A Series Short pitch Precision Simplex Roller Chains & Bush Chains
|Width between inner plates
|Pin length||Inner plate depth
| Plate thickness
|Average tensile strength
|Weight per meter
*Bush chain:d1 in the table indicates the external diameter of the bush
Roller chain or bush roller chain is the type of chain drive most commonly used for transmission of mechanical power on many kinds of domestic, industrial and agricultural machinery, including conveyors, wire- and tube-drawing machines, printing presses, cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. It consists of a series of short cylindrical rollers held together by side links. It is driven by a toothed wheel called a sprocket. It is a simple, reliable, and efficient means of power transmission.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHAIN
Two different sizes of roller chain, showing construction.
There are 2 types of links alternating in the bush roller chain. The first type is inner links, having 2 inner plates held together by 2 sleeves or bushings CZPT which rotate 2 rollers. Inner links alternate with the second type, the outer links, consisting of 2 outer plates held together by pins passing through the bushings of the inner links. The “bushingless” roller chain is similar in operation though not in construction; instead of separate bushings or sleeves holding the inner plates together, the plate has a tube stamped into it protruding from the hole which serves the same purpose. This has the advantage of removing 1 step in assembly of the chain.
The roller chain design reduces friction compared to simpler designs, resulting in higher efficiency and less wear. The original power transmission chain varieties lacked rollers and bushings, with both the inner and outer plates held by pins which directly contacted the sprocket teeth; however this configuration exhibited extremely rapid wear of both the sprocket teeth, and the plates where they pivoted on the pins. This problem was partially solved by the development of bushed chains, with the pins holding the outer plates passing through bushings or sleeves connecting the inner plates. This distributed the wear over a greater area; however the teeth of the sprockets still wore more rapidly than is desirable, from the sliding friction against the bushings. The addition of rollers surrounding the bushing sleeves of the chain and provided rolling contact with the teeth of the sprockets resulting in excellent resistance to wear of both sprockets and chain as well. There is even very low friction, as long as the chain is sufficiently lubricated. Continuous, clean, lubrication of roller chains is of primary importance for efficient operation as well as correct tensioning.
Many driving chains (for example, in factory equipment, or driving a camshaft inside an internal combustion engine) operate in clean environments, and thus the wearing surfaces (that is, the pins and bushings) are safe from precipitation and airborne grit, many even in a sealed environment such as an oil bath. Some roller chains are designed to have o-rings built into the space between the outside link plate and the inside roller link plates. Chain manufacturers began to include this feature in 1971 after the application was invented by Joseph Montano while working for Whitney Chain of Hartford, Connecticut. O-rings were included as a way to improve lubrication to the links of power transmission chains, a service that is vitally important to extending their working life. These rubber fixtures form a barrier that holds factory applied lubricating grease inside the pin and bushing wear areas. Further, the rubber o-rings prevent dirt and other contaminants from entering inside the chain linkages, where such particles would otherwise cause significant wear.
There are also many chains that have to operate in dirty conditions, and for size or operational reasons cannot be sealed. Examples include chains on farm equipment, bicycles, and chain saws. These chains will necessarily have relatively high rates of wear, particularly when the operators are prepared to accept more friction, less efficiency, more noise and more frequent replacement as they neglect lubrication and adjustment.
Many oil-based lubricants attract dirt and other particles, eventually forming an CZPT paste that will compound wear on chains. This problem can be circumvented by use of a “dry” PTFE spray, which forms a solid film after application and repels both particles and moisture.
Layout of a roller chain: 1. Outer plate, 2. Inner plate, 3. Pin, 4. Bushing, 5. Roller
If the chain is not being used for a high wear application (for instance if it is just transmitting motion from a hand-operated lever to a control shaft on a machine, or a sliding door on an oven), then 1 of the simpler types of chain may still be used. Conversely, where extra strength but the smooth drive of a smaller pitch is required, the chain may be “siamesed”; instead of just 2 rows of plates on the outer sides of the chain, there may be 3 (“duplex”), 4 (“triplex”), or more rows of plates running parallel, with bushings and rollers between each adjacent pair, and the same number of rows of teeth running in parallel on the sprockets to match. Timing chains on automotive engines, for example, typically have multiple rows of plates called strands.
