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The efficiency and reliability of a chain driven system highly depends on the interaction between the chain and sprocket. Just the smallest discrepancy in size can lead to stress damage to the chain, while low quality materials can cause the sprocket to wear and require early replacement. The Tsubaki range of sprockets has been manufactured from high quality steels to integrate seamlessly with all standard chain sizes and ensure a long and reliable service life.


All of the carbon steel sprockets supplied by Tsubaki as standard from stock feature induction hardened teeth to ensure that the wear life of both the sprocket and chain is maximised.

With so many companies claiming expertise in manufacturing roller chain products that do not require any external lubricant throughout their lives, Tsubaki, the original creators of  lube-free chain explain how it is done and detail some surprising real world benefits...

There are a number of ways of achieving non-lube performance of drive chains. These vary with the load capacity and life requirements of the transmission medium. Today engineering plastics, especially self-lubricating acetyl types, play a part but, in the main, these type of chains suit applications where corrosion resistance and weight saving are more important than load capacity. Where conventional externally lubricated steel roller chain is normally used power transmission capacity and wear life are the main criteria for selection and an all steel lube-free chain is required.


Tsubaki's lube-free Lambda chain is now in its third year of operation at Mirror Group printing (MCP Watford), where the unique operating conditions meant that previous generations of roller chains were lasting only three months.  Since installation Lambda has also saved critical down time in an operation where there are only a few hours available for maintenance between print runs.

Lambda chains are utilised in two areas of a continuous printing process at MCP Watford.  The first is on forwarding stations where the printed papers are moved from the press to assembly machines.  The second area of usage is in transfer stations; these are effectively crossroads in the finishing and assembly process where three pairs of chains run in parallel, each pair with plastic 'frog' attachments, set at different intervals to carry papers as they change format with folding and inserts.