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Chain Wearing Prematurely – Doughnut Fryer Case Study

THE CHALLENGE

A national snack food manufacturer was looking for a service life upgrade for its roller chain with attachments.

The roller chain was used in a fryer application, which attached to a wire belt that travelled through hot oil, ensuring that doughnuts travelled from the batter dispenser through the frying process without sinking to the bottom of the fryer trough.

In order to meet the FDA requirements for food contact surfaces, American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) 200, 300, and 400 Series Stainless Steel with a minimum chromium content of 16% would be required.

In addition, due to the continuous contact with oil from the fryer, lubrication of the chain would be an ongoing challenge with the chain wearing prematurely.

THE CHOICES

A Diamond Chain manufactures stainless steel roller chain in a variety of configurations.

Diamond’s AP series stainless steel roller chain features 300 series link plates, bushings and rollers with a precipitation-hardened stainless steel pin for an increase in wear life over standard 300 series stainless steel.

Diamond’s 300 series stainless steel roller chain is assembled entirely from austenitic components and features excellent corrosion resistance.

Diamond’s 400 series stainless steel roller chain features link plates manufactured from 300 series stainless steel with pins, bushings and rollers that are produced from 400 series stainless for superior wear resistance.

THE SOLUTION

The snack food manufacturer selected Diamond’s 300 series stainless steel roller chain as the solution for this application. 300 series is an ideal solution for food handling purposes in that it provides excellent corrosion resistance, has very low magnetic permeability and is considered non-sparking, which is especially important when working with oil in fryer applications.

Although initially considered a concern, lubrication turned out to be an insignificant issue. Traditionally, a mineral oil based lubricant is used for chain in food applications, but this wasn’t an option due to contact with the oil. Instead, the hot oil from the fryer acted as the chain’s lubricant, while an oil filtering system ensured that contaminants were removed from the frying trough in order to prevent contamination and buildup in the chain’s pin and bushing area.

THE RESULTS

With a switch to Diamond’s 300 series stainless steel roller chain, this manufacturer would see an increase of six weeks of service life in addition to purchase cost savings of $3,500 per year.

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