The history of RotaLube®, the world’s leading chain lubrication system

RotaLube®, the automated lubrication system for roller and conveyor chain, is the brainchild of Fbkc director David Chippendale, who after 13 years designing, installing and reengineering conveyors on all scales knew there had to be a better way to lubricate chains.

“Ineffective lubrication is one of the main reasons for conveyors not performing at their best. It increases wear, noise and power consumption, as well as potentially causing product or environmental contamination – and it’s a problem we see far too often,” David says.

A new way to lubricate chain

His idea was to take the hassle out of regular manual lubrication by programming pumps to reliably deliver lubricant to exactly the right part of the chain at exactly the right time via specially designed sprockets.

To prototype and test the concept, David collaborated with Lancaster University and in 2012 the RotaLube® system received a UK patent. The US patent was granted a year later.

In 2012 David met Keith Horner and together carried out the first commercial installation of the RotaLube® system, a project valued around £16k, which is still going strong today.

After a growing portfolio of successful installations this convinced him to licence Keith`s employer, Interlube Systems Limited (later Timken), to sell the RotaLube® system around the world.

“I’ve been in lubrication practically all my life. As soon as I left school, I went to work for a company that designed and developed lubrication systems, so I know my business – and as soon as I saw RotaLube®, I knew it was something special,” Keith says.

With Keith’s support, a series of turnkey contracts followed, including for the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, which still relies on RotaLube® today as its preferred method of chain lubrication.

Projects reached values of up to £29k and global sales earned RotaLube® a reputation as the best chain lubrication system on the market. But Timken’s strategic direction changed, and the product received less focus, leading David and Keith to start their own company dedicated to the RotaLube® system RotaLube® Systems Limited.

A new chapter for RotaLube®

The pair developed the product further and in 2016 received new patents for the improved and innovative design. Now under FB Chain ownership but with David and Keith still at the helm, RotaLube® Systems Limited is beginning a new chapter in its story.

Leveraging FB Chain’s financial strength and marketing expertise, David and Keith are looking to bring the added value of RotaLube® to new and existing FB conveyor chain customers, who include both OEMs and end users.

“RotaLube® can be used on conveyors of all sizes – from one up to six strands of chain – and is suitable for so many different industries – food and drink, quarrying, paper and pulp, recycling, biomass, even theme parks. We are really excited to bring the benefits of increased chain life, increased uptime, reduced lubricant consumption, reduced energy consumption, reduced product or environmental contamination and reduced total cost of conveyor ownership and operation to many more customers around the world,” Keith concludes.