Components & Structure Of Roller Chain

Every wonder what a roller chain consists of or how a roller chain is made?

The design of a roller chain is quite simple and consists of only 5 components. The 5 individual components used to make roller chain are the pins, bushings, rollers, inner plates & outer plates. Each component is used to produce sub-assemblies, which are used to create the roller chain product. Below are breakdowns of each chain component that describes the purpose of each chain part. The components and construction is the same for almost every roller chain we offer such as ANSI, metric, conveyor, extended pitch.

Individual Chain Component Breakdown

  1. Outer Link Plate

    Roller Chain Outer Link Plate

    This is the outermost plate where the pins are pressed into it. The inner & outer link plates take the brunt of a chains shock load. Our link plates undergo a special hardening process to ensure maximum strength is achieved. Another process the link plates go through is shot peening, which increases the fatigue strength and helps prevent cracking. Shot peening is a process of shooting little steel balls that compress the surface.

  2. Inner Link Plate

    Roller Chain Inner Link Plate

    Inner link plates hold the bushing and the roller to form what we call a "roller link". Our inner link plates also go through the same special hardening & shot peening processes as the outer link plates.

  3. Pin

    Roller Chain Pins

    Roller chain pins hold the entire roller chain together and are the "bearing" point of the roller chain. The bearing point is where the chain flexes/pivots when running around a sprocket. Since the pins are so important, they go through a precision heat treatment process to increase the pins overall strength. This is required to prevent the pins from shearing or bending.

  4. Roller

    Roller Chain Rollers

    Rollers are the part that rides on the sprocket teeth. The rollers do take a moderate impact especially when the drive is initially started. The rollers are consistently contacting the sprocket teeth (metal to metal contact), so strength and wear resistance is needed. All Nitro roller chain uses solid rollers to prevent distortion and they also undergoes special heat treatment with shot peening.

  5. Bushing

    Roller Chain Bushings

    The bushing is located between the pin & roller, which takes impact loads from both sides. Bushings are also heat treated and shot peened for increased strength & fatigue resistance. Bushings are available in split or solid construction.

Roller Chain Sub Assemblies

The sub-assemblies are made from the individual chain components mentioned above. The sub-assemblies are used to make the roller chain.

  1. Roller Link - Inner Link

    Nitro Roller Links

    Roller links are the inner link of a roller chain that are made using the inner plates, bushings & rollers.

  2. Riveting Link - Pin Link

    Nitro Roller Chain Pin Links

    Riveting Links are made from the pins and outer link plates. These links are used between each roller link to form a roller chain. The pins and outer plates are a pressed to form a solid connection. Riveting links are available to purchase to replace conventional style connecting links. These riveting links create a stronger joint over a standard style connecting link.

Assembled Roller Chain

  1. Completed Assembled Roller Chain

    Picture of a full assembled ANSI roller chain

    Assembled Roller Chain