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20 years of Marathon chain – The success story goes on

For 20 years, one of our most successful products has been our maintenance-free Marathon chain. It moves systems all over the world and under the toughest conditions in a wide variety of applications and industries. And the success story goes on, as we will continue to meet the constantly growing requirements by continuously developing our high-performance chains.


Today, high-end chains from Wippermann, “Made in Germany”, are more in demand than ever. “Besides availability, operational safety and reliability, freedom of maintenance plays an increasingly important role in industrial mechanical and plant engineering,” explains Dr.-Ing. Jakob Küpferle, Head of Engineering at Wippermann jr. GmbH. Deployment of these particularly powerful and maintenance-free chains is useful wherever re-lubrication is not possible or not desired – for example, to keep the work environment free from contamination by lubricants or to prevent cost-intensive manufacturing processes from being interrupted by unnecessary maintenance intervals.

“What makes the Marathon chain so special is the fact that it combines freedom of maintenance with long service life. This is exactly what the big success of this unique product is based on,” says Dr.-Ing. Jakob Küpferle.

Replacing standard chains with the durable product from Wippermann is no problem. “The dimensions of the Marathon chains comply with the standard ISO 606,” Dr.-Ing. Küpferle explains. This means: Any standardised roller chain can be replaced by a Marathon chain. Its breaking load exceeds the requirements as specified in the standards. The Marathon range also includes roller chains of the GL series with straight plates, long-link chains in accordance with ISO 1275 as well as accumulator chains.


Marathon and Marathon RF – maintenance-free and extremely resilient, even with permanent water contact

The combination of high-grade sinter bushings containing special lubricants and a specially coated pin results in a self-lubricating chain joint. Therefore, the service life of the Marathon chain is up to 35 times longer than that of standard roller chains without lubrication. In order to expand the range of use of the Marathon chain to include particularly demanding areas of application, we have developed a stainless version of the Marathon chain. Thanks to its different polymer bearings, the chain can also be used in environments where dry running operation or permanent contact with water is required. Even applications in connection with chemical substances are now possible. Alternative bearing materials also allow deployment in the food industry or high-temperature area.


Continuous further development for various fields of application

Thanks to permanent further development and optimisation, we were able to continue the 20-year success story. “It’s our motivation to continuously push the technical and economical boundaries of maintenance-free chains to the benefit of our customers,” says Dr.-Ing. Jakob Küpferle. Renowned companies from a variety of industries rely on the quality of our maintenance-free Marathon chains. In most cases, the fields of application are concealed in complex manufacturing or transport systems. Sometimes, however, designers also rely on Wippermann components from Germany when realising spectacular projects.


On top of the Globe

The designers of the SkyView, one of the most striking attractions of the Swedish capital Stockholm, for example, made use of Marathon chains from Wippermann. In two gondolas, the glass lift which went into operation in 2010 takes people across the spherical façade of the Ericsson Globe all the way up to a spectacular viewpoint. A complex mechanism is used to keep the gondolas in perfect balance during the ride. At a height of 130 metres, visitors can fully trust in the reliability of the Marathon chains used here.


Advancement as rigid chain in the Marathon Lift

Based on the Marathon chain, Wippermann started developing a maintenance-free rigid  chain for an innovative lifting system in 2019 thus exploiting a new market segment. "The Marathon Lift is designed as a powerful and particularly economical alternative to previous chain-based or hydraulically operated lifting systems," says Dr. Stephan Gerber, CEO Wippermann junior GmbH. The compact Marathon Lift can lift loads of up to 1.8 tonnes precisely and smoothly up to a height of 2 metres within 10 seconds. The set target for the development of the system: At least 1 million movement cycles without maintenance interruptions. "It was a logical step for us to use the outstanding properties of the maintenance-free Marathon chain for a drive system that is designed for hundreds of thousands of movement cycles without cost-intensive maintenance intervals,” Dr. Stephan Gerber explains.


Modularity as a concept for tailor-made drive solutions

Driven by our claim to always offer our customers the best chain for their specific application, a whole family of maintenance-free chains has emerged in two decades. With our concept for maintenance-free high-performance chains, we pursue a modular approach. Since every application is different, we offer our customers components with different properties and thus enable their chain to be configured precisely according to their specific requirements. For customised drive solutions with outstanding performance. Now and in the future.

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