Replacing conveyor chains and sprockets over the lifetime of a conveyor ensures longevity and effectiveness, explains Ron Chamberlain, an industrial millwright with Machinex Recycling Services Inc.
The conveyor chain, sprockets and shafts work as one to drive theconveyor belt, Chamberlain says. When changing one of these components it is always recommended that you change them all. Understanding this practice will reduce the occurrence of this required maintenance.
The life of a roller chain is determined by its elongation. Over time the chain is stretched, elongating the chains links. This is caused by wear between the pins and bushing. As a rule of thumb, a chain will begin to skip the teeth on its sprocket when the percentage of elongation reaches three per cent.
The elongated chain no longer sits properly in the sprocket tooth. When the chain does not sit properly on the sprocket, the chain causes wear to the sprocket teeth.
Replacing just the sprockets and keeping the elongated chain will cause premature wear on the sprocket teeth. Likewise, replacing only the chain will cause premature elongation as the chain is now trying to stretch to fit the worn sprocket teeth.
With conveyor shafts it is difficult to gauge whether a shaft is in good condition. Internal stress cracks can exist but are not visible to the naked eye. Also, spend time to cut the worn sprockets from the shaft. Replacing the shafts at the same time as the chain and sprockets ensures all components that drive the conveyor belt will be in the same condition and work harmoniously for many years to come.
This practice, along with proper lubrication of your conveyor, will insure the greatest possible life duration of sprocket and chain, as well as preventing unforeseen down time of the conveyor.