Cyclists who perform their own bicycle maintenance will know what an awkward and messy business it can be to lubricate the chain, yet it is vitally important for keeping a bike running smoothly. Some bike owners use specialized chain oils, while others advocate synthetic motor oils like Mobil 1 New Life 0W/40, but whatever you use, much of it is usually wasted.
A German startup is trying to rectify this situation with its Flectr Lubri Disc, which now has a Kickstarter funding campaign. This device consists of a sponge to hold oil and two magnetic discs. To prime the device, users separate the two magnetic discs and apply up to 30ml of oil onto the sponge. Once filled, the designers claim this will be enough for about 10 chain applications.
Once primed, the user simply presses the disc against the chain and turns the crank in reverse. The disc then spins as the chain passes through it, applying oil in the process. Just two to three turns of the crank should be sufficient, followed by repeating the process on the other side of the chain. Thanks to eliminating leaks and excessive application, the designers claim only a tenth of the oil is needed, saving money for its users and reducing environmental pollution.
While the product is clearly aimed at bicycles, it may be interesting to see if a similar concept could be applied in industrial settings, such as to lubricate the chains in drives and conveyors.