What is a roller chain?
A roller chain is a kind of chain used to transmit mechanical power and is a type of chain drive. It is mainly composed of many short cylindrical rollers linked together and driven by a gear called a sprocket. Roller chains are widely used in households and various machinery industries such as agricultural, mining, petrochemical, food industry as well as conveyors, printing presses, automobiles, and logistics aspects.
The roller chain is mainly composed of five parts which are rollers, holding pins, inner chain plates (roller link plate), outer chain plates (pin link plate), and bushings.
When the roller chain is working, the inner and outer chain plates can be relatively flexed, the bushing can freely rotate around the pin. The roller sleeved on the bushing can reduce the friction and wear caused by the movement of the chain and the sprocket. The inner and outer chain plates are usually made into an "8" shape, in order to make the force strength equal to each section. The roller chain and other parts are made of carbon steel or alloy steel. After heat treatment, the roller chain reaches a certain strength and hardness. The power of the roller chain’s transmission can reach up to 3600kW.
The roller chain link can be divided into connecting links and offset links. Connecting links have three types which are connecting link with a spring clip, connecting link with a cotter pin, and connecting link with a spring pin. For smaller roller chains, we usually use the spring clip connecting links and for a larger roller chain, we choose to use the cotter pin and spring pin to connect the chain.
Another type of connection is an offset link. Offset links are usually used to make the length of the chain an odd number of pitches. Basically, the offset link can be divided into two types which are single pitch offset link and double pitch offset links.
The single-pitch offset link is often equipped with an unassembled slip-fit pin on the link plates. The double-pitch offset link is a combination of a roller link and an offset link connected with the rivet pin. Compared to the single-pitch offset link, the double-pitch offset link is more reliable and durable.
Types of Roller chains
Roller chains are generally referred to as precision roller chains for short-pitch transmissions, which are widely used and have a large output. Roller chains can be classified into two types which are single-strand roller chain and multiple-strand roller chain, both of which are suitable for low-power transmission activities.
According to their names, we can know that single-strand roller chains are composed of single chains. The multiple-strand roller chain has two and more rows of chain side by side. Compared with the single-strand roller chain, the multiple-strand roller chain is connected by a long pin. Multiple-strand roller chain is suitable for operations that bear larger loads and transmit larger power. The most common types of multiple-strand roller chain that we used is the double-strand roller chain and triple-strand roller chain. The carrying capacity of a roller chain is directly proportional to the number of rows. But when there are more rows, it will be difficult to make each row evenly stressed, so the number of rows should not be too many.
The application of Roller Chain in Conveyor System
In the conveyor system, the roller chain is the most common way to transfer the energy generated by the motor to any system. The conveyor chain is mainly used to efficiently transport required materials and articles in a long-distance or short-distance environment. When the teeth of the sprocket and the roller chain mesh with each other, this can transmit a large amount of torque without losing any energy. At the same time, it can effectively transmit power. We can also reduce or increase the speed of transportation by changing the size of the sprocket. The most commonly used conveyor chain is the ASME (ANSI) style attachment chain.
Compared with belt transmission, the transmission of the roller chain has stronger stability and higher rotation efficiency because it will not slide elastically during the movement, and it can maintain accurate and uniform transmission. The roller chain does not need too much tension, so the load between the shaft and the bearing is also small, and it can work better at low speed and heavy load activities. However, the roller chain produces a noise when it is working, so it is not suitable for those activities that are required to change the direction of rotation frequently.
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