Roller chain is made in several sizes, the most common American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards being 40, 50, 60, and 80. The first digit(s) indicate the pitch of the chain in eighths of an inch, with the last digit being 0 for standard chain, 1 for lightweight chain, and 5 for bushed chain with no rollers. Thus, a chain with half-inch pitch would be a #40 while a #160 sprocket would have teeth spaced 2 inches apart, etc. Metric pitches are expressed in sixteenths of an inch; thus a metric #8 chain (08B-1) would be equivalent to an ANSI #40. Most roller chain is made from plain carbon or alloy steel, but stainless steel is used in food processing machinery or other places where lubrication is a problem, and nylon or brass are occasionally seen for the same reason.
Roller chain is ordinarily hooked up using a master link (also known as a connecting link), which typically has 1 pin held by a horseshoe clip rather than friction fit, allowing it to be inserted or removed with simple tools. Chain with a removable link or pin is also known as cottered chain, which allows the length of the chain to be adjusted. Half links (also known as offsets) are available and are used to increase the length of the chain by a single roller. Riveted roller chain has the master link (also known as a connecting link) “riveted” or mashed on the ends. These pins are made to be durable and are not removable.
An example of 2 ‘ghost’ sprockets tensioning a triplex roller chain system
Roller chains are used in low- to mid-speed drives at around 600 to 800 feet per minute; however, at higher speeds, around 2,000 to 3,000 feet per minute, V-belts are normally used due to wear and noise issues.
A bicycle chain is a form of roller chain. Bicycle chains may have a master link, or may require a chain tool for removal and installation. A similar but larger and thus stronger chain is used on most motorcycles although it is sometimes replaced by either a toothed belt or a shaft drive, which offer lower noise level and fewer maintenance requirements.
The great majority of automobile engines use roller chains to drive the camshaft(s). Very high performance engines often use gear drive, and starting in the early 1960s toothed belts were used by some manufacturers.
Chains are also used in forklifts using hydraulic rams as a pulley to raise and lower the carriage; however, these chains are not considered roller chains, but are classified as lift or leaf chains.
Chainsaw cutting chains superficially resemble roller chains but are more closely related to leaf chains. They are driven by projecting drive links which also serve to locate the chain CZPT the bar.
Sea Harrier FA.2 ZA195 front (cold) vector thrust nozzle – the nozzle is rotated by a chain drive from an air motor
A perhaps unusual use of a pair of motorcycle chains is in the Harrier Jump Jet, where a chain drive from an air motor is used to rotate the movable engine nozzles, allowing them to be pointed downwards for hovering flight, or to the rear for normal CZPT flight, a system known as Thrust vectoring.
The effect of wear on a roller chain is to increase the pitch (spacing of the links), causing the chain to grow longer. Note that this is due to wear at the pivoting pins and bushes, not from actual stretching of the metal (as does happen to some flexible steel components such as the hand-brake cable of a motor vehicle).
With modern chains it is unusual for a chain (other than that of a bicycle) to wear until it breaks, since a worn chain leads to the rapid onset of wear on the teeth of the sprockets, with ultimate failure being the loss of all the teeth on the sprocket. The sprockets (in particular the smaller of the two) suffer a grinding motion that puts a characteristic hook shape into the driven face of the teeth. (This effect is made worse by a chain improperly tensioned, but is unavoidable no matter what care is taken). The worn teeth (and chain) no longer provides smooth transmission of power and this may become evident from the noise, the vibration or (in car engines using a timing chain) the variation in ignition timing seen with a timing light. Both sprockets and chain should be replaced in these cases, since a new chain on worn sprockets will not last long. However, in less severe cases it may be possible to save the larger of the 2 sprockets, since it is always the smaller 1 that suffers the most wear. Only in very light-weight applications such as a bicycle, or in extreme cases of improper tension, will the chain normally jump off the sprockets.
