Next-generation flat side plate chain for warehousing

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Tsubaki is redefining the performance and longevity of ‘standard’ flat side plate chain for automated warehouse applications with its next generation BS series RF roller chain. The new RF variants include several design improvements that combine to improve significantly the wear life of the chain.

BS RF chain is suitable for use in basic pallet-conveying applications for automated warehousing and logistics centres. The new chain is available in both standard carbon steel and Lambda lube-free variants. The Lambda version helps to address the problem of external contamination via lubricant on the chain surface and mechanical wear that results in chain elongation and high replacement costs. Lambda is 'dry to the touch' and therefore does not collect contaminants that work their way into the chain and cause wear.

Due to design innovations and material quality, the new BS RF conveyor chain also provides users with improved performance and longer wear life, effectively delivering overall cost savings through a whole-life cost approach to chain use. This is achieved through Tsubaki's controlled manufacturing process for material selection, manufacturing techniques and heat treatment to provide a real synergy of operation over the longer term.


This synergy is evident across the key components. As with every Tsubaki chain, this series is made of a special steel alloy, the specification of which has been developed by the Tsubaki engineering department for selected steel mills to work with. Each of the major components is then manufactured with specific characteristics in order to ensure best operational performance. From an operational point of view, pitch and hole size is carefully controlled to enable a precise fit with drive sprockets. This provides proper articulation, extending the life of the chain and the sprockets.

The link plate is made from special grades of steel alloy to provide tough, long-lasting performance in high-load conditions and resistance to damage caused by occasional shock loading.

To provide high levels of performance in demanding conditions, the bearing pins in the BS RF chain are produced from specifically formulated metals and are precision-manufactured components to ensure a consistent high-tolerance fit with the link plates and a smooth bearing surface for operational efficiency.

The super-smooth chain bushings used on the BS RF chain are also produced from special steel alloy materials using an advanced computer-controlled heat-treatment process. The bush is subject to complex forces, especially the repetition of shock loads when the chain engages with the sprocket. Therefore the bush needs very high shock load resistance. In addition, the bush forms a load-bearing component together with the bearing pin and, as such, requires great wear resistance. In common with the bearing pins, the bushings' dimensions are carefully controlled to provide a uniform bearing surface and a precise fit between the side plates. The rollers on the BS RF chain are also designed to withstand the impact load and are resistant to wear, but still maintain strength and resistance to shock, fatigue and compression.

Non-lube version

For applications where lubricant cannot be tolerated, or where chain elongation is a serious problem, Tsubaki offers the option of a Lambda non-lube version of the BS RF chain. The Lambda design features coated bearing pins, specially sintered bushings and extra-durable rollers. The bushings lubricate the chain internally and ensure a super-smooth engagement on the sprocket, resulting in reduced wear in many applications.

In addition, and critically for eliminating elongation, the rollers are externally dry to the touch, hence the chain does not pick up surface debris; this helps to prevent the wear problems that finally result in elongation. For extra protection of critical chain components in dusty environments, Tsubaki has developed X Lambda, which has a felt seal between the outer and inner link plates.

Tsubaki manufactures a broad range of application-specific chain products for conveying applications, from roller chains with standard attachments through to a huge number of specific attachment designs (over 3000 variations). There are chains with special capabilities such as bearing bush chain fitted with special bearings to prevent almost all chain elongation and bearing roller chain for compact high-performance, maintenance-free operation and the prevention of stick-slipping problems when used in specific line conveyor applications. Beyond this, Tsubaki has products covering a multitude of applications within the automated materials handling environment.

Products are stocked and supported locally through national and international distributors as well as being stocked at Tsubaki offices across Europe. The BS RF series chains are available from Tsubaki Europe in both standard lubrication and the Lambda lube-free variant in sizes ranging from RF08B-1 (1/2inch pitch) through to RF16B (1ich pitch) in both simplex and duplex styles.

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