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Standard Handbook of Chains


Chains for Power Transmission
and Material Handling
Second Edition

2006 by American Chain Association

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8/15/05

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Page 1

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
A Series of Textbooks and Reference Books
Founding Editor
L. L. Faulkner
Columbus Division, Battelle Memorial Institute
and Department of Mechanical Engineering
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

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Spring Designers Handbook, Harold Carlson


Computer-Aided Graphics and Design, Daniel L. Ryan
Lubrication Fundamentals, J. George Wills
Solar Engineering for Domestic Buildings, William A. Himmelman
Applied Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics, G. Boothroyd and C. Poli
Centrifugal Pump Clinic, Igor J. Karassik
Computer-Aided Kinetics for Machine Design, Daniel L. Ryan
Plastics Products Design Handbook, Part A: Materials and Components;
Part B: Processes and Design for Processes, edited by Edward Miller
Turbomachinery: Basic Theory and Applications, Earl Logan, Jr.
Vibrations of Shells and Plates, Werner Soedel
Flat and Corrugated Diaphragm Design Handbook, Mario Di Giovanni
Practical Stress Analysis in Engineering Design, Alexander Blake
An Introduction to the Design and Behavior of Bolted Joints, John H. Bickford
Optimal Engineering Design: Principles and Applications, James N. Siddall
Spring Manufacturing Handbook, Harold Carlson
Industrial Noise Control: Fundamentals and Applications, edited by Lewis H. Bell
Gears and Their Vibration: A Basic Approach to Understanding Gear Noise,
J. Derek Smith
Chains for Power Transmission and Material Handling: Design and Applications
Handbook, American Chain Association
Corrosion and Corrosion Protection Handbook, edited by Philip A. Schweitzer
Gear Drive Systems: Design and Application, Peter Lynwander
Controlling In-Plant Airborne Contaminants: Systems Design and Calculations,
John D. Constance
CAD/CAM Systems Planning and Implementation, Charles S. Knox
Probabilistic Engineering Design: Principles and Applications, James N. Siddall
Traction Drives: Selection and Application, Frederick W. Heilich III
and Eugene E. Shube
Finite Element Methods: An Introduction, Ronald L. Huston and Chris E. Passerello
Mechanical Fastening of Plastics: An Engineering Handbook, Brayton Lincoln,
Kenneth J. Gomes, and James F. Braden
Lubrication in Practice: Second Edition, edited by W. S. Robertson
Principles of Automated Drafting, Daniel L. Ryan
Practical Seal Design, edited by Leonard J. Martini
Engineering Documentation for CAD/CAM Applications, Charles S. Knox
Design Dimensioning with Computer Graphics Applications, Jerome C. Lange

2006 by American Chain Association

DK4023_title 8/15/05 9:00 AM Page 1

Standard Handbook of Chains


Chains for Power Transmission
and Material Handling
Second Edition

CHA

ER I CA N

IN

AM

American Chain Association

S O C I A T I O

Boca Raton London New York

A CRC title, part of the Taylor & Francis imprint, a member of the
Taylor & Francis Group, the academic division of T&F Informa plc.

2006 by American Chain Association

DK4023_Discl.fm Page 1 Thursday, July 7, 2005 11:09 AM

Published in 2006 by
CRC Press
Taylor & Francis Group
6000 Broken Sound Parkway NW, Suite 300
Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742
2006 by American Chain Association
CRC Press is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group
No claim to original U.S. Government works
Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
International Standard Book Number-10: 1-57444-647-9 (Hardcover)
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-1-57444-647-0 (Hardcover)
Library of Congress Card Number 2005043944
This book contains information obtained from authentic and highly regarded sources. Reprinted material is quoted with
permission, and sources are indicated. A wide variety of references are listed. Reasonable efforts have been made to publish
reliable data and information, but the author and the publisher cannot assume responsibility for the validity of all materials
or for the consequences of their use.
No part of this book may be reprinted, reproduced, transmitted, or utilized in any form by any electronic, mechanical, or
other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying, microfilming, and recording, or in any information
storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publishers.
For permission to photocopy or use material electronically from this work, please access www.copyright.com
(http://www.copyright.com/) or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC) 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA
01923, 978-750-8400. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of users. For
organizations that have been granted a photocopy license by the CCC, a separate system of payment has been arranged.
Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for
identification and explanation without intent to infringe.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Standard handbook of chains : for power transmission and material handling / American Chain
Association.--2nd ed.
p. cm.
ISBN 1-57444-647-9
1. Chain drive--Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Chain conveyors--Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. American
Chain Association.
TJ1051.S77 2005
621.8'59--dc22

2005043944

Visit the Taylor & Francis Web site at


http://www.taylorandfrancis.com
Taylor & Francis Group
is the Academic Division of T&F Informa plc.

