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The development of the central chain

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World Cement,

HEKO Ketten, based in Wickede (Ruhr), Germany, is a leading manufacturer of highly wear-resistant chains and components for horizontal conveying equipment and bucket elevators. In its almost 100-year history, HEKO has gathered experience in multiple industries worldwide.

Over the years, HEKO has been able to recognise several bucket elevator trends and incorporate them in its product portfolio. Even in a usually rather ‘traditional’ business sector such as the cement industry, such trends can be observed – one of them being the central chain for use in bucket elevators.

Within a rather short time period, the central chain has become an industry favourite for conveying needs. The traditional HEKO-system of round link chains remains in use in plants all over the world and delivers good results thanks to the use of special alloy steel, as well as the individual heat treatment every HEKO chain receives. However, the central chain has received a lot of attention throughout the world – and particularly in Arabic markets where several plants have already implemented central chains from HEKO.

Another interesting business area is the Southeast Asian market, with its export giants Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. HEKO was already allowed to retrofit several plants here with the HKZ1800 chain with a tensile strength of 1800 kN. (Here, it should be noted that the HEKO central chain can also be used in most plants without retrofitting.)

The test and consecutive runs underlined why the central chain has become so popular. Having only small distances between the buckets means that high capacities can be easily managed. Even axis intervals up to more than 60 m are possible with the HEKO central chain. In the case of a higher throughput, two central chains can be installed in a single bucket elevator. These so-called tandem bucket elevators can convey up to 1000 tph.

Another advantage of these central chains is that up to four different chain sizes can be delivered and made according to the customer’s needs. The chain length can also be adjusted individually, creating a perfect solution for every customer.

The connection of two chain strands is made via a separately delivered connecting link, which consists of an outer plate with two press fitted bolts as well as a loose outer plate that will be compressed during the assembly.

The use of the central chain in bucket elevators definitely adds to the safety of any conveying plant – whether it conveys abrasive or hot bulk goods. The retrofitted plants in Southeast Asia definitely show one thing: the central chain is a good investment into the future.

Adapted from press release by

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