Standard competitor chain (left) showed a steady build-up of corrosion product after 336 hours, with the surface coating appearing to rust. Some areas were still completely unaffected after testing, but substrate pitting was observed after cleaning. SuperShield (right) showed almost no corrosion product build-up, and no substrate pitting after 336 hours.
As we enter the inclement weather season, protecting forklift trucks and their chains from rust becomes an important topic for many fleet managers and service technicians. Yet FB Chain’s corrosion-resistant leaf chain with a SuperShield coating can help to keep maintenance and replacement costs down all year round – especially for equipment working outdoors, in cold stores or that needs to be regularly washed down.
The SuperShield coating (a type of high-performance zinc flake) involves a three-stage process in which the leaf chain is pre-treated, applied with a coating and then a further top coat. Once brought into service the SuperShield leaf chain can be handled like any other mast chain and must be lubricated on a regular basis to prevent elongation caused by wear.
In the FB Chain test cabinet, which aims to simulate harsh, corrosive environments standard leaf chain began to rust after 12 hours, while zinc-plated leaf chain began to rust after 70 hours. FB’s SuperShield leaf chain, however, remained rust-free even after 500 hours. This is an increase of over 4000% compared to standard chain. In real life conditions this is the equivalent of five years without rust.
The salt spray test was repeated by an independent mechanical testing and research laboratory in line with the ASTM B117 and D1193 standards in July 2015. Six steel chains with various surface treatments – including a standard chain from a competitor, a standard zinc-flake chain, and one with a graphite solid lubricant – were exposed to a 5% neutral salt solution for 336 hours, and once more the SuperShield coated chain came out on top, rivalled only by the standard zinc flake chain.
Where standard zinc-plated chain falls down, however, is when it comes to breaking strength. The electroplating process for producing zinc-plated chain often leads to hydrogen embrittlement, which only serves to shorten the service life of the chain by another means. By avoiding any acids or electrolysis in the coating process, SuperShield corrosion-resistant leaf chain retains all of its original flexibility and tensile strength. The water-based application of the SuperShield coating also means that it is more environmentally-friendly than a standard zinc flake coating.
“At FB Chain we are dedicated to helping customers get the most out of their chain,” says Peter Church, managing director of FB Chain. “Our innovative coating delivers outstanding protection against corrosion, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in our industry. FB SuperShield corrosion-resistant leaf chain will keep forklifts and other material handling equipment on the go whatever the weather, while saving our customers huge amounts of time and money replacing rusty chain.”