Wine producer cuts downtime with new chain02 August 2021

A German wine producer has improved its productivity by retrofitting an anti-corrosion chain on its conveyor system. The company invested in a Tsubaki Neptune chain that has increased service life and reduced downtime with less-frequent replacement and maintenance requirements. The upgraded chain has also reduced the total cost of ownership.

A wine producer in Germany bottles the wine and uses a series of conveyors to transport the bottles through the production process. At the end of the system, the bottles are buffered and accumulated on a spiral conveyor. The spiral conveyor is driven by a roller chain. However, as it’s a wet environment, the chains rapidly corrode and become subject to high friction. This results in a short wear life.

The chain’s position is difficult-to-reach from a maintenance perspective, and as a result of the wet environment, relubrication is difficult. With an irregular lubrication regime combined with the corrosive conditions, the conveyor’s chain required replacement every two years. Frequent chain replacement increased procurement costs and, because of the chain’s difficult-to-access location, it also increased downtime, reducing the wine producer’s productivity.

The wine producer replaced the spiral conveyor’s chain with Tsubaki Neptune, designed for use in corrosive environments. The Neptune has significantly outlasted the two-year service life of the previous chain and has already reduced the total cost of ownership. Crucially, the chain’s extended service life has minimised downtime with less frequent replacement and servicing, which has also reduced the time and cost of maintenance.

The Tsubaki Neptune’s durability is a result of a corrosion-resistant coating. The two-layer coating including resin covers the links, plates, bushes and pins of the chain. The Neptune is tested to withstand 700 hours of salt water spray. The chain is also tested for 2,000 hours’ resistance against sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide, which are frequently used as cleaning agents in the food and beverage industry.

While anti-corrosion treatments can create harmful environmental consequences, for the wine producer it was crucial to avoid these effects. Tsubaki’s Neptune chain is free from harmful hexavalent chromium and other potentially dangerous elements, such as arsenic, lead, mercury or cadmium. As a result, the Neptune chain is RoHS compliant.

The wine producer is satisfied with its investment in a premium-grade component, which is key to the performance and productivity of their manufacturing process.

Operations Engineer

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