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Chain ‘raises the standard’ for London’s Woolwich ferry

Chain ‘raises the standard’ for London’s Woolwich ferry

The Woolwich ferry provides one of the few available crossings of the River Thames in east of London, linking the north and south circular roads across the river. The ferry service bridges at Woolwich Crossing were recently overhauled and chain specialist Iwis Drive Systems from Tipton, UK, provided new roller chains for the North and South side bridge lifting systems. 

The River Thames, which passes through Britain’s capital, has seen a free ferry service based at Woolwich Crossing near Greenwich since the mid 18th century by act of Parliament. The ferry terminals are based on the north and south banks and allow passengers travelling by foot or by vehicle to cross the river. Each year the ferries carry over one million vehicles and 2.5 million foot passengers with a service operating every ten minutes, running 12 hours per day, 363 days every year. The passengers embark at each side on one of two bridges or ‘link spans’ which raise and lower according to tide and time, allowing a safe passage onto and off the ferry.

The current operator, Briggs Marine Contractors, is contracted by Transport for London (TfL) to manage a major overhaul of the complete ferry system to increase the reliability and resilience of the service and maintain the ferry service for many years to come. Briggs contracted Amco to undertake the major works associated with the link span refurbishment which has included the replacement of the complete hoisting mechanism. 

The four 240 ton bridges or link spans, whose life had expired, were lifted by roller chains attached to a wire rope and roller arrangement which were deemed inadequate for the application and have been subsequently replaced by a roller chain and direct drive sprocket arrangement supplied by Iwis. Amco awarded the order to Iwis, to produce and supply 500 metres of its 56B-2 (3.5in pitch duplex) Elite precision roller chain, and 32 pieces of duplex drive sprockets, which are almost one metre in diameter. “The ferry operates by Royal Appointment and is a very prestigious application of which we are all very proud,” Iwis managing director Andrew Fletcher explains. “We hope the application proves that Iwis is a serious supply partner to the world of power transmission with its Jwis and Elite roller and conveyor chain products.”

Headquarted in Munich, Germany, Iwis is a global partner to agricultural, automotive and industrial transmission and conveying sectors, supplying products through it’s global network of nine production sites and 15 subsidiaries. “The brands remain synonymous with quality, performance, value for money and innovation and our continued growth highlights our excellence in all areas,” Fletcher comments.

Iwis provides a full product range for all drive and conveying applications. This includes precision and high-performance roller chains, conveyor chains, maintenance-free and corrosion-resistant chains, power and free conveyor chains, special-purpose conveyor chains, flyer chains, flat-top chains, modular belts, chains and accessories for agricultural machinery, and timing drives for the automotive industry.

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