Challenges of working with gypsum

Challenges of working with gypsum

Naturally occurring gypsum has a long tradition as a building material, with first use-cases dating back to the Neolithic age. Today, it is a crucial component in plasterboard, favoured by builders across the world for its ease of use and relatively low weight.

There are only a few manufacturers in the world who can supply complete plants for the manufacture of plasterboard. Since the 1970s particularly one OEM has relied on Renold inverted tooth chains and sprockets to run some of the critical parts of its production lines. The bespoke chains have been specially developed to suit the needs of the gypsum plasterboard manufacturing process.

Manufacturing challenges

To reach their daily production goals, manufacturers need to ensure that every step of the production process runs as planned. Many of the gypsum production plants operate in nine stages, each critical for ensuring the quality of the end product. First, the carton board is rolled out onto the assembly line and the carton side edges flanged. Then, the gypsum paste is applied, and rolled with the carton board to achieve the desired thickness. The edges are then glued, and the gypsum paste hardened on the lashing section. The boards are stamped, and the endless belt cut to length before they are turned, oven-dried, and finally palletised.

Unfortunately, the very material that makes gypsum boards so easy to use and affordable to manufacture can put a strain on the machinery and especially the chain running the production line. The main problem is the plaster dust, which is abundant in the factory environment: it can quickly build up within the chain’s components, increasing the risk of component failure.

The Renold Tooth Chain solution

To overcome these production challenges, Renold designed an inverted tooth chain that is specially developed for use in plasterboard manufacture. Its solution typically consists of two or multiples of  specially matched chains installed in parallel.

First of all, the link plates of the chain are laid in pairs so that the plaster dust can trickle through the chain more easily and prevent contaminating the joints. To further optimise the smooth running of the chain, the tooth tips are flattened: this helps minimise the pressure on the sliding bed, enabling the chain to withstand wear for longer.

The Renold chain has been developed to work in perfect unison with the rest of the components in the  production lines, such as carriers, and to provide the best possible protection against corrosion from dust throughout the production cycle. It features mounting holes that enable brushes to be screwed into the carrier to clean the sliding bed and protect the chain and conveyor components from plaster dust.


For manufacturers to achieve their production targets, all components of the production line must work seamlessly together. Supplying leading suppliers of gypsum processing plants for over four decades, Renold chains have been a crucial and very consistent part of these plants. While Renold chains undergo constant development and review, the design of its tooth chain for gypsum applications has remained virtually unchanged since 1970. This is a testament to its robustness and durability, and the innovative design that continues to set it apart from the competition.

To find out more about Renold Tooth Chain solutions for the gypsum industry and other demanding applications, please visit