Continuous engagement with original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-users has allowed roller chain specialist KÖBO to continuously improve the quality and designs of its products, which meet the stringent hygiene and health and safety requirements of the food and beverage industry, says bearings and power transmission products distributor Bearings International (BI) national chain and drives product manager Frikkie Ras.
BI is the local distributor for KÖBO, which designs and manufactures maintenance-free, acid-resistant and stainless steel chain products and technology for bakeries, the meat, vegetable and grain-processing industries, as well as beverage producers.
“The manufacturing process of engineered chains for sterilising food is very complex, the chains need to meet two requirements – resistance against aggressive media and high-temperature resistance in the working environment. KÖBO’s products meet these requirements.”
Designing and manufacturing its chains from start to finish enables KÖBO to work with the OEM or end-user to solve problems that existing products may have or comply with specific technical or regulatory requirements, Ras adds.
Additionally, KÖBO can advise OEMs on the type and design of chain required for a certain application through the company’s over 125 years’ experience in the chain industry.
This not only ensures the best chain product for the machine being designed but also cost-effectiveness during the manufacturing process as standard available materials and processes are used, which ensures premium quality, Ras explains.
“Often, improvements requested by the end-user – which can also be the distributor – are directed towards the OEM, which, in turn, are conveyed to our design and technical department that can offer the required improvements or solutions. “This is an ongoing evolution of improvement through the interaction of all involved parties. The collaboration works among all.”
Further, working closely with OEMs and end-users enables KÖBO to develop innovative designs, such as special carbon bushes for high temperature oven chains.
“These carbon bushes are mounted in an external roller design chain which allows in situ replacement of the bush. “This design allows for the chain to outlast previous designs with replaceable bushes, and eliminate the need for external lubrication, increasing ease of maintenance,” says Ras.
In addition, KÖBO also has a continuous improvement programme, which entails doing research and introducing new products to the market that offer either improvements on previous designs or industry standards, or solutions specifically for OEMs and end-users.