2006 by American Chain Association

and the CRC Press Web site at


http://www.crcpress.com

DK4023_C000.fm Page v Wednesday, October 12, 2005 10:55 AM

Foreword
The predecessor organization of todays American Chain Association (ACA) was formed in the
1930s. While the routine function of collecting and correlating marketing data for distribution was
important, their primary purpose was continued development of the American chain industry and
its customers. This objective to develop and promote standards of sound manufacturing and
engineering practice, and through well-guided research, to foster improvements in the quality and
utility of the industrys products was spelled out in the first pages of one of its early publications.
This credo, as promulgated by the then Association of Roller and Silent Chain Manufacturers
(ARSCM) soon led to a series of projects to build and operate chain test equipment in the laboratory.
From those projects were developed the horsepower curves covering all basic sizes of standard roller
drive chains. These were included in a hardbound chain design manual, published by ARSCM in
1955, and entitled Design Manual, Roller and Silent Chain Drives. That edition and its softbound
successors, published in 1968 and 1975, have seen nearly 30,000 copies distributed by the association.
The association soon expanded to include manufacturers of engineering steel chains and
malleable chains, and the association name was changed to the American Sprocket Chain Manufacturers Association (ASCMA) and then to the present American Chain Association (ACA).
Laboratory projects were extended to engineering steel drive chains and horsepower ratings
were developed for those chains. These tables and other data developed by the association were
adopted by the then American Standards Association. This latter organization also went through
name changes and is known today as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The
standards and tables developed by the ACA are revised and updated periodically and resubmitted
to ANSI for adoption.
The inclusion of other types of chain in the ACA program and the development of horsepower
curves for engineering steel drive chains also entailed considerable standardization of sizes. It also
led to the publication, in 1971, of another manual, Engineering Steel Chains, ACA Applications
Handbook; a slightly revised version appeared in 1973.
The roller and silent chain manual and engineering steel chain manual, published as separate
handbooks, contain some duplicate information. The text of the combined manual was formed by
an editorial blending of the various sections of the two original manuals, plus some additional
material not appearing in those publications. Publication of the combined manual also represents
a continuation of the objectives of the ACA to enhance the quality and utility of its products. The
manual presents the information developed by the ACA and all its member companies.
The authorship of the first combined manual in 1982 was a combined effort of the technical
committee and other representatives of the member organizations of the ACA over a period of 25
years. The second edition is the fruit of an additional 20 years of research, testing, and analysis by
the member companies of the ACA. New power ratings were developed for roller and silent chains.
A new chapter on flat-top conveyor chains was developed and written. And new expanded information on installation, lubrication, and maintenance was included.
Customary inch-pound units are used throughout the handbook. That is because all of the
American National Standard chains and sprockets were originally designed using customary inchpounds units. All calculations should be done using customary units. When all calculations are
finished, the final results can be converted to SI units using the publication, SI-1, ASME Orientation
and Guide for Use of SI (Metric) Units.
The ACA member organizations participating in the revised combined manual may be found
on the ACA Web site: www.americanchainassn.org.

2006 by American Chain Association

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Preface
The first edition of this handbook was a landmark publication. It served the chain industry very
well for more than 20 years. It guided many engineers and technologists through their first chain
drive or conveyor selection. But the first edition was beginning to show its age. It was growing out
of date in several ways. It definitely was time for a major revision.
All of the existing chapters were rewritten so they would be easier to read and understand. The
new chapters were written with the same goal in mind. Many copies of this book will go to people
who need to absorb the information quickly and put it to use at once.
Chapter 3 was completely reorganized and extensively revised to include new information on
chain design considerations. Much research has been done and data released since 1982. Quite a
lot of it is published here for the first time.
Chapter 5 has new increased power ratings for roller chains. It also has new information on
selecting drives with a life of other than 15,000 hours. Chapter 7 has new increased power ratings
for silent chains. All of the chapters on selecting chain drives were reorganized to make the selection
steps similar.
Chapters 9 and 10 were reorganized to make the selection steps similar for all chain conveyors.
Chapter 12, on selecting flat-top chain conveyors, is all new. There was nothing on flat-top chains
in the first edition. This is a major addition.
The former chapter 12 has been divided into three separate chapters. Now, chapter 13 deals
with chain lubrication, chapter 14 deals with installation, and chapter 15 deals with chain inspection
and maintenance.
Much thought and effort was put into this second edition. A major effort was made to make it
as user friendly as possible. The goal was to make this handbook easily usable for maintenance
and distribution personnel, as well as college students and professional engineers.
Personally I am very honored that the ACA selected me to do the actual writing of the second
edition of this handbook. But I owe a huge thanks to all of the past and present members of the
ACA Technical Committee. The ACA Technical Committee, supported by the member companies
of the ACA, originally developed all of the information for this handbook. We think the effort was
worth it. We hope that you will too.
John L. Wright
Indianapolis, Indiana

