In contrast to most continuous bucket elevators available in the marketplace today, TipTrak™ units from UniTrak use a rubber beltchain instead of a metal chain to drive the elevator. The rubber beltchain avoids many of the performance issues typically encountered with metal drive chains while allowing for more precise customization of the bucket elevator to its target application.
About the TipTrak™ bucket elevator rubber beltchain
The TipTrak™ rubber beltchain is produced from a high-performance synthetic elastomer molded around pre-stretched aircraft cables made from stainless steel. Because they are pre-stretched prior to being molded into the beltchain, the cables comprising the core of the beltchain will never stretch when placed into actual use. This eliminates the need for re-tensioning of the drive chain – a problem frequently encountered with metal drive chains.
UniTrak uses a variety of application-specific elastomers to mold TipTrak™ beltchains. These elastomers are especially compounded to withstand the service conditions encountered within a specific application. Commonly encountered application service conditions that our elastomers are formulated to address include:
- High/low temperature. Elastomers formulated to handle a wide range of temperature extremes.
- Chemical attack and corrosion. Elastomers designed to resist the chemical attack from aggressive media.
- High wear and abrasion. Super-tough elastomers designed to resist wear from abrasion.
- Food-grade service. Elastomers made from FDA-approved ingredients.
Advantages of the TipTrak™ rubber beltchain
Before looking at the advantages of the TipTrak™ rubber beltchain, it is useful to consider the shortcomings of metal drive chains. These are the following:
- Metal chains must be regularly maintained. Regular maintenance by the end-user is one of the most important factors governing the life of a metal chain. Maintenance activities that need to be carried out regularly on metal chains include, cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment and tensioning.
- Metal chains can corrode and degrade. Some materials are aggressive to normal steels and will attack the integrity of a metal chain. Corrosive materials can cause pitting of metal surfaces, increasing the bearing pressure and wear rate. Materials such as nitrates can cause failure of stressed chain components due to nitrate stress cracking.
- Metal chains can be abraded. Some materials are extremely abrasive and if these materials come into contact with a metal chain, accelerated rates of wear can result. While it is possible to improve the abrasion resistance of metal chain components, this generally entails higher cost.
- Difficult to clean. The components of a metal chain represent numerous entrapment points where material can accumulate and degrade.
- Metal chains can be noisy. In operation, high noise levels can arise from metal-on-metal contact between metal chain components and other constituents of the elevator drive assembly.
In contrast to these disadvantages, the rubber beltchains on a TipTrak™ bucket elevator offer:
- Zero maintenance. Compared to metal chains, TipTrak™ rubber beltchains run slack and do not need to be tensioned, regulated or lubricated. Because the TipTrak™ rubber beltchain runs at a much lower tension than a metal chain, the load and stress placed on the conveyor frame and drive components is much less. In addition, the pre-stretched aircraft cables that make up the TipTrak™ beltchain core mean that the beltchain will never stretch, loosen or require adjustment.
- High resistance to corrosion and wear. For applications involving aggressive, corrosive or abrasive materials, TipTrak™ rubber beltchains can be supplied with elastomers that are highly resistant to chemical or abrasive attack.
- Easily cleaned. Unlike metal chains, TipTrak™ rubber beltchains have fewer entrapment points in which material can accumulate and degrade. The TipTrak™ rubber beltchain can also be washed in-place while still mounted in the elevator frame, using pressurized water. Beltchains made from FDA-approved materials are available for food-grade applications.
- Quiet operation. TipTrak™ rubber beltchains run in a positive drive system that ensures quiet operation. No noisy metal-on-metal contact!
When buying a continuous bucket elevator for your operations, consider the advantages of a Tiptrak™ bucket elevator equipped with the rubber beltchain. With industry-leading reliability, TipTrak™ units minimize unplanned downtime and provide a high ROI. To find out more about TipTrak™ bucket elevators and the rubber beltchain, please contact our sales team for assistance.