The Complete Guide to Chain


For designers and users of equipment, the most important points to consider for power transmission and conveyor operations are how well they stand up to and satisfy the following:

Power Transmission Operations

  1. Quality: The features of the transmitted power, maintenance, length of working life.
  2. Cost: Initial cost, running cost.
  3. Delivery: Availability.

Conveyor Operations

  1. Quality: Speed, accuracy, flexibility, maintenance, length of working life.
  2. Cost: Initial cost, running cost.
  3. Delivery: Availability.

Of course, these points can be applied to much more than just chain. You also have to compare belts, gears, and even other tools.

Power transmission and conveyors are rarely treated scientifically. At colleges and universities, chains are often ignored in lectures about technology. Many people think that chain is simply an old machine element.

But chain is more than that. Used correctly, chain can have a major impact on the entire operation. Here's an example: By replacing steel rollers with engineered plastic rollers on conveyor chains and moving from plastic rollers to bearing rollers, the coefficient of friction was reduced to one-fourth or one-fifth of the original. This results in lower costs for driving parts and frames, and saves energy. Progress in chains has a direct connection to economizing energy.

I have worked with many customers in many different fields during my career. I noticed that there was no handbook to explain the different types of chains, nor a book that describes the ease and convenience of using chain.

This book is designed to solve these problems. First, I explained the main ideas about chain. Then, I picked 50 types of chain in current use and gave practical points—application examples, construction and features, sprockets, selection and handling, technical trends—so that readers can work the chain's ability fully into their equipment. There is no denying the fact that most of the chain names and types are products of Tsubaki. Although other manufacturers also produce most of the chain types shown in this book, the lack of materials and the wide variation in products make comparisons very difficult.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to Mr. Toshiharu Yamamoto, the late Mr. Katsumi Kotegawa, and other senior experts who developed the company's technology, Mr. Keichi Sawata, Mr. Sumio Watanabe, Mr. Shinobu Takeda, Mr. Susumu Saijo (who provided good materials), and Mr. Tadahisa Yoshida for valuable advice.

May 1995

Makoto Kanehira