Beverage production conveyor chain lubrication

Conveyor chain facilitates the movement of products and materials across a wide variety of production and packaging lines in the drinks industry – from rinse and wash systems, through bottle and can filling lines and labelling machines, to the casing and palletising processes. As such, the chain’s condition is critical to smooth and efficient operations.

RotaLube can help ensure the chain on your beverage production and packaging conveyors remains in optimal health through a reliable and effective automated lubrication system. With RotaLube, the chain will wear at a significantly lower rate and not need to be replaced as frequently, saving you time and money on maintenance. It will also contribute to greater conveyor uptime, reducing losses from production stoppages for greater productivity and profitability.

While automatic chain oiling mechanisms are already commonplace in the beverage industry, these are typically brush, spit or drip-feed systems that apply lubricant indiscriminately to the outside of the chain. These chain lubrication methods have several drawbacks.

First of all, the lubricant may not reach the pivot points where it is needed to reduce friction, leaving the chain exposed to unnecessary wear. To try to compensate for this, larger quantities of oil may be applied, which increases cost and environmental impact without necessarily protecting the chain any better.

The other significant drawback, which is especially pertinent in the food and drink industry, is that excess oil applied to the outer surface of the chain can more easily come into contact with the products conveyed, causing quality and potential health and safety issues. Provided H1 food grade lubricants are used, there will be no harm to consumers but contaminated products still impact the reputation of the company and can be a common source of customer complaints.

RotaLube is the only chain lubrication system that uses a sprocket-shaped applicator to deliver lubricant directly and only to the chain’s pivot points as it engages with each chain link. This ensures the areas at greatest risk of wear are kept well lubricated at all times and that smaller quantities of lubricant are used, reducing the likelihood of product contamination. RotaLube continues to work effectively irrespective of conveyor speed or temperature and even as the chain elongates over time due to wear.

Case study A

RotaLube helped Global Closure Systems, which produces closures for beverage containers and other purposes, to increase the uptime and productivity of its printing machines.

Previously, the chain on the printing machines was lubricated by a semi-automated oil drip feed system. Oil was dispensed according to a timer and delivered to brushes that were in contact with the chains.

Global Closure Systems’ main issue with this method of lubricating chain was that the brushes quickly became clogged and needed frequent cleaning and replacement. When the brushes were clogged, the oil would not penetrate the chain links and the equipment would vibrate causing the shells to fall off the arms of the machines. This downtime had a significant impact on productivity and, crucially, was affecting the bottom line.

As part of a programme of ongoing improvements, four RotaLube systems were installed to lubricate the printing machines’ 200 m main chains. Since then, there have been no reported instances of vibration and the lubrication frequency has also been turned down, resulting in significant lubricant savings.   

Case study B

RotaLube helped a major international drinks producer to eliminate chain lubricant contamination on its can labelling machine, while reducing chain service life. This resulted in fewer consumer complaints and lower machinery maintenance costs.

The drinks producer in question was using a makeshift drip-feed system to automate the chain lubrication. Large quantities of oil were being poured over the chain, but the lubricant was still not penetrating the chain links, leaving them exposed to unnecessary friction and wear. Moreover, the oil was splashing onto can labels, which had to be rejected during quality control checks.

Since installing RotaLube on its can labelling machine, the drinks company has reported a significant reduction in oil damage to its labels. At the same time, the wear life of the chain has increased and lubricant consumption has decreased, generating significant cost savings for the company.

Schedule a free consultation to discuss how RotaLube can help increase uptime and efficiency, while reducing product contamination on your beverage processing conveyor.