4 Types of Conveyor Chains for Bulk Material Handling

4 Types of Conveyor Chains for Bulk Material Handling

Conveyor chains play a pivotal role in the industrial world, moving materials of all shapes and sizes across factory floors, through production lines, and along assembly processes. These chains are the unsung heroes of the manufacturing and distribution sectors, ensuring efficiency, speed, and reliability in operations. But not all conveyor chains are created equal; their diversity in design caters to various applications, environments, and loads. Let’s delve into why there are different types of conveyor chains and explore some of the most common ones.

Why Different Types?

The need for different types of conveyor chains arises from the variety of conditions and materials they handle. Factors such as the weight of the materials, the environment (whether it’s hot, cold, wet, or dry), and the speed at which items need to be moved all influence the choice of chain. Different structures offer unique benefits, like increased strength, flexibility in movement, or resistance to wear and tear, ensuring there’s a perfect chain for every purpose.

Feature/AspectOffset Sidebar ChainsBush Conveyor ChainsRing ChainsForged Chains
DesignCharacterized by alternating offset sidebars for flexibility and strength.Comprise bushings and rollers designed for efficient material transport.Consist of rings that form a chain, often simple in design.Made through a process of forging individual links for high strength.
Strength and FlexibilityHigh strength, suitable for heavy loads at slow to moderate speeds with greater flexibility to navigate around corners or obstacles.Generally high strength, designed for varied speeds and efficient transport.Moderate to high strength, depending on the material and construction, with some flexibility.Extremely high strength, built to withstand high loads and harsh conditions without stretching or breaking.
ApplicationsHeavy-duty conveyors, forest products, grain handling, environments requiring navigation around corners.Wood processing, steelmaking, automotive industry, bulk goods transport, environmental technology, recycling.Decorative applications, light-load transport systems, some industrial uses.Heavy-duty industrial applications such as lifting, dragging, and conveying in environments with high-impact or abrasive conditions.
AdvantagesRobust design provides high strength and durability, suitable for high-impact and abrasive conditions.Efficient material transport with durability and suitability for a wide range of industrial applications.Aesthetic appeal for decorative purposes, suitable for light to medium loads.Superior durability and strength, ideal for extreme conditions and loads. Resistant to wear and elongation.
Speed SuitabilitySlow to moderate speeds, due to its design and typical application environments.Suitable for various speeds, depending on the specific design and application.Generally used in applications where speed is not a critical factor.Typically used in applications where speed varies; highly durable for slow to high-speed applications depending on the specific chain design.
Navigation around ObstaclesDesigned to easily navigate around corners or obstacles thanks to its flexible structure.Depending on the design, may be less flexible than offset sidebar chains but still capable of handling various transport scenarios.Limited flexibility compared to offset sidebar and bush conveyor chains. Suitable for straightforward paths.Varied; some designs may offer good navigation around obstacles, while others are more suited for straight-line applications.

Bush Conveyor Chains

Bush roller conveyor chains are among the most widely used types, known for their durability and versatility. They are mostly used for conveying tasks involving long transport distances yet at low speeds. They consist of a series of cylindrical rollers held in place by bushings and linked together by pins. This design allows for smooth and efficient movement of goods with minimal friction. Ideal for heavy loads, these chains are a staple in industries like automotive, where they transport parts along the assembly line with precision and care.

There are two types of bush conveyor chains, one for horizontal scraper conveyors; one for U-type scraper conveyors. However, they are different in terns of design and function.

Check out Jingwei’s bush conveyor chains.

Horizontal Scraper Conveyor Chains

Horizontal Scraper Conveyor Chains

These chains are designed to operate in horizontal scraper conveyors, which move materials along a flat or slightly inclined path. The design is focused on providing strength and durability for horizontal movement. These chains typically have a robust construction to withstand the direct pull and weight of the material being transported.

Horizontal Scraper Conveyor Chains Design

The primary application of these conveyors, and by extension their chains, is in the linear transportation of materials. They are well-suited for moving bulk materials over short to medium distances where elevation changes are minimal. The simplicity of the horizontal scraper conveyor’s design allows for efficient movement of materials with a straightforward chain mechanism.

U-Type Scraper Conveyor Chains

U-Type Scraper Conveyor Chains

In contrast, U-type scraper conveyor chains are designed for conveyors that have a U-shaped trough. This design necessitates a chain that can accommodate the shape and dynamics of the U-type conveyor, including the ability to support loads in a more enclosed space. These chains might have specific features, such as varied link sizes or shapes, to ensure smooth operation within the confines of the U-shaped trough.

