Designed for high-capacity forklifts, reach stackers and container handlers operating in ports, harbours and other freight terminals, FB Chain’s robust SuperEndurance chain offers a superior service life over standard heavy-duty leaf chain – helping boost uptime and profitability.
Manoeuvring extreme loads safely in damp, corrosive environments makes port material handling among the toughest of leaf chain applications. Leaf chains fitted to high-capacity forklifts, reach stackers and container handlers regularly bear loads of 5-80 tons.
But that’s not all – due to the use of spreader units and other attachments, chains are permanently held under load even when not lifting – and shock loads are a frequent occurrence. Add constant attack from the elements – saltwater is notorious for causing corrosion – and the odds are against standard leaf chain’s survival.
But FB Chain, provider of leaf chain to three of the top five forklift OEMs in the world, has developed a new breed of chain, especially designed to meet these challenges. The company’s SuperEndurance chain offers a fatigue and wear-resistant alternative to all equivalent ISO4347 BL (LH) series leaf chains – with a significantly longer service life.
“The initial outlay and ongoing maintenance charges associated with leaf chains for port handling equipment are high. However, the losses incurred when a large piece of equipment is out of service due to chain failure are far greater,” said Peter Church, managing director of FB Chain. “Our long-life SuperEndurance chain helps reduce fleet operating costs for all port-based applications, not only because users buy less chain but their equipment spends more time on the job.”
25% greater strength
FB SuperEndurance chain differs from standard leaf chain in that it has internal bushes connecting each pair of inner plates. This improves the tensile and compressive strength of the chain by ensuring maximum contact between the bearing plates and the bearing pin.
The load is distributed evenly on the pin and the risk of pin turning under heavy loads – a common cause of chain malfunction – is dramatically reduced. Factory tests on SuperEndurance chains showed a 25% greater tensile strength than the equivalent ISO 4347 construction leaf chain.
20% greater wear resistance
The design of the FB SuperEndurance chain also incorporates O-ring seals, which are assembled after each link hole has been individually lubricated and help to keep the oil locked inside the chain between the bush and the pin, where it is most needed. O-ring seals have been used on motorcycle chain for years but this is the first time they have been used on materials handling chain.
Factory tests showed a 20% greater wear-resistance of SuperEndurance chains fitted with O-ring seals, compared to standard construction leaf chains.
“Thanks to the O-ring seals, our SuperEndurance chain is practically maintenance-free – reducing service costs and time. Lubrication is only required to help the plates articulate and reduce noise as the chain runs over the pulley,” says Church.
Five years rust-free
To combat corrosion caused by salt spray and airborne saltwater droplets, all SuperEndurance chains are treated with a SuperShield coating – a three-stage process whereby the chain is pre-treated, applied with an anti-corrosion coating and a further top coat.
In the FB test cabinet, which aims to simulate the harsh, corrosive environments found on the dockside, standard leaf chain began to show signs of rust after around 12 hours and zinc-plated leaf chains after around 70 hours. But SuperShield-treated chains remained rust-free for over 500 hours. In a real-world situation this is the equivalent of five rust-free years.
“Because the FB SuperEndurance chain is relatively new to the market, we’ve yet to discover the true average service life in the field – and hope not to for at least another five years – but with test results like these, SuperEndurance chain is an innovation that ought not be ignored,” concludes Church.
May 13, 2014