Engineers, works managers - and accountants even - have been focussing firmly on the role of AC drive systems and energy efficiency motors as the means of reducing energy costs. This focus is entirely justified by the undeniable contribution to energy saving that inverter/motor combinations can make in most applications. However, it does not take into account cases where energy saving drives and high efficiency motors are routinely fitted as part of a larger power transmission train. In these instances there are other components, which, if not optimised for energy use, can cancel out the potential for achieving savings. Alternatively if they are considered and specified they can substantially enhance the savings made by motors and drives.
One product area in particular that has been overlooked by industrial consumers in this respect is power transmission roller chain. Despite this lack of awareness, the potential for achieving savings is indeed real, and is proven by two innovative products. Both aimed at conveyor applications, Bearing Roller Conveyor Chain and Double Plus Chain, can help to optimise the energy savings of any power transmission system, protecting the gains made further up the transmission chain via energy efficient motors and drives.
The design of the Bearing Roller Conveyor Chain (BRCC) integrates cylindrical roller bearings inside the chain, providing superior performance through increased strength & reduced friction. This allows a decrease in driving power enabling users to downsize by selecting a chain up to two sizes smaller, and to reduce costs by using smaller drive motors. In addition, by using BRCC, driven conveyors also require less energy to operate, making them more economical. It reduces chain running resistance to 1/3rd that of conventional conveyor chain. The chain’s design also ensures that any irregular movement of the conveyor caused by stick slip phenomenon is completely eliminated right down to chain speeds as low as 2m/min.
Packing and sealing grease into the bearing area of the chain rollers further enhance the low friction operation of BRCC. This operation reduces lubrication maintenance by up to ten times, depending upon the application, and increases the superior energy efficiency characteristics of the chain. In addition, the combination of sealed lubricant and the chain’s low friction coefficient solves the problem of dust causing early wear between bushing and roller, extending chain wear life far beyond that experienced with standard conveyor chains. As a result, the chain suits users with wear-induced chain life problems. The product is offered in standard form but also now with a lube free technology for greater corrosion resistance.
The term “free flow” could have been termed to describe the energy saving characteristics of the Double Plus conveyor chain. Double Plus conveys at more than twice the speed of ordinary free flow chain. Its design incorporates a large centre roller, and a smaller outer roller, which supports the chain on a guide rail. When engaged, the large centre rollers (upon which conveyed objects travel) rotate at the same rpm as the small rollers. However, since the diameter of the large rollers is approximately 2.5 times that of the smaller ones, conveyed objects move along approximately 2.5 times faster than the chain.
The benefits of this design are that chain speeds up to 60% slower can be used without affecting the object conveying speed. Consequently, motor drive speeds can be reduced leading to substantial energy savings, and to reduced noise levels some 15db lower than those of plastic side roller chains.