Forklift Maintenance Breakthrough Requires No Lubrication

Forklift maintenanceAnyone familiar with forklift maintenance knows that one of the least desirable jobs is greasing the chain on the mast, especially at the top of the mast. But a company in the UK has developed an innovative new chain design that makes this process obsolete.

It’s called the “Sealed for Life” chain and it features self-lubricating bearings and cutting edge sealing technology that keeps the chains permanently contained within a sealed cylinder that is filled with lubricant.

Less Maintenance, Little Downtime

Peter Church, managing director of FB Chain Ltd., the company that developed the new design, said in a company news release that one of its main benefits is less maintenance and, consequently, less downtime for forklift fleets equipped with the new device.

“Forklift engineers often need to access the top of the truck’s mast to lubricate chain rollers,” Church said. “With taller masts, the tops of which can be some considerable height from the floor, this can present a problem. We discussed the issue with one of our top bearing suppliers and they were able to show us new bearing technology that we have adopted in the design of our chain rollers.”

The result? Savings in upkeep costs and forklifts that are rarely, if ever, taken out of service for repairs and maintenance.

“Trucks fitted with FB’s ‘Sealed for Life’ rollers will require infrequent or even zero maintenance, which is good news for both the truck user and the forklift service engineers who will spend less time struggling to lubricate hard to access chain rollers,” Church said.

Triples the Bush Load Capacity

The devices use a new type of self-lubricating sintered bush. In the past, bronze bushes were only used in light duty applications. But thanks to new material design, they can now take more than three times the load.

“We already make chain rollers and fit them with a number of different types of bearing solutions,” Church said. “However, they all need lubricating. We discuss this with one of our bearing suppliers and they showed us a new bearing material that we instantly knew could offer us a good solution to the ‘infrequent or no maintenance’ chain roller issue.”

Another benefit of the new devices is that they remove the need for costly cross drilled pivot pins with grease nipples that are essential when using conventional chain pulleys.

Comprehensive Product Testing

During product testing, the “Sealed for Life” rollers were able to successful endure more than 60,00 cycles while lifting a 4 ton load to a variety of different heights.

One of FB Chain’s primary clients has not only installed the new rollers on all of its new machine designs, but also has retrofitted it’s existing fleet so that it can use the new chain pulleys to reap reduced maintenance costs and improved overall performance.

The new forklift chain pulleys are not the only innovation to come out of the UK in recent months. In October, the same company — FB Chain, which is based in Letchworth, England — introduced a new line of forklift chains that were designed to cause less
damage to hydraulic hoses during operation.


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