During our CM-ET training classes we receive many questions, especially about chain and proper lubrication. In my opinion, the chain is the most abused and neglected part of the motor. It is almost rare to find chain in the field that does not need to be lubricated unless it has just come from the factory. So here they are, your three most frequently asked questions along with our answers:
1. How do I know when the chain needs to be lubricated?
The easiest way to know if your load chain needs lubrication is by watching it as it goes into the chain bag. If it is stacking up on one side as it enters the bag, it is a sure indication that you are lacking proper lubrication.
In past years when riggers were using the old Klein type bags with the single hook connecting to the side of the hoist, the question would come up: How do I avoid the chain coming out of the bag? When the chain is dry and it stacks up, it eventually comes out over the top of the bag.
If the chain is properly lubricated, it will flow evenly and disperse into the bag like water.
Another sure sign of a lack of lubrication is when you have a full load and you hear that “tell all” creaking sound as the chain is running over the lift wheel. What you hear is the chain actually wearing itself out by friction welding the links together and breaking that weld because there is no lube between the them. This is where you get chain wear.
2. What is the proper lubrication to use?
The oil recommended by Columbus McKinnon is 10R made by Lubriplate. There are many other brands that are available that you can get at your local hardware store. What is important is that the lube you obtain have an “EP” additive. The “EP” is short for extreme pressure. Without that additive you will not be able to keep your lubrication between the links while under a full load. Most chain saw manufacturers produce oil for their saws that contain this additive. Most bar and chain lubrications will work.
3. How do I properly lubricate the chain?
There are many ways to lube your chain but I recommend to drop your chain into a bucket and pour the lube over the pile of chain. It is important that the chain be loose and the links separated at this point. If you spray it on while the chain is hanging you might not be able to get between all the links. After adding the lube, hang it up and let the chain drip dry as long as possible and retain as much of the run off so that you can reuse it. At this point I recommend taking some dry rags and wiping the chain down to remove as much of the excessive oil as possible. You will not be able to remove it between the links with this process, and between the links is where you want the lubrication. It is ok if the chain appears to be dry as long as the lube is between the links where it is needed.
Again, lubrication is very important and can not be neglected. Keep an eye out for dry chain.
If you have questions about any of the above or are interested in attending a training class, please feel free to reach us on our new Entertainment Technology website: www.cm-et.com or at our training site www.cmcodepot.com.