Introduction to Chain Lubrication
Proper lubrication is the key to optimized operating performance and long working life.
Without proper lubrication, even the highest quality chains cannot reach expected working life.
It is necessary and important to pay attention to the lubrication and maintenance.
The purpose of chain lubrication maintenance
- Reduce wearing between pin, bush and roller
- Keep chain operating smoothly and reduce noise
- Offer protection to avoid corrosion and rust
- Chains have been pre-lubricated to prevent wearing in the initial application when delivered from the factory. After a period of operating, re-lubrication should be done to maintain optimized performance and working life.
Chain lubrication position
- Pin, bush and roller are wearing parts for roller chains while pin and holes on inner plate are wearing parts. Lubrication should be targeted to these area and parts.
- As below graph shows, lubricate the chains interspace between roller and inner plate and inner and outer plates.
- Please lubricate on the slack side of the chain. If the chain is taut, loosen the chain (if possible).
Suggested lubricants and viscosity
|Viscosity||SAE 5||SAE 10||SAE 20||SAE 30||SAE 40||SAE 50|
|※ If the ambient temperature has two viscosities to choose from, please choose the oil with higher viscosity first.|
Relationship between lubrication method and chain specification / chain speed
|Type A Manual or Drip Lubrication||Type B Oil Bath or Slinger Disc Lubrication||Type C Forced pump lubrication|
|12.70 mm||Below 88 m/min||Below 670 m/min||Above 670 m/min|
|15.88 mm||Below 73 m/min||Below 588 m/min||Above 588 m/min|
|19.05 mm||Below 64 m/min||Below 530 m/min||Above 530 m/min|
|25.40 mm||Below 52 m/min||Below 451 m/min||Above 451 m/min|
|31.75 mm||Below 44 m/min||Below 396 m/min||Above 396 m/min|
|38.10 mm||Below 38 m/min||Below 357 m/min||Above 357 m/min|
|44.45 mm||Below 34 m/min||Below 329 m/min||Above 329 m/min|
|50.80 mm||Below 30 m/min||Below 305 m/min||Above 305 m/min|
|57.15 mm||Below 27 m/min||Below 283 m/min||Above 283 m/min|
|63.50 mm||Below 26 m/min||Below 268 m/min||Above 268 m/min|
|76.20 mm||Below 23 m/min||Below 241 m/min||Above 241 m/min|
Four methods to lubricate the chains
- Apply the lubricant on the slack of the chain between interspace of roller and inner plate and inner and outer plates by brush, oil can or spray can.
- Periodically lubricate before the chain dry out.
- Drip oiler lubricates the chain by dripping oil into the chain between interspace of roller and inner plate and inner and outer plates.
- Oil amount is 4 to 20 drops per minute.
- The faster the chain operate, the more oil drops is required.
- As below graph shows, the chains is in a closed chain case and the lower strand of the chain run through an oil bath.
- The height of oil bath surface should be the centerline of pin at the lowest point of the chain when the chain is running.
- Too much oil might cause foaming and overheating.
- Oil temperature should not exceed 82°C (180°F)
Slinger Disc Lubrication
- In a closed chain case, a slinger disc is installed with lower sprocket to rotate together.
- It uses centrifugal force to deliver the oil to the collector plate and gutter below collector spray oil on the chain.
- The height of oil surface should be 12 ~ 25mm higher than the bottom of disc but do not to soak the chain.
- When the chain width is more than 125mm, please install slinger disc on both sides of the chain.
- Slinger disc need to have circumferential speeds between 183m/min to 2238m/min.
- If Circumferential speeds is too slow, it may not effectively deliver oil, while too fast, it may cause foaming and overheating. Oil temperature should not exceed 82°C (180°F)
Forced Pump Lubrication
- In a closed chain case, a pump is installed to draw lubricating oil to spry it on the chain.
- Forced pump lubrication is suitable for chains running at high speeds and high loading.
- The lubricating oil should be sprayed on the slack side of the chain and evenly sprayed on the entire width of the chain.
- If necessary, install a cooling system to cool the lubricating oil.
- According to the power (horsepower) of the chain drive, the required lubricating oil flow is as follows:
|50HP (37kW)||0.25gal/min (0.95L/min)|
|100HP (75kW)||0.50gal/min (1.89L/min)|
|150HP (112kW)||0.75gal/min (2.84L/min)|
|200HP (149kW)||1.00gal/min (3.78L/min)|
|300HP (224kW)||1.50gal/min (5.68L/min)|
|400HP (298kW)||2.00gal/min (7.57L/min)|
|500HP (373kW)||2.50gal/min (9.46L/min)|
- Grease lubricant do not have flowability and cannot not get into the joints of the chain. Therefore, it is not ideal lubricant for maintenance.
- To confirm if the chain is lubricated properly or sufficiently, remove the chain the check the pin and bush on the connecting link (master link). If contact area of pin and bush show tearing, red or dark brown color, it usually means insufficient lubrication.
- For type A manual lubrication, it is important to follow lubrication schedule and use correct grade of oil. Please clean the chain with kerosene or a nonflammable solvent if the chain is dirty before re-lubricating.
- For type B and C lubrication methods, please change the lubricating oil after the first 50 hours of the new chain and every 500 hours thereafter (if operating under severe conditions, please change the lubricating oil every 200 hours).