Cleaning leaf chain fork lift truckConsiderable soiling of leaf chains may periodically occur under certain conditions. If steam jet equipment is used to clean leaf chain, no aggressive, caustic cleaning agents or substances containing chlorine should be used. Only pure water or steam should be used in order to limit damage to the forklift chain.

After using steam jet equipment, a forklift chain will not only have been thoroughly cleaned but also completely degreased. Due to the presence of water, the leaf chain will be liable to rapid and extreme corrosion in this state. Water will remain longest in the leaf chain joint i.e. between the contact faces of the linkplate bore and the pin surface. This can lead to corrosion, stiffness and pitting.

Experts aggrees that this kind of corrosion is the primary cause of premature leaf chain failure and chain failure in forklift trucks.

Recommended jet equipment cleaning method for leaf chain

The following method is recommended for when the use of jet equipment cannot be avoided in leaf chain and forklift chain maintenance:

  1. Cleaning - Clean the leaf chain using steam or hot water only. Absolutely no additives should be used.
  2. Compressed Air - Immediately after cleaning the leaf chain, all water should be removed both from the surface and from inside the chain joints using high pressure compressed air.  The articulating links of the chain should be moved several times during this process.
  3. Re-lubricating – Make sure that the chain is slack and then spray with a preservative and lubricant. Articulate the chain several times so that the lubricant penetrates the chain joint.
  4. Products to be used – The following characteristics are recommended for forklift truck leaf chain lubrication:
  • Satisfactory corrosion protection and lubrication
  • Ability to penetrate through / under water
  • Continuously viscous after application
  • Good adhesion properties
  • Layer thickness and protective film able to withstand later aggression (rain / hail etc.)

If necessary, FB Chain can advise on special lubricants or surface finishes to address any abnormal lubrication issues with forklift truck chains or leaf chains used in arduous, harsh or aggressive environments.