Chain lubrication in pharmaceutical manufacturing

Effective conveyor chain lubrication is critical to maximising productivity and minimising operating costs but presents unique challenges in pharmaceutical manufacturing due to the stringent requirements and regulations within the industry.

At RotaLube, we can help you to implement an effective conveyor chain maintenance process to improve efficiency, protect products from contamination, and stay compliant with industry regulations.

What can be done to improve conveyor efficiency and uptime in pharmaceutical manufacturing?

Lubrication is key to chain conveyor performance. When the pivot points of the chain are correctly lubricated, friction is reduced, and the chain runs more freely. Less energy is required to drive the conveyor, the operation is quieter and there is less wear, meaning the chain lasts longer. Overall, there is less downtime, contributing to greater productivity, and lower running and maintenance costs, which contribute to greater profitability.

How does lubricant contamination occur in pharmaceutical manufacturing?

In pharmaceutical manufacturing, the method of lubrication matters as much as the lubricant itself. Cleanliness and hygiene are of utmost importance to prevent any contamination of the products and traditional lubrication methods are a common source.

With manual lubrication or automated brush, drip feed or spit systems, lubricant is applied to the whole of the chain, not just on the pins and bushes where it is needed. The excess lubricant can then come into contact with the pharmaceutical products, which would need to be discarded for quality and safety reasons.

Powder from tablets can also mix with the lubricant to create an abrasive paste that increases conveyor energy consumption and increases component wear, leading to higher running and replacement costs.

It is for these reasons that some pharmaceutical companies decide not to lubricate their roller chain or conveyor chain at all, but it doesn’t have to be so. RotaLube avoids the problem of excess lubricant by applying controlled amounts of oil precisely to the pivot points of the chain and nowhere else.

Which chain lubricants are recommended for use in the pharmaceutical industry?

The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, and lubricants must be approved by the relevant regulatory body, such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA. We can supply the correct lubrication oil to you as a complete solution with your RotaLube system, with regular deliveries to ensure you’re never without the lubricant you need.

Contact us today to discuss how RotaLube can optimise your pharmaceutical conveyors while maintaining product quality and patient safety.