Polyethylene wear strips are a common sight in many conveyor applications, protecting chains from damage and reducing noise and vibrations – yet only in a single colour. Now FB Chain is offering customers a new two-colour design, developed by its conveyor specialist Graham Barber, which can help service technicians to better plan maintenance.

In Barber’s design two contrasting coloured plastics are layered over each other and as soon as the base colour becomes visible through the top layer, technicians know that it is time to replace the wear strip. This visual cue acts as a convenient built-in wear indicator. Technicians do not need to stop the conveyor to check the degree of wear to the wear strips and it ensures they are replaced at the optimum time – not too early, generating unnecessary expenditure, and not too late when damage could be caused to the conveyor chain. Proven innovation

So far FB Chain’s new wear strips have been successfully installed at the UK’s first straw-fuelled power station in Cambridgeshire. Here 2000m of FB Chain wear strips are protecting eight parallel strands of roller chains as they feed straw bales into a biomass burner.

“This power station has been an important customer for FB Chain for the past five years but over the past 18 months we’ve worked closer together than ever to help optimise their operations. The wear strip design innovation was just one of the ideas that came out of our discussions with this customer,” Barber says.

FB Chain has also designed custom sprockets for the power station’s straw conveyor with double the number of teeth for better wear distribution – increasing sprocket replacement intervals and reducing replacement costs, as well as ‘mud guards’ which prevent fallout material from clogging the mechanism and bringing the conveyor to standstill. FB Chain estimates that it has saved the power station more than one million pounds over the last 18 months due to increased conveyor uptime. Outages to the conveyor – and therefore, the power station’s entire energy production system – can cost its operator as much as £100,000 per day.

Custom as standard

FB Chain is ready to supply its two-colour wear strips for conveyor or roller chains in any length, quantity and size – and in any RAL (British Standard) colours. Black and yellow were selected by the power station to keep both its Cambridge United football and Ely Tigers rugby supporters happy.

The two-colour wear strips are even available in EU and FDA standard polyethylene for the food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Single-coloured polyethylene wear strips made from recycled (regenerated) material can also be supplied by FB Chain as a cheaper and more environmentally-conscious option, as well as manganese, Hardox or steel wear strips for heavier-duty applications.