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Portable chain lubrication system for hot ovens
Portable chain lubrication system for hot ovensKeywords Chain lubricants, Ovens
Lubrication technology specialist KS Paul Products has developed a portable, automatic lubrication system for high-temperature oven chains (see Plate 5). It is suitable for any industry which employs a conveyor-type hot oven as part of its manufacturing process. Industries such as food, rubber, white goods, automobile, and metal finishing are typical where cost saving and other benefits can be achieved.
Plate 5 Internal view of K.S. Paul's portable Autolubricator. The twin, air-driven, adjustable pumps deliver a precise quantity of lubricant to a pair of nozzles located close to each chain within the oven. In the foreground is the manifold block, which is installed on the outside of the oven, with quick-connect couplings for attaching lubricant and air lines
The new mobile lubrication system is quickly and easily transferable between different ovens and amongst the companies who have already ordered the system is Chaucer Foods' bakery at Derby, UK. At this site Chaucer operate three tunnel ovens lubricated with K.S. Paul's BL570 synthetic chain lubricant, and they have been successfully running an Autolubricator since early January this year. User benefits associated with the system include increased lubrication efficiency, operational cleanliness, ease of handling, significant cost savings owing to a greatly reduced labour involvement, and mobility of the base unit. Furthermore, because there is no atomisation of the lubricant, chain lubrication can take place during normal periods of production without danger of contamination.
Like many bakeries, Chaucer's ovens operate continuously for 24-hours a day, six and a half days a week. Usually, a brief break between shifts on a Saturday morning allows the maintenance engineer to lubricate the oven chains. It is a job that can take up to one and a half hours per oven if old style graphite-in-water lubricants are hand applied, and is messy, inaccurate and labour intensive.
That scene has changed dramatically with the pneumatically operated Autolubricator. Now the engineer needs spend only a minute or so connecting the lubricator to the oven. With the conveyor moving, each of the chain's roller bearings will automatically be given a shot of liquid lubricant as they move past the nozzles. This leaves the maintenance engineer free to do other jobs. Once the chains are fully lubricated, the modular base is disconnected and wheeled to the next oven.
The portable lubricator has two small air-driven pumps, which deliver adjustable quantities of lubricant. The pumps themselves have been shown to be capable of operating for up to 45 million cycles without any maintenance!
Hoses connect the air and lubricant to an oven-mounted manifold, fitted with quick-connect couplings. Within the oven, bundy tubing links the manifold to pairs of nozzles, mounted close to each chain on either side of the oven's conveyor.
As the chain moves, the rollers actuate a cam which, in turn, causes a control valve to signal the pumps to send an air-assisted shot of lubricant. A special feature of the control valve is that it only operates when the lubricator is switched on. As soon as the air supply is disconnected, the cam moves away from the chain rollers and the valve ceases operation, thus preventing unnecessary valve actuation.
An ingenious feature of the way the lubricant is applied is the addition of a tiny blast of air that follows behind the shot. This ensures that there is no lubricant tail-back, forcing the tail to join the main shot cleanly and without waste. Consequently, a precise quantity of lubricant, which is adjustable from the lubrication unit, gets applied every time.
According to Chaucer's maintenance engineer, John Greatorex, the new system is a real winner! "Not only does it accurately apply the BL chain lubricant", he said, "but it also means one unit can lubricate in turn my three ovens. Whereas I used to spend three hours a week lubricating the chains, it now takes only ten minutes."
K.S. Paul Products has also launched a new range of BL Series 2000 chain lubricants in tandem with the Autolubricator. These lubricants are based on the latest fluoropolymer technology, using materials originally developed for use in critical space applications. White and odourless, they have high temperature capability above 3008C.
For further information contact Roger Locke, K.S. Paul Products Ltd, Eley Road, Eley Estate, London N18 3DB. Tel: +44 20 8345 5566; Fax: +44 20 8884 3255; E-mail: email@example.com