Dry Running Conveyors Can Improve Safety, Performance and Sustainability

System Plast® NG® Evo Chain from Regal Rexnord™ enables end users to reduce or eliminate their conveyor lubrication, providing a true “dry running” conveyor, which can improve safety conditions, reduce water usage, lower costs, and improve conveyor performance. Image courtesy of Regal Rexnord™

Historically, conveyor operators have been limited to using excessive soap and water to reach the performance levels needed to meet their production goals. Considering the numerous drawbacks of using soap and water for lubrication, many manufacturers have moved to using precise amounts of dry lubricant instead. While dry lubrication does reduce water usage, it can also cause issues such as paste build-up, premature wear, excessive noise, pulsation, and hygiene issues.

This concept is known within the packaging industry as “run-dry technology,” or “running dry.”

Dry running conveyors allow for the reduction or elimination of soap and water or dry lubricants, causing less water usage and significant cost savings. Having the ability to run a conveyor line without lubrication also leads to increased performance, sustainability, and a safer work environment.

Regal Rexnord™ System Plast® NG® Evo Chain uses proprietary engineered resins designed to provide a reduced coefficient of friction over “industry standard” materials. This enables end users to reduce or eliminate their conveyor lubrication, thus providing a true “dry running” conveyor. These materials can help eliminate the water needed for conveyor lubrication by up to 80-90%.

NG components have been proven to provide a longer wear life in comparison to components made from other materials, such as acetal and UHMW, and have been shown to reduce noise levels. Better sliding properties also result in the ability to run at higher speeds and have reduced power consumption. Additionally, NG products are FDA approved for direct food contact and have high chemical and abrasion resistance.

Depending on your objectives, some of the outcomes you can experience from a run-dry conveyor line include improved product handling performance, mitigation of bacterial growth by the elimination of wet lubrication, streamlined maintenance and conveyor access due to the absence of drip trays and a dry working environment, expedited equipment inspection and upkeep, as well as the realization of water savings and financial gains through the elimination of soap or dry lubrication expenses.

The adoption of run-dry technology is an investment that produces a substantial return, as seen when converting the return on investment (ROI) into recurring annual savings. While translating hygiene and safety benefits into dollars can be challenging, the cost savings derived from reduced soap and water consumption, as well as minimized wastewater treatment expenses, are significant. In the case of retrofitting existing lines, the ROI associated with transitioning from wet lubrication to a fully dry line is typically achieved within a year or less. When evaluating the ROI for a new line, the marginal additional cost incurred by opting for the premium solution with NG conveyor components far outweighs the expenses that come with utilizing spray nozzles, dosing equipment, and drip trays.

The transition from traditional lubrication methods to run-dry technology represents a pivotal advancement for conveyor operators seeking to optimize performance, safety, and sustainability. Embracing this innovative solution not only enhances operational efficiency but also aligns with sustainable practices, making it a strategic choice for the future of conveyor systems.

For more information on the benefits of running dry and Regal Rexnord’s System Plast® NG® Evo chain: Why Run Dry Matters

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