Automated chain lubrication for textile conveyors

In the fast-paced textile manufacturing industry, conveyor uptime is critical to productivity and profitability. Textile manufacturers need to avoid unscheduled conveyor downtime as much as possible – and that requires effective lubrication. At the same time, chain oil needs to be kept well away from materials to avoid contamination, maintain product quality, and minimise waste – and that requires an effective lubricant delivery method.

At RotaLube, we help textile manufacturers to implement a targeted and reliable automated lubrication system for conveyor or roller chain that promotes optimum conveyor performance and component longevity and keeps products clean.

What are the consequences of improper lubrication for textile industry chains?

  • Textile contamination: Textile products, especially those used in sensitive applications like clothing, require a high level of cleanliness, but inaccurate lubrication application methods can leave stains, marks, or residues on the textile material.

For optimal performance, only the pivot points of the chain need to be lubricated. However, with manual lubrication or automated brush or drip-feed lubrication systems, oil is applied to the whole chain. This creates a risk of the excess oil coming into contact with the materials conveyed during the textile manufacturing process and contaminated products having to be rejected and wasted.

The targeted RotaLube system avoids this problem by applying measured amounts of chain oil precisely when and when needed.

  • High maintenance and replacement costs: Textile manufacturers today are facing increasing pressure to decrease operational costs and limit resource consumption. If the chain pins and bushes on the conveyor chain are not well-lubricated, the increased friction will lead to premature wear and a shorter chain service life, meaning the chain has to be replaced more frequently. There is also a risk of chain failure which can potentially cause damage to surrounding components and equipment as well as being a source of unscheduled conveyor downtime.

When lubricant is applied indiscriminately to the entire chain, larger quantities of oil are consumed, which increases cost and environmental impact. Furthermore, the textile production process generates lint, dust, and fibres that can stick to the excess oil on the chains. These contaminants can mix with the lubricant and form a residue that accelerates wear and reduces the lubricant’s effectiveness, also leading to shorter chain life and higher replacement costs.

The accuracy and reliability of the RotaLube system gives textile producers peace of mind that their roller or conveyor chains are being kept in optimal condition and lasting as long as they should.

  • Worker safety risks: As well as dripping onto products, large quantities of lubricant applied in indiscriminate methods can also drip onto the floor around the conveyor, causing a slip risk for workers moving about the textile factory. The RotaLube system ensures there is no excess oil on the roller or conveyor chain.
  • Excess conveyor noise: Increased chain friction, either due to insufficient lubrication or a build-up of lint, dust, and fibres, will lead to noisy conveyor operation. The RotaLube system helps keep conveyor noise to a minimum for a more comfortable and safer working environment. This is an important benefit considering the textile industry often operates in close proximity to workers and near residential areas.
  • Excess energy consumption: Increased chain friction from lubrication issues also requires more energy to drive the chain. Given the continuous operation of conveyors in the textile industry, small energy efficiency improvements can generate significant energy cost savings over time – especially in the current climate of high energy prices.

What are the main challenges of lubricating textile industry chains?

  • High operating speeds: Textile conveyors often run at high speeds to increase production efficiency. The choice of lubricant must be able to withstand these high velocities without breaking down or causing excess wear to the chain, while the application method must be accurate.

With automated lubrication systems that spit out oil at timed intervals, it cannot be guaranteed that the lubricant will reach the pivot points of each chain link. The RotaLube system, however, works effectively even at high speed because the lubricant is delivered through a sprocket shaped applicator that deposits the oil directly to the pin and bush as it engages with the chain link.

  • High operating temperatures: Some stages of textile manufacturing involve high temperatures, which can decrease conveyor chain hardness and wear life and cause lubricants to degrade or evaporate quickly. This makes effective lubrication even more important to protect the chain from premature failure. RotaLube applicators can be supplied in materials that can withstand temperatures up to 300°C and the reliability of the RotaLube system ensure chains remain protected at all times.
  • Maintenance access: Some textile conveyors have complex designs and limited access points for lubrication that can make the lubrication process more challenging and time-consuming. The RotaLube system is ideal for conveyors that are not easily accessible as its robust and targeted design means it does not need to be regularly recalibrated as the chain elongates over time or if the operating speed changes.
  • Continuous operation: The continuous production of textile manufacturing means that chains are often in constant motion and any downtime, whether scheduled or not, decreases productivity and productivity. Because RotaLube helps increase chain service life and reduce maintenance requirements, conveyor downtime is kept to a minimum.

Which lubricants are recommended for textile industry conveyor chains?

Textile factories are demanding environments for conveyors. Lubricants will need to be resistant to high operating speeds and high temperatures, and not be adversely affected by any chemicals they may come into contact with during dyeing, finishing, and other processes.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you optimise your conveyor operations.