Drill rig chains work in some of the toughest environments. They’re also essential to a drilling rig assembly. As CBC Australia’s National Product Manager for Power Transmission, Troy Markland, explains, “once a drilling operation starts, you can’t afford a chain to break halfway through the process.”
This is why the Diamond® by Timken ‘High Strength’ (HS) series chains are recommended for drill rig applications – in fact, they’ve been specifically designed for them.
“With drill chain applications, the environment is harsh, abrasive, and there’s a lot of impact and shock load,” Markland says. “The key features of the Diamond HS chains are that they have great impact and wear resistance, as well as through-hardened pins. They are one of the best chains on the market for drill rig applications.”
The HS series chains have been made with increased fatigue strength which allows the chains to handle the shock loads. According to Rich Neuhengen, Product Manager at Timken Drives, the through-hardened pins and ballized plates are key features that distinguish the Diamond HS series from standard chains.
“Through-hardened pins are used for higher working load capacity and additional resistance to fatigue in heavy load applications. Whereas the ballized (after heat treatment) bushing-plate holes are made to precision tolerances to provide increased bearing area and press fits, improving fatigue life and working loads,” he explains. “Standard chains are designed with case-hardened pins and the link plates are not ballized after heat treatment. These chains have considerably lower working loads and are susceptive to unplanned chain failure.”
Markland further expanded as to why the tight tolerances on the HS chains make them unique.
“The tolerances are extremely tight on the fitment of components so the chain tracks really well and gets very little lateral movement,” he notes. “This means the HS chains will be longer lasting.”
And longevity and robustness go a long way in a drill rig application.
“Drill chains operate in probably the harshest environment of any chain in any application. A chain will cop a real hiding, and you just cannot afford failure,” Markland reiterates. “Once the chain has been put into service it’s got to complete that task without a breakdown. That’s why so many of these drilling operations choose the Diamond HS version – they trust it won’t fail.”
Another part of the appeal of the Diamond HS chains is that they are American-made and built to military specification. The HS are Diamond’s flagship range of chains and are regularly employed by the Navy. They are also certified by both the American Petroleum Institute (API) and to ISO 9001:2015 specifications.
“The brand reputation of Diamond by Timken is vitally important and given the fact that these chains are still made in the US goes a long way with our customers,” Markland says. “Any chain made by Diamond in the US is recognised and renowned for being a well-made, robust product, that uses high quality steel and is built to high quality control.”
Furthermore, Markland also stated that many Australian oil and gas operations tend to prefer using Diamond chains on their drill rigs.
“Diamond does supply to a lot of companies within the oil and gas sector in the US as an original equipment manufacturer, so it’s common for us to get a good response from the Australian oil and gas sector because the brand is just so known and respected,” Markland said. “But as with any Australian mining application – whether you’re drilling for gold, oil or gas – chains have got to be able to do the job reliably.”
Drill chains are expected to fulfil a certain number of hours for sites to keep to their budgets and productivity targets.
“In a lot of these applications, once you overhaul the drill rigs and do the maintenance, the chains will have to achieve a pre-determined number of working hours without downtime,” Markland said. “The Diamond HS chain provides that strength and reliability. And, by installing the chain, you know you’re probably getting the best product for the application because it is designed to do the job in that environment. This is why Diamond is always a favorite – you put it in knowing it will work.”
Having worked with CBC for 38 years, and specialising in external drives for 27 of those years, Markland is one of the most experienced in his field. In his role, he ensures the right products are matched to an application, as well as installed and maintained so that customers will get the best out of them. One of many reasons why Markland prefers working with original manufacturers like Diamond.
“The beauty of working directly with a manufacturer such as Diamond is that you can involve them in the application,” Markland enthuses. “This means you have access to their personnel and can utilise their expertise, whether that is in engineering or in production at the factory level. You can also tap into their global database to review case studies.”
On multiple occasions, Markland has referred to US case studies when proposing a solution to an Australian customer that involves the Diamond HS chains.
“The American market is very similar, it’s just exponentially bigger,” Markland claims. “But the fact that these products are military spec and we have case studies we can draw on that exemplify how reliable they are in this work, that gives most of our Australian customers confidence in the product.”
Neuhengen echoes Markland’s remarks about the significance of the brand’s reputation and makes mention of the value of the partnership between Diamond Chain Company and CBC Australia’s holding company, Motion Asia Pacific.
“For more than 125 years, the Diamond Chain Company has built a reputation on quality and expertise,” he says. “We can help our Australian customers achieve success by providing chains that will last and by working closely with our partners to educate their customers on the proper use in the right applications.