The lengthening due to wear of a chain is calculated by the following formula:
M = the length of a number of links measured
S = the number of links measured
P = Pitch
In industry, it is usual to monitor the movement of the chain tensioner (whether manual or automatic) or the exact length of a drive chain (one rule of thumb is to replace a roller chain which has elongated 3% on an adjustable drive or 1.5% on a fixed-center drive). A simpler method, particularly suitable for the cycle or motorcycle user, is to attempt to pull the chain away from the larger of the 2 sprockets, whilst ensuring the chain is taut. Any significant movement (e.g. making it possible to see through a gap) probably indicates a chain worn up to and beyond the limit. Sprocket damage will result if the problem is ignored. Sprocket wear cancels this effect, and may mask chain wear.
The most common measure of roller chain’s strength is tensile strength. Tensile strength represents how much load a chain can withstand under a one-time load before breaking. Just as important as tensile strength is a chain’s fatigue strength. The critical factors in a chain’s fatigue strength is the quality of steel used to manufacture the chain, the heat treatment of the chain components, the quality of the pitch hole fabrication of the linkplates, and the type of shot plus the intensity of shot peen coverage on the linkplates. Other factors can include the thickness of the linkplates and the design (contour) of the linkplates. The rule of thumb for roller chain operating on a continuous drive is for the chain load to not exceed a mere 1/6 or 1/9 of the chain’s tensile strength, depending on the type of master links used (press-fit vs. slip-fit). Roller chains operating on a continuous drive beyond these thresholds can and typically do fail prematurely via linkplate fatigue failure.
The standard minimum ultimate strength of the ANSI 29.1 steel chain is 12,500 x (pitch, in inches)2. X-ring and O-Ring chains greatly decrease wear by means of internal lubricants, increasing chain life. The internal lubrication is inserted by means of a vacuum when riveting the chain together.
Standards organizations (such as ANSI and ISO) maintain standards for design, dimensions, and interchangeability of transmission chains. For example, the following Table shows data from ANSI standard B29.1-2011 (Precision Power Transmission Roller Chains, Attachments, and Sprockets) developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). See the references for additional information.
ASME/ANSI B29.1-2011 Roller Chain Standard SizesSizePitchMaximum Roller DiameterMinimum Ultimate Tensile StrengthMeasuring Load25
|ASME/ANSI B29.1-2011 Roller Chain Standard Sizes|
|Size||Pitch||Maximum Roller Diameter||Minimum Ultimate Tensile Strength||Measuring Load|
|25||0.250 in (6.35 mm)||0.130 in (3.30 mm)||780 lb (350 kg)||18 lb (8.2 kg)|
|35||0.375 in (9.53 mm)||0.200 in (5.08 mm)||1,760 lb (800 kg)||18 lb (8.2 kg)|
|41||0.500 in (12.70 mm)||0.306 in (7.77 mm)||1,500 lb (680 kg)||18 lb (8.2 kg)|
|40||0.500 in (12.70 mm)||0.312 in (7.92 mm)||3,125 lb (1,417 kg)||31 lb (14 kg)|
|50||0.625 in (15.88 mm)||0.400 in (10.16 mm)||4,880 lb (2,210 kg)||49 lb (22 kg)|
|60||0.750 in (19.05 mm)||0.469 in (11.91 mm)||7,030 lb (3,190 kg)||70 lb (32 kg)|
|80||1.000 in (25.40 mm)||0.625 in (15.88 mm)||12,500 lb (5,700 kg)||125 lb (57 kg)|
|100||1.250 in (31.75 mm)||0.750 in (19.05 mm)||19,531 lb (8,859 kg)||195 lb (88 kg)|
|120||1.500 in (38.10 mm)||0.875 in (22.23 mm)||28,125 lb (12,757 kg)||281 lb (127 kg)|
|140||1.750 in (44.45 mm)||1.000 in (25.40 mm)||38,280 lb (17,360 kg)||383 lb (174 kg)|
|160||2.000 in (50.80 mm)||1.125 in (28.58 mm)||50,000 lb (23,000 kg)||500 lb (230 kg)|
|180||2.250 in (57.15 mm)||1.460 in (37.08 mm)||63,280 lb (28,700 kg)||633 lb (287 kg)|
|200||2.500 in (63.50 mm)||1.562 in (39.67 mm)||78,175 lb (35,460 kg)||781 lb (354 kg)|
|240||3.000 in (76.20 mm)||1.875 in (47.63 mm)||112,500 lb (51,000 kg)||1,000 lb (450 kg|
For mnemonic purposes, below is another presentation of key dimensions from the same standard, expressed in fractions of an inch (which was part of the thinking behind the choice of preferred numbers in the ANSI standard):
|Pitch (inches)||Pitch expressed
1. The pitch is the distance between roller centers. The width is the distance between the link plates (i.e. slightly more than the roller width to allow for clearance).
