Manufacturers Must Stick To The Facts

History is important, and it's every bit as important in science and engineering as it is in any other field. Where would we be now without the likes of Newton, Ford, Stephenson, Edison, Bell and many other great innovators and pioneers? Yet we're in danger of forgetting our engineering past as some manufacturers are making claims to inventions that in reality had nothing to do with them at all.

Hans Renold patent for bush roller chain
Hans Renold's original 1880 patent
for Renold bush roller chain


Our history books do not record every single engineering innovation and so it's the manufacturing community itself that is guardian of some of the lesser, but none-the-less significant, industrial developments. It's important that manufacturers report on their achievements and innovations with accuracy and integrity, and effort should be employed to ensure that what are stated as facts really are correct.

For instance, one transmission chain manufacturer claims that it was the first in the world to develop chain with solid bushes and rollers in the late 1980s, and this, quite simply, isn't true. Renold was producing chain with solid bushes and rollers in the 1960s, and this was a well advertised fact!

Lubrication free chain from Renold in 1968
Brochure from Anchor Chain,
part of the Renold Group, in 1968


And it isn't just a one-off mistake made by one company. It seems to be almost endemic. Possibly even deliberate. Another manufacturer claims that its range of lubrication-free chain was the first to use an oil impregnated bush when it was launched in 1988, and that the company was the original 'creator' of lubrication-free chain. Again, this isn't true at all. Renold and at least two other Western chain manufacturers had developed lubrication-free chain, based on sintered-bush technology, way back in the 1950s!

At Renold this early lubrication-free chain was developed as a solution for customer-specific applications and was subject to constant testing and improvements. By the middle of the next decade the company had launched a range of lubrication-free chain available off-the-shelf, as had others, and this was in the 1960s, well over twenty years before one manufacturer is now claiming to have invented it at the end of the 1980s! This early range of lubrication free chain was well advertised and well known, with its own dedicated brochures and literature.

Is it important? Well, yes, it's very important. To claim to have invented or 'created' something that you haven't is not only disingenuous and misleading to customers but is also hugely disrespectful to the genuine innovators. Whilst lubrication-free chain might not rival Alexander Graham Bell's telephone or Henry Ford's mass produced Model T, it was an important engineering achievement and hugely beneficial to a wide range of machinery and equipment operators.

Its development and commercial availability gave end users a durable, cost effective, longer lasting chain on applications where lubrication was difficult or undesirable. This was really important. The chain on some applications simply couldn't be lubricated and had to run dry. In such conditions rapid wear meant that the chain would have to be replaced frequently, and on some machinery replacing chain can be a really big engineering job. Making a chain that didn't need lubrication during its entire working life was a milestone in the evolution of transmission chain.

As lubrication-free chain was improved and developed it went on to provide solutions on applications where contamination of the end-product by lubricant had to be prevented, such as in the food and paper-making industries. All the shuttering that previously had to be constructed to protect the product from lubricated chain was no longer necessary.

Renold Syno NP
Renold Syno NP


Renold's current range of lubrication-free chain, branded Syno, is more advanced than ever and features new and unique technology. It is also suitable for a wider range of applications than ever before. There is a range of nickel plated chain for hygiene sensitive applications such as the food industry, and polymer bush chains for heavy-duty applications. The latest addition to the range is Renold Syno PC Chain, a polymer steel design that is even suitable for applications where the chain might have to operate under water.

Renold Syno PC
Renold Syno PC


Improve the productivity of your food processing or hygiene sensitive application by specifying a chain that is designed specifically for your operating conditions.