SELF-LUBRICATING CHAINS FOR ICE CREAM REFRIGERATION TUNNELS
The latest generation of refrigeration tunnel chains used in the ice cream industry summarizes ZMC‘s experience in this sector. In fact, for more than thirty-five years ZMC has been working with some of the leading manufacturers and end-users of this market to design ever more advanced chains capable of meeting the extreme demands imposed by applications at very low temperatures.
The refrigeration tunnels reach -40°C, a temperature necessary to obtain ice-cream hardening. The chains for this application are characterized by extended pins to which the trays that transport the product are hooked. The chain slides on a guide and moves slightly uphill and downhill engaging on numerous sprockets along the way.
The high-quality construction materials are chosen to withstand the work environment, guaranteeing corrosion resistance and adequate mechanical strength while avoiding the risk of embrittlement, always latent when the steel works below zero degrees Celsius. The plastic elements, bushings and sliding wearpads, are also specially chosen and designed to obtain a long life, that is wear over time, in total absence of lubrication.
The most recent technical innovations concern the geometric shape of the pin, carefully designed to mitigate the effect of concentrated loads on the edges of the bushes and of the shocks suffered in each passage of the chain between the guide and the sprockets.
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