2. The right-hand digit of the standard denotes 0 = normal chain, 1 = lightweight chain, 5 = rollerless bushing chain.
3. The left-hand digit denotes the number of eighths of an inch that make up the pitch.
4. An “H” following the standard number denotes heavyweight chain. A hyphenated number following the standard number denotes double-strand (2), triple-strand (3), and so on. Thus 60H-3 denotes number 60 heavyweight triple-strand chain.
A typical bicycle chain (for derailleur gears) uses narrow 1⁄2-inch-pitch chain. The width of the chain is variable, and does not affect the load capacity. The more sprockets at the rear wheel (historically 3-6, nowadays 7-12 sprockets), the narrower the chain. Chains are sold according to the number of speeds they are designed to work with, for example, “10 speed chain”. Hub gear or single speed bicycles use 1/2″ x 1/8″ chains, where 1/8″ refers to the maximum thickness of a sprocket that can be used with the chain.
Typically chains with parallel shaped links have an even number of links, with each narrow link followed by a broad one. Chains built up with a uniform type of link, narrow at 1 and broad at the other end, can be made with an odd number of links, which can be an advantage to adapt to a special chainwheel-distance; on the other side such a chain tends to be not so strong.
Roller chains made using ISO standard are sometimes called as isochains.
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|Standard or Nonstandard:||Standard|
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How do roller chains perform in extreme weather conditions?
Roller chains are designed to perform reliably in a wide range of operating conditions, including extreme weather conditions. Here’s a detailed answer to the question:
1. Temperature Extremes: Roller chains can withstand a wide range of temperatures, both high and low. The performance of the chain depends on the specific material used and its temperature rating. For example, stainless steel chains are suitable for high-temperature applications, while specialty chains with low-temperature lubricants are available for cold environments.
2. Corrosion Resistance: Roller chains can be manufactured using corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel or with specialized coatings to enhance their resistance to rust and corrosion. This makes them suitable for outdoor applications where exposure to moisture, humidity, and other environmental factors is common.
3. Lubrication: Proper lubrication is crucial for the performance of roller chains in extreme weather conditions. Lubricants with suitable viscosity and temperature range should be used to ensure smooth operation and minimize wear. In some cases, lubrication-free chains with self-lubricating properties can be used to eliminate the need for external lubrication.
4. Sealing and Protection: Roller chains can be equipped with additional sealing mechanisms to protect against the ingress of dirt, dust, and other contaminants. Sealed or encapsulated chains feature protective covers or seals that prevent debris from entering the chain and affecting its performance, making them more suitable for extreme weather conditions.
5. Maintenance and Inspection: Regular maintenance and inspection are essential for ensuring the optimal performance of roller chains in extreme weather conditions. This includes cleaning the chains, checking for signs of wear or damage, and replacing any worn-out components. Proper tensioning and alignment should also be maintained to prevent premature failure.
