for existing roller chain applications, and over 120,000 possible ratio combinations, making it easy to switch drives.

Stay ahead of the curve
In today’s fast-paced manufacturing environment, it is critical for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. By converting tired, old roller chain drives to highly efficient Gates PolyChain GT Carbon belts, they can set themselves up for future operating success. Space-saving, weight-saving, time-saving and money-saving, Poly Chain GT Carbon drives offer a long and reliable service life.

Innovative chains for the food industry

Tsubaki offers innovative chains that provide reliable solutions for drive, conveyor or attachment applications.

Lambda Lube-Free Chain

This lube-free, oil impregnated, sintered roller chain dispenses with the need to use external lubricant and can extend the wear-life of conveyor equipment dramatically.  Lube-free conveyor chains also protect food products and packaging, as well as equipment. 

As a result of this technology from Tsubaki, wear is minimal, optimising performance and improving productivity.  Thanks to Tsubaki Lambda chains, environments that have traditionally used expensive food grade lubricants can now operate without the need for chain lubrication.

Tsubaki NEP Chain

NEP chain has been developed for operation in environments that involve corrosive chemicals, excessive moisture or saltwater and can suffer from corrosion, wear and reduced performance if not suitably protected. 

The Tsubaki NEP chain undergoes a special surface treatment which involves a three stage process to ensure that all the components in the chain have the maximum protection for operating in corrosive environments.  NEP chain is available in both BS and ANSI specifications as well as being available in Lambda lube-free design.