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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Roller Link - Inner Link
Roller links are the inner link of a roller chain that are made using the inner plates, bushings & rollers.
Riveting Link - Pin Link
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
Completed Assembled Roller Chain
Picture of a full assembled ANSI roller chain