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Airless wonder! Cost-effective conveyor roller chain lubrication

Home Transport & Logistics Materials Handling Airless wonder! Cost-effective conveyor roller chain lubrication

A simple, reliable, cost-effective and easy-to-install solution for lubricating horizontal roller chains on industrial conveyors with a chain pitch greater than 25mm.

That’s how SKF is positioning it’s airless oil projection system, which it says can be applied to a wide range of applications including handling conveyors, conveyors used for grading, cleaning, cooking and pasteurising fruit and vegetables and floor conveyor chains used in the automotive industry.

“It also presents a perfect lubrication solution for industrial bakery oven chains as well as for oven/dryer chains used by, for example, the food processing, construction materials and wood industries,” said SKF Product Manager – Mapro, Eddie Martens.

He pointed out that there are a significant number of friction zones and parts on roller chain that require lubrication. “These include the projection nozzle, inner plate, lubricant film, pin, bushing and roller. By automatically delivering a measured quantity of lubricant to each friction or lubrication point on the chain, our centralised CLK system eliminates excess lubrication, saving costs for the end-user and ensuring an altogether cleaner environment.”

The automatic CLK oil projection system is made up of an integrated, compact central unit with a 7.5-litre reservoir, an inductive proximity sensor, single or double projection nozzles and a volumetric piston pump.

When each roller in the chain is passed, the sensor sends an electrical signal to the control unit which activates the volumetric piston pump when the system is in the lubrication phase. The pump then delivers a precise quantity of lubricant that is transported via 4mm stainless steel tubes from the central unit to each projection nozzle.

Once the lubricant has been delivered to each friction point on the moving chain links, it is forced back to the projection nozzles through the tubes.

Martens explained that the lubricant penetrates between the various elements of the chain by gravity and capillarity forming a lubricant film at the friction zones of each element of the chain link. “This reduces temperature rise and subsequently parts wear.”


The automatic lubrication process can be cyclical, semi-automatic or continuous. The system works on a succession of lubrication phases and stand-by phases which are easily programmable for each application on the user-friendly control unit.

Users can set up their preferred lubrication programme based on their requirements on the control unit’s easy-to-read 2×16-character front display which clearly indicates system status as well as the various lubrication parameters. They are able to seamlessly change the parameters and access messages by means of four push buttons.

The control unit also enables users to monitor the level of lubricant in the reservoir as well as the functioning of the proximity sensor (providing that the sensor is approved by SKF).

The oil reservoir is manufactured from transparent HDPE (high-density polyethylene) conveniently making a visual oil level check possible. In addition, once the minimum level has been reached, an electrical contact level sends a signal to the control unit to alert the user. An external signal can also be sent to the machine command unit.

Martens said SKF’s CLK airless oil projection system delivers a host of safety as well as cost and time saving benefits. Eliminating the need for manual lubrication enhances employee safety and preventing unscheduled downtimes improves productivity. As none of the system components is in mechanical contact with the chain, any risk of wear and potential build-up of dirt is eliminated.

“The subsequent decreased friction reduces energy consumption as well as chain wear, extending chain service life.”

He said the system is also extremely rugged. “The central unit features protection class IP 65, all components are corrosion-resistant and the nozzles and stainless-steel lubricant pipework are suitable for high temperatures of up to 200°C.”

The CLK lubrication system is available from SKF in a complete kit form which comprises all the components necessary for the installation of the lubrication system, including the central unit, nozzles, proximity sensor as well as all fittings and accessories.

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