What Are Chain Drives and Their Types

Chain drives are assemblies that may be found in a number of systems and settings, and they are designed for the means of transferring mechanical power between spaces. For example, chain drives are often found in bicycles and cars alike, allowing for generated power to be transferred to the wheels so that they spin and move. Despite this common use, chain drive applications spread much further than automobiles, regularly being situated within industrial machinery and more.

A majority of chain drives utilize a roller chain to communicate power, and these chains may be known as drive or transmission chains. Generally, the chain drive will be passed over a sprocket gear, the teeth of the gear meshing with intersecting holes of the chain links to keep the two together. For power to be transferred, the gear will need to be rotated, and as this occurs, the moving teeth will pull on the chain while mechanical force is exerted. A typical roller chain will consist of many rigid links that are secured together with pin joints, and this allows them to have enough flexibility to wrap around driving and driven wheels alike. When shafts are close together, the chain links will ensure that both speed and power can be transferred with ease. Common examples of this use include chain drives within rolling mills, agricultural machinery, motorcycles, road rollers, and much more.

To ensure the best velocity ratio, as well as to prevent any slipping, sprockets and chains are constrained. Typically, 8 meters serves as the average center distance that a chain can accommodate, and they will regularly have velocities upwards of 25 meters per second and power values of 110 kW. With their various capabilities, chain drives offer a more compact drive when compared to alternatives such as belts.

One of the most crucial applications that chain drives serve is within settings where they transmit electricity. In such instances, the chain drive is a positive drive system rather than a self-drive system. A standard electric chain drive transmission will feature two toothed sprockets and a chain, and they are best used in power transmission settings where center distances do not exceed 2.5 meters. In some special applications, the center distance may be higher, and some assemblies may even use a single-chain to drive more than one shaft. When compared to belt drives, such assemblies boast a much longer service life at the cost of less smooth operations as a result of noise.

Depending on the application, there are many types of chain drives that one may choose, and each is available in various designs to accommodate different forms of transmissions. Across the market, the most common options include the roller chain, silent chain, leaf chain, flat top chain, and engineering steel chain. Whether you find yourself in need of an engineering steel chain for a conveyor or a leaf chain for very large loads, there is no better sourcing platform than NSN Orbit for all your procurement needs.

NSN Orbit is a premier purchasing platform belonging to the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, and we are your sourcing solution for all the various parts and components that you need for your operations. With AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, we ensure the quality and caliber of each of our offerings. Furthermore, our strict NO CHINA SOURCING pledge also guarantees that all orders ship out alongside their applicable qualifying certifications and manufacturing trace documentation. Kickstart the procurement process with a quote for your comparisons, that of which you may receive through our online RFQ services. Within 15 minutes of reviewing your request, a team member will personally reach out to you with a customized solution. See how we can serve you as your strategic sourcing partner today when you get in contact with us!


May 17, 2023
Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
The only independent
distributor with a
  • All parts are stocked in the USA.
  • All parts are shipped from the USA.
  • All shipments must comply with U.S.A export laws.
  • No exceptions.

“We Proudly Support Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that serves United States Military Personal experiencing the Invisible Wounds of War : Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). Please visit website (www.fallenheroesfund.org" rel="nofollow") and help in their valiant effort”.

Thank You for Visiting.

We Hope that You Will Visit Us Again the Next Time You Need NSN Parts and Make Us Your Strategic Purchasing Partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.