Vesconite Hilube bushings quintupled the lifespan of roller chains on scraper reclaimers
06 June 2024

Some 30 years ago, wear-resistant self-lubricating Vesconite Hilube bushings first began to be used on roller chains and immediately proved their worth to the conveyor and mineral processing industries by extending the operational life of roller chains on two scraper reclaimers by an impressive fivefold. 

This improvement in lifespan was achieved by retrofitting the steel bushings of the chains with Vesconite Hilube sleeves, each with a wall thickness of 3 mm (0.12 inches).

Previously, the reclaimers used an original design comprising steel pins (EN19) and steel bushings (EN36). However, wear, due to insufficient lubrication and the abrasiveness of the phosphate rock and chloride slag being conveyed, led to frequent seizing of the pins and bushings. This issue was particularly pronounced when the chain links navigated the sprockets of the outer link plates. In search of a more reliable solution, the operator opted for Vesconite Hilube bushings.

Vesconite Hilube was selected for its exceptional wear resistance and self-lubricating properties, crucial for an abrasive environment and where lubrication could contaminate the conveyed product. 

Installed in November 1993, the Vesconite Hilube bushings faced the rigorous demands of handling 2,500 tons per hour of material, with particle sizes ranging from 250 to 300 microns and a bulk density of 1.9 tons/m³. The reclaimers had three 100 kN VBS-type roller chains with 400 mm (15.7 inches) pitch roller chain links.

After processing one million tons of material, the Vesconite Hilube bushings underwent their first inspection in July 1994. The inspection revealed polished steel pins and minimal wear on both the pins and the Vesconite Hilube bushings, showcasing the material’s durability.

An additional 1.5 million tons of phosphate rock were conveyed before the Vesconite Hilube bushings were removed in August 1995, nearly two years post-installation. Throughout this period, the bushings delivered outstanding performance.

Adopting Vesconite Hilube bushings in the scraper reclaimers showed that increased machinery efficiency and longevity were possible. By addressing the critical issue of wear and lubrication, Vesconite Hilube bushings demonstrated their value in enhancing overall machine performance, resulting in reduced maintenance and lower operational costs.

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