U-Type Scraper Conveyor Chains design

U-type conveyors are often used in applications where space is limited or where material needs to be contained more securely during transport. The U-shape of the conveyor provides a natural trough for materials, reducing spillage and enhancing the efficiency of material movement. The chains used in these conveyors are thus designed to not only pull the material along but also to do so in a way that accommodates the unique shape and containment needs of the U-type design.

Bush conveyor chains are used across various industries, ensuring efficient transport of materials and products. In the wood processing industry, they facilitate the movement of lumber and wood products through different stages of processing, enhancing productivity and safety. The steelmaking industry relies on these chains for the conveyance of raw materials and finished steel products, accommodating high temperatures and abrasive conditions. In the automotive sector, bush conveyor chains contribute to streamlined assembly lines, moving parts and assemblies with precision. They also support the transport of bulk goods across numerous sectors, handling materials ranging from agricultural produce to minerals with ease. Moreover, in environmental technology and recycling, these chains are indispensable for sorting, moving, and processing recyclables, underlining their importance in sustainable operations.

Offset Sidebar Chains

Offset Sidebar Chains

Offset Sidebar Chains stand out in the industrial world for their unique construction, featuring alternating offset sidebars that grant them exceptional flexibility and strength. This innovative design makes these chains a perfect fit for handling heavy loads, even at slower to moderate speeds. They shine in challenging applications where durability and resilience are non-negotiable, such as in heavy-duty conveyor systems, the demanding environments of forest product transportation, grain handling operations, and any situation requiring navigation around tight corners or obstacles.

The robust nature of Offset Sidebar Chains offers significant advantages, particularly in terms of their high strength and extended durability. These characteristics are crucial in environments that subject chains to high-impact forces or abrasive conditions, ensuring that operations continue smoothly without frequent downtime for maintenance or replacement. Their ability to withstand such demanding conditions makes them a preferred choice for industries seeking reliable, long-term solutions for material handling and transport.

Ring Chains

Ring Chains

Ring Chains, also familiarly known as link chains, are composed of a series of ring-shaped links that are interlocked in a seamless pattern. This simple design contributes to their versatility and ease of use in various industrial settings. Unlike the more complex Offset Sidebar Chains, Ring Chains are more straightforward, making them a go-to choice for lighter-duty applications.

Ring Chains find their niche in areas requiring a less robust solution than what Offset Sidebar Chains offer. They are commonly deployed in agricultural equipment, conveyor systems designed for granular materials like grains or sand, and certain types of elevators that don’t bear excessive loads. Their simplicity does not detract from their utility but rather defines their ideal application environments.

Ring Chains

The key to Ring Chains’ appeal lies in their flexibility and ease of handling and maintenance. These chains are particularly well-suited for environments where the load remains consistent and impact levels are relatively low. Their maintenance is straightforward, often requiring less time and resources than more complex chain designs, making them a cost-effective option for many businesses.

Forged Chains

Forged Chains

Forged Chains, on the other hand, are the heavyweights of the chain world. Manufactured from forged steel links, they boast exceptional strength and durability. The links in these chains can either be solid or designed in various shapes to suit specific application needs, offering a level of customization that enhances their utility in demanding environments.

When it comes to handling extremely heavy loads or operating under harsh conditions, Forged Chains are unparalleled. They are a staple in industries such as automotive manufacturing, where conveyors must transport heavy components, steel mills with their intense operational demands, and mining operations where equipment faces constant abrasion and heavy loads.

The robustness of Forged Chains lies in their ability to withstand extreme wear and tear. This makes them the ideal choice for applications where reliability and longevity are paramount. Their forged construction not only provides superior load-bearing capacity but also exceptional resistance to fatigue. This resilience translates into reduced downtime and lower maintenance costs over the chain’s lifespan.

In Conclusion

All these 4 types of Conveyor Chains are used differently for Bulk Material Handling in terms of design, functionality, and applications. Jingwei has been manufacturing conveyor chains for decades and we know exactly how to customize the chain to meet your requirements, no matter it’s the size, shape, thickness, or logo design, we are good at it due to our experience and expertise. So feel free to contact us if you are in need of any conveyor chains.

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