What Are Roller Chain Drives?

The roller chain drive was an innovative tool for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, as far back as the late 19th Century. Although it is nothing new, metal and plastic roller chain sprockets are still turning the wheels of industry in Washington and all over the world. Let’s take a look at how this drive system works and why it’s still popular today.

What is a Chain Drive?

Just about everyone in Washington has seen metal or plastic roller chain sprockets in action. For example, that’s how bicycles are powered. This type of power transmission system is simple in concept yet very effective. The entire system is made up of gears (or sprockets) and chains that mesh into the teeth. When the power gear turns, it moves the chain and that in turn rotates other gears that can be connected to shafts or other devices.

Not Just Any Chain

Chains in chain drives are not like common chains used for securing things. These chains have two different link types (inner and outer) instead of one. Each inner link consists of two hollow rollers (bushings) connected by outer sleeves. Outer links connect with pins that run through both inner and outer links. This design gives the chain flexibility, and the gaps fit perfectly into the teeth of metal or plastic roller chain sprockets used in Washington businesses. This is called a bushing type chain.

Bushing-less chains are made without the center bushings or rollers. They are pressed together without bushings. This creates a lower cost chain that’s easier to manufacture.

Master Links

If you look closely at a roller chain, you’ll see that one link is the Master Link. It can be removed so the chain can be placed on many different types of drives. It also lets the user shorten or lengthen the chain by adding or removing links.

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