Frequent failure of a roller chain at a major biscuit manufacturing plant in South Australia was causing significant delays in production. The chain had broken eight times over a span of 15 months and every time the chain broke, the line had to be stopped completely to replace the chain.
When one of the world’s global beverage manufacturers called upon the expertise of CBC Australia to assist in improving their roller chain conveyor drive issues, a collaborative effort ensued with both CBC and Gates engineers recommending a Poly Chain GT Carbon belt solution. That belt solution was installed in 2008 – and it’s still running successfully today.
“If you look at it from a product point of view, we changed the drive chain to a polyurethane belt. And this conveyed a number of efficiency improvements for the customer, in terms of both maintenance and from an occupational health and safety (OH&S) perspective,” says John Perri, who was the CBC representative working with the client at the time.
Perri explained that the drive chain that had been used previously needed regular lubrication, in which the Gates Poly Chain belt does not. Additionally, because the roller chain would stretch after a period of use, it also needed to be changed out periodically – again, the Gates belt does not (in fact, the original drive installed has still not been replaced after over a decade of use). And, besides the costs involved in regularly replacing the chain, there was also the issue of safety for those doing maintenance work onsite.
“The roller chain drive in use was heavy and the maintenance team would have to be lying down on the next conveyor just to access it, which was a clear concern from an OH&S standpoint. The Gates Poly Chain belt solved that issue as well,” Perri confirmed.
As a result of the positive performance of the Gates Poly Chain GT Carbon drive in the first two years, the beverage company went on to convert the entire bottling site to the Gates belt product. As Australia’s largest bottler, the costs saved from converting all drives has been significant.
Importantly, this example also demonstrates the confidence that client’s such as this particular beverage manufacturer have in the CBC team. Matthew Byrnes is the current Business Development Specialist from CBC that is looking after the Food & Beverage segment that this client falls under.
“They have absolute confidence as a result of the many years that we have worked with them – and that is testament to John’s work – in our services. We have built a rapport that enables us to look at ways we can improve various applications at their plant,” he explains.
Moreover, the customer still has the option to contact John Perri, who first started working with them in 2001. After observing the canning line conveyor and gaining an understanding of the problem they were having with the roller chain drive, Perri initially recommended the Gates product.
“I’m proficient in the Gates product but this was very much a collaboration with a Gates engineer to come up with the right solution for the client. We needed to ensure the belt was installed correctly and with the right tensioning,” he said.
Based on the outcomes of this experience, the customer also came to rely on Perri and CBC’s collective expertise in supplying products for other applications such as power transmission and sealing upgrades.
“They often still ring me when they want to discuss an issue, and I always pick up. They know that they can rely on me or any of our CBC team to be available to them, which is really not a service that other distributors provide,” Perri reiterates.
Moreover, the saturation of CBC stores across Australia and distribution network ensures that speedy delivery of parts and products as well as availability of personnel.
“Where we differentiate ourselves is that we are able to offer such a wide range of products and services, and our customers only have to come to the one place – they don’t need a separate supplier for power transmission, or bearings, and so on. We are in the unique position of being able to consolidate all our products, knowledge and technical expertise into the one delivery,” says Byrnes.
Case Study Details: Australia’s Largest Bottler
Application: Canning line roller chain drives on conveyors 1.1kW@300rpm
Original components: Chain = 5/80-inch simplex roller chain, DriveR Sprocket = 17 tooth, DriveN Sprocket = 21 tooth
Problem: Customer having roller chain conveyor issues, frequent maintenance and lubrication caused excessive downtime. High noise levels of roller chain, 55dBA on each drive. Single chain drives were changed out approximately two-three times per year. In wash down areas roller chain would lose lubrication and rust solid.
Solution Description: Belt = 8MGT-1760-12 Poly Chain GT Carbon, DriveR Sprocket = 40 tooth (stainless steel), DriveN Sprocket = 48 tooth (stainless steel)
Benefits of Gates Product: After 24 months the drives showed no signs of wear on either belts or sprockets. The entire bottling site has since been converted to Poly Chain GT Carbon drives. The drives are clean with no grease, lube, or maintenance required. Noise levels dropped to 40dBA on each drive. Drives have remained untouched since installation.
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