Tsubaki chain offers longer life for warehouse applications

Operations Managers of warehouses, distribution centres and materials handling facilities understand the importance of reliability and low maintenance in power transmission components such as roller chain. Large, automated warehouses can have many kilometres of chain on site, often with just a handful of operational and maintenance staff to call on in the event of failure. Fortunately Tsubaki offers a variety of long-lasting chain solutions which match current requirements by providing very low maintenance operation and significantly reduced life-cycle costs.

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Increasingly, consumers are waking up to the fact that the cheapest components at the point of purchase often prove to be more expensive in the long-run; when compared to high quality alternatives. When specifying chain for warehousing applications this is especially true, as, not only will well specified chain last many times longer, it will also require far less in-operation maintenance. In the long run this saves on overall procurements costs, maintenance, replacement and downtime.

In the warehousing and logistics sector the predominant type of chain employed is BS specification chain. This often has a low up-front cost, so hardly anyone questions that it might not provide the best solution in all applications, especially with alternatives costing as much as three times more; despite the fact that these alternatives can easily pay for themselves many times by providing up to 20 or even 30 times more operating life.

Often, the major issues with low cost warehousing chain manifest as problems with chain elongation or breakages due to wear. Many conveying applications require equal lengths of chain in pairs or multiple strands of chain meaning that length tolerance is really important, especially in attachment chains.

In amongst all the factors that cause elongation, two of the most common are inadequate lubrication, and mechanical wear caused by debris retained in external lubricant. Low cost chain solutions can suffer from chain elongation after a short period of operation caused by the constant sliding friction which occurs between the pin and the bush.

Once chain starts to elongate it necessitates regular adjustment and frequent downtime is inevitable as links require replacement. In a large warehouse that is highly automated with several kilometres of chain in operation, this can cause major disruptions. Regularly checking chain for discrepancies therefore is not efficient and quickly negates any cost saving benefits made during procurement.

Derek Mack, Sales Director for Tsubaki UK, comments: "The key to productivity in warehouse applications is longevity. It is vital that downtime is kept to a minimum to allow the site's logistics to carry on undisturbed. Tsubaki has vast experience within the materials handling industry and offers a strong product portfolio which can be tailored to most requirements and guarantees the highest quality on the market."

Tsubaki is well known throughout the industry for producing chain which is proven to last longer in almost any environment than its competitors. Its BS GT4 Winner has been designed to retain lubrication at the point of contact between the pin and the bush which reduces the need for scheduled servicing. Alternatively, once installed Tsubaki's 5th generation Lambda Lube Free roller chain requires no external lubrication whatsoever.

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Tsubaki also offers BS RF series flat side plate chain which provides users which is suited for use in basic conveying applications, such as pallet conveying. Tsubaki sales engineers can recommend the most suitable chain type for individual applications taking into account special requirements - such as low-noise, corrosion resistance and hygiene.

Tsubaki can further facilitate the materials handling industry with its unparalleled number of attachment chain variations. The range is in a continued state of evolution thanks to regular R&D investment and offers a readymade solution to suit almost any application. Attachments are available to convey, push, pull, lift and carry products of any type in almost any environment. Free flow chain is also available to allow for product grouping, a vital requirement in many warehouse environments.

Tsubaki is able to offer fast delivery on most attachment chain products by sorting the range into three complementary categories: Stock items, 'build-to-order' and 'made-to-order'. The three categories are well documented in separate catalogues which are available to order from a member of the sales team or download from Tsubaki catalogue downloads.

Derek Mack continues: "The temptation when specifying chain for warehousing applications may be to find initially the cheapest product, especially when extremely long lengths are required. We would always recommend that end-users weigh up the benefits of low initial procurement costs with the negatives of hefty maintenance and repair bills, plus repeated replacements over the life of the product.

"It's true that in some cases the most modern and high-tech roller chain might be overkill. This is why we have developed such a comprehensive range of chain, so we can offer solutions which directly benefit each individual application. Our sales engineers are well trained to offer accurate total life cost estimates to help customers source a solutions which is right for them."


– 2014 July 16