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How to maintain your drive chain

🔗 Mechanical transmission

Date of publication : 13/10/2023

Reading time : 3 Minutes


Correct lubrication and maintenance of a drive chain are essential to optimize its performance and extend its service life.

Choosing wisely, installing correctly and maintaining a chain of transmission can greatly reduce maintenance requirements. Using a protective cover can also provide additional benefits, such as preventing fouling and reducing noise, while improving safety. However, to ensure the durability of your transmission system, regular maintenance is essential. In this article, we will explore in detail the importance of these aspects in effective driveline management, highlighting recommended practices to optimize the performance and extend the life of your driveline.

Chain lubrication

Transmission maintenance consists of regular (annual) oil pan cleaning and complete oil replacement. It is not recommended to change only part of the lubricating oil. Unprotected transmissions should be cleaned approximately every 3 to 6 months.

Transmissions used outdoors and in inclement weather may require cleaning at shorter intervals, depending on the degree of contamination.

The role of lubrication

Interpose a fluid between the rubbing surfaces to reduce their wear and prevent seizing.

Protect the chain against corrosion.

Reduce noise by interposing between surfaces subject to impact.

Evacuate the calories coming from the energy dissipated in friction.

Where to apply lubrication on a transmission chain?

In the area where the joints are subjected to low load to facilitate the penetration of the lubricant.

Through the plates to direct lubricant between the seal and the inner plates and rollers.

The relationship between a sprocket and a transmission chain

Before assembling the chain, the sprocket teeth must be thoroughly cleaned. First, dust and grease must be removed from the sleeve, which causes additional tension on the chain. Then check that the teeth are not excessively worn. If the wear is very advanced or if the teeth have taken on a curved shape, the gears must be replaced. It is not recommended to simply change the direction of movement of a worn sprocket.

It is also necessary to ensure perfect alignment of the wheels and pinions, which must turn without misdirection. If the sprockets wear out too quickly, consider using another material or dental work.

If the load is subjected to significant shock or the chain must operate at high linear speeds, the sprockets must be machined.

Never attach a new chain to a worn or mismatched sprocket, as the chain will quickly become unusable.

Cleaning and repairing the transmission chain

Chain cleaning

For a deeper clean, start by removing most of the dirt with a stiff brush or wire brush.

We then dip the chain in a cleaning product suitable for the grease or oil used and adapted to your working environment (food contact, etc.).

In this case, cleaning must mainly extend to the internal parts of the chain. To do this, it can be soaked in an oil bath or other suitable solvent for approximately 24 hours to soften hardened dirt and lubricant residue. The joints are then cleaned with a few back and forth movements in this bath.

If the chain is properly cleaned, you should no longer hear any rubbing or scratching when you move the links.

Possible repair

Then we make sure there are no faulty links or rollers in the chain and replace them if necessary. If the outer link is damaged, it is replaced with an external quick release or riveted link.

On the other hand, if an interior link or a roller is damaged, you must also remove the 2 neighboring links and replace everything with an interior link and two quick releases or two rivet links.

However, if the chain is visibly worn, it should not be repaired, but replaced completely.

What are the benefits of chain lubrication?

Effective lubrication is essential to maximize chain life and ensure smooth operation of the chain and conveyor process. Automatic chain lubrication can offer many advantages over manual lubrication.


  • Optimization of chain life
  • Reduced downtime due to insufficient lubrication
  • Optimization of lubricant consumption
  • Improved technician safety
  • Reduced labor time compared to manual lubrication
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced risk of product contamination


  • Food ovens and processes
  • General industrial painting booths
  • Car Body Pre-Treatment Paint Process Conveyors
  • Raised conveyors
  • Floor conveyors
  • Steel Coil Conveyors
  • Mineral wool processes
  • Escalators
  • Baggage conveyors
  • Sorting conveyors
  • Building Materials Process Conveyors
  • Paper Roll Conveyors
  • Wood processing process conveyors

The different types of chain

Transmission chain are an important part of the industry. It is made up of links linked together to form a continuous chain. Each link consists of an axle and a bushing around which a roller rotates.

Handling chain is similar to a distribution chain in that both are made up of interconnected links. However, there are important differences between the two types of channels. Conveyor chains are generally wider and heavier than transmission chains. They are also designed to support larger loads.

Practical advice for lubricating your transmission chain 

It depends on the usage. The different uses can be divided into four types:

  • Manual lubrication (brush, burette, etc.)
  • Drip lubrication
  • Splash lubrication
  • Pressure lubrication (spraying with possibly filtering and cooling of the oil)

These four lubrication methods are used in transmission and the choice should be made based on the type of chain and line speed.

In lifting and handling, manual lubrication and drip lubrication are often used, but also automatic brush or spray devices.

To benefit from personal experience and deepen your knowledge of our products, we recommend that you visit our sites or contact our product experts.

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