It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations for the specific roller chain and its intended application in extreme weather conditions. By selecting the appropriate materials, lubrication, and protection mechanisms, roller chains can provide reliable and efficient power transmission even in challenging environmental conditions.
Can roller chains be used for power transmission in mining equipment?
Yes, roller chains can be used for power transmission in mining equipment. Here’s a detailed answer to the question:
Mining equipment often requires robust and reliable power transmission systems to handle the demanding conditions and heavy loads encountered in mining operations. Roller chains have proven to be a suitable choice for power transmission in mining equipment due to their various advantages:
1. High Strength and Durability: Roller chains are designed to withstand high loads and provide reliable power transmission in challenging environments. They are made from high-strength materials such as alloy steel, which enables them to handle the heavy loads typically encountered in mining applications.
2. Resistance to Shock and Impact: Mining equipment often operates in rugged environments with frequent shock and impact loads. Roller chains are engineered to handle such conditions and can withstand the sudden changes in load and direction without compromising their performance or integrity.
3. Flexibility and Adaptability: Roller chains have inherent flexibility, allowing them to accommodate misalignment and angular movement between sprockets. This flexibility helps to ensure smooth and efficient power transmission even in applications where slight misalignments may occur due to the nature of the mining equipment.
4. Resistance to Contaminants: Mining environments can be dusty and contain abrasive particles. Roller chains are designed to resist contamination and maintain their performance even in dirty and harsh conditions. Proper sealing and lubrication can further enhance their resistance to contaminants.
5. Easy Maintenance and Replacement: Roller chains are relatively easy to maintain and replace. Regular inspection, lubrication, and tension adjustment can help ensure optimal performance and extend the lifespan of the chain. In case of wear or damage, individual chain links can be replaced without the need for replacing the entire chain, making maintenance more cost-effective.
It’s important to note that when using roller chains in mining equipment, proper selection, installation, and maintenance are crucial. Working with reputable suppliers and following recommended guidelines for chain selection, lubrication, and tensioning can help maximize the performance and longevity of the roller chain system in mining applications.
How do you properly lubricate a roller chain?
Proper lubrication is crucial for the performance and longevity of a roller chain. Here’s a detailed answer to the question:
1. Clean the Chain: Before lubricating the roller chain, ensure that it is clean and free from dirt, debris, and old lubricant. Use a suitable cleaning agent or solvent to remove any contaminants.
2. Select the Right Lubricant: Choose a high-quality lubricant specifically designed for roller chains. Consider factors such as the operating conditions, load capacity, speed, and temperature range when selecting the lubricant. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate lubricant type and viscosity.
3. Apply the Lubricant: Apply the lubricant evenly to the entire length of the roller chain. You can use a lubrication system, brush, or spray applicator for effective coverage. Ensure that the lubricant penetrates between the rollers and bushings, as well as the pins and inner plates.
4. Remove Excess Lubricant: After applying the lubricant, remove any excess oil or grease from the chain. Excessive lubrication can attract dirt and debris, leading to accelerated wear and chain failure. Wipe off any excess lubricant using a clean cloth.
5. Reapply Lubricant Regularly: Roller chains require regular lubrication to maintain optimal performance. The frequency of lubrication depends on the operating conditions and the manufacturer’s recommendations. In general, lubrication should be done at regular intervals or when the chain shows signs of dryness or wear.
6. Monitor and Inspect: Regularly monitor the condition of the lubricated roller chain. Look for any signs of wear, rust, or inadequate lubrication. If necessary, reapply the lubricant or adjust the lubrication frequency based on the chain’s performance and operating conditions.
Proper lubrication helps reduce friction, wear, and heat generation, ensuring smooth operation and extending the life of the roller chain. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations and best practices for lubrication will help maintain the chain’s performance and prevent premature failure.
editor by CX 2023-08-23