Category Archives: Common Sense Facts about Chain Design, Maintenance and Uses

A series of “Common Sense Facts about Chain Design, Maintenance Practices and Uses” of Chain

Chain Assembly in the Field

When it comes time to assemble your welded steel chain in the field, there are a few critical things that every customer should know.

First, the sidebar holes must be lubricated. Moly-Paste, 30W oil, WD40 or other types lubricants will work. Next, place the pin in the chain joint and press the pin in as far as possible. Keep in mind that if your pin is constructed with flats, you will want to line up the flats in the sidebar. Then you will begin tapping the pin with a hammer until snug.

Secondly, securing the chain joint to prohibit lateral movement is vitally important. In order to accomplish this, you will need to place a spacer bar between the outer sidebars and clamp it in place. This will keep the sidebars from moving in relationship to each other. The pin can be installed with a portable hydraulic press or driven in with a sledge hammer. Lastly, you will press or drive the pin into the chain until the head meets the sidebar.

Once the pin is in place you will need to determine whether you have cotter pins or rivet pins.

If you have a cotter pin you will need to follow these instructions:

  1. Install the cotter with a hammer and bend the ends enough to secure the cotter in the hole.

If you have a rivet pin you will need to follow these instructions:

  1. Heat the end of the pin (non-head side) with a rosebud or torch until the pin end is red in color.
  2. Rivet the pin end with a portable hydraulic press or peen over with a hammer.
  3. If the chain does not flex freely, hit the head end and rivet end alternately with a hammer to establish clearance. This will establish the necessary clearance without affecting the designed press fit in the sidebars.
  4. The integrity of the press fits must be maintained. Therefore, grinding pins or modifying the sidebar pin holes to facilitate assembly will void the warranty.

Watch the video below for a tutorial on how to install riveted pins.

Preventing the Weakest Link: To Grind or Not to Grind Your Pins

To Grind or Not to Grind Your Pins? When making field connections on your chain DO NOT grind your pins because this will only cause you more headaches in the upcoming months. When discussing chain, the old saying “Your chain is only as strong as your weakest link.” has never been so true and by grinding a pin you have just created a weak link.

As machining and hole punching processes get more precise we can use these processes to our advantage and add more value into the chain for our customers. Websters current processes allow us to reproduce a consistent and repeatable interference fit between the pins and the sidebar holes. With this repeatability, we solely rely on our press fit to keep the pins stationary in the sidebar. There are always a few exceptions to the rule based upon the geometry of the parts, but for the most part you will notice our pins with a full round end.

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Measuring Chain Elongation

Measuring Chain Elongation

Chain elongation is an easy way for the customer to determine the wear on the internal components of the chain just by taking a few measurements while the chain is on the conveyor. The measurement can then be compared to the chain’s original length and used to determine how much life is remaining in the chain.

To measure chain elongation, you will first need to follow any and all safety guidelines to lockout the conveyor and remove any guards needed to gain access to the chain. Usually, a 10 pitch section of chain is preferred, but more or less can be used depending on access to the chain. When taking the measurement on the chain there are several locations you can measure from and to, but the measurement needs to be taken from a consistent place. In other words, if the measurement starts from the centerline of the pin it will need to end on the centerline of the pin approximately 10 pitches away, or however many pitches are being measured.  Other common places to measure to and from would be the front edge of the pin head or the front edge of a sidebar. Once this measurement is taken it can be used in the formula below to determine the chain’s elongation.  Once the chain elongation is determined the rules of thumb are as follows:

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RWL vs. AUS – An Engineering Perspective

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RWL vs. AUS  – An Engineering Perspective

What are Rated Working Load (RWL) and the Average Ultimate Strength (AUS) of an engineered class chain and what do they mean?

First let’s tackle the AUS and a general overview of how it is calculated. The AUS is a calculated value from the chain manufacturer of the average breaking strength of the chain. The published AUS rating is generally the lowest calculated value between the following: the sidebar’s tensile strength, the sidebar’s shear strength and the pin’s shear strength (see Figure 1). Generally speaking this number should not be used when sizing a chain for a particular application because this is the breaking limit of the chain; the chain should never equal or exceed this value as it will result in total chain failure. It should be considered into your chain choice when a higher fatigue strength is required for the more demanding applications.

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Direction of Chain Travel – It Goes That-A-Way

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Direction of Chain Travel – It Goes That-A-Way

What is the proper direction of travel for welded steel chains? If run in the proper direction, you can actually reduce wear on the chain and sprockets by 80-90% when compared with chain operated in the wrong direction. Running your chain in the right direction will improve chain life, extend the life of the sprockets, decrease maintenance costs, and increase the “uptime” of your operation.

Welded steel chains are normally produced with offset style sidebars. In addition, welded steel chains have a “fixed” barrel. However, before we get into the particulars of the sprocket interaction with these chains, the first decision is to determine whether the chain is used as a conveyor chain or as a drive chain. Most welded steel chains in the forest products industry are used as conveyor chains. For this discussion, we will concentrate on the use of welded steel chains on conveying applications.  For general purposes, remember these two rules:

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