Components & Structure Of Roller Chain

Every wonder what a roller chain consists of and how it's made?

The design of a roller chain is quite simple and consists of only 5 components. These 5 individual components used to make roller chain are pins, bushings, rollers, inner plates & outer plates. Each component is used to produce sub-assemblies, which are finally use to create the final product. Below are breakdowns of each chain component with description that explain the purpose of each part. The overall components and construction is the same for majority of roller chain in the power transmission market.

Individual Chain Component Breakdown

  1. Outer Link Plate

    Roller Chain Outer Link Plate

    This is the outermost plate are combined with the pins to form what is know as a pin link or riveting link. The outer link plates take the brunt of a chains shock load. Our link hardening process is computer controlled for maximum strength. 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 by connecting roller links together. The pins are the main "bearing" point where the roller links. The bearing point is where the chain flexes/pivots when running around a sprocket. Pins are a very critical component and Nitro use special pins with precision heat treatment for increase strength and wear resistance.

  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 manufacturing processes for wear resistance.

  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