2006 by American Chain Association

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About the Author


John Wright worked for Diamond Chain Co. for 32 years. He worked in several different positions
in both product engineering and applications engineering. John was General Product Manager when
he retired from Diamond Chain in 1996. At that time he was responsible for all of the technical
information and assistance that Diamond Chain provided to customers and users.
After retiring from Diamond Chain, John started his own technical consulting business. John
now works with users on chain drive and conveyor problems. He trains plant engineering and
maintenance personnel on selecting and caring for chain drives and conveyors. He also does some
technical writing.
Before writing the revision for Chains for Power Transmission and Material Handling, John
wrote several magazine articles and contributed a chapter on chain drives to a mechanical engineering handbook.
From 1996 to 2004, John was chairman of the ACA Technical Committee and the ASME B29
Standards Committee for Chains, Attachments, and Sprockets for Power Transmission and Conveying. At the same time, John was the ANSI delegate to the ISO for Chains and Sprockets for
Power Transmission and Conveyors.
While he was chairman of these committees, John led the effort to redevelop and revise several
important chain standards. He also worked very hard to bring many ANSI standards into harmony
with their related ISO standards.

2006 by American Chain Association

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Contents
Chapter 1

A Brief History of the Development of Chain ............................................................1

Early Developments ...........................................................................................................................1


Cog Chain ..........................................................................................................................................1
Cast Detachable Chain.......................................................................................................................1
Cast Pintle Chain ...............................................................................................................................2
Precision Roller Chain .......................................................................................................................4
Engineering Steel Chain ....................................................................................................................9
Silent Chain......................................................................................................................................10
Flat-Top Chain .................................................................................................................................12
Terminology .....................................................................................................................................13
Chapter 2

A Chain Overview: Uses and Advantages.................................................................17

General .............................................................................................................................................17
Types of Chain .................................................................................................................................17
Scope of Chains Covered.................................................................................................................17
Styles and Forms of Chains.............................................................................................................17
Straight and Offset Link Chains ......................................................................................................18
Chains with and without Rollers .....................................................................................................19
Uses of Chain...................................................................................................................................20
Standard Chains and Their Uses .....................................................................................................20
The Advantages of Chains in Applications .....................................................................................38
Advantages of Roller Chains in Drives...........................................................................................38
Advantages of Silent Chain Drives .................................................................................................39
Advantages of Engineering Steel Chain for Drives ........................................................................39
Advantages of Chains on Conveyors and Bucket Elevators ...........................................................39
Advantages of Using Chain in Elevator Materials Handling .........................................................40
Chapter 3

Chain Design Considerations, Construction, and Components.................................41

Basic Chain Functions .....................................................................................................................41


General Chain Design Considerations.............................................................................................41
Roller Chain Design Considerations ...............................................................................................50
Leaf Chain Design Considerations ..................................................................................................60
Silent Chain Design Considerations ................................................................................................66
Engineering Steel Chain Design Considerations ............................................................................71
Flat-Top Chain Design Considerations............................................................................................79
Conclusion........................................................................................................................................84
Chapter 4

Sprockets.....................................................................................................................85

Types of Sprockets...........................................................................................................................85
Sprocket Tooth Forms....................................................................................................................100
Sprocket Wheel Design..................................................................................................................106

2006 by American Chain Association

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Silent Chain Sprocket Teeth ..........................................................................................................109


Engineering Steel Chain Sprocket Teeth.......................................................................................112
Flat-Top Chain Sprocket Teeth ......................................................................................................117
Sprocket Hubs, Keys and Keyways, Setscrews, and Shafting Selection......................................120
Chapter 5

Roller Chain Drives..................................................................................................129

Typical Applications.......................................................................................................................129
Scope ..............................................................................................................................................129
General Roller Chain Drive Selection Guidelines ........................................................................129
Roller Chain Drive Selection Procedure .......................................................................................138
Sample Roller Chain Drive Selection............................................................................................167
Equations for Horsepower Ratings................................................................................................168
Vibration.........................................................................................................................................171
Acknowledgment............................................................................................................................175
Chapter 6

Engineering Steel Chain Drives ...............................................................................177

Typical Applications.......................................................................................................................177
Scope ..............................................................................................................................................177
General Engineering Steel Chain Drive Selection Guidelines .....................................................177
Engineering Steel Chain Drive Selection Procedure.....................................................................183
Sample Engineering Steel Chain Drive Selection.........................................................................188
Basis of Horsepower Ratings ........................................................................................................193
Alternate Selection Method ...........................................................................................................198
Chapter 7

Silent Chain Drives ..................................................................................................201

General Guidelines for Silent Chain Drive Selection ...................................................................201


Silent Chain Drive Selection Procedure ........................................................................................208
Sample Silent Chain Drive Selection ............................................................................................217
Derivation of Silent Chain Power Ratings ....................................................................................218
Chapter 8

Tension Linkage Chains ...........................................................................................219

Roller Chains as Tension Linkages ...............................................................................................219


Tension Linkages Using Leaf Chain .............................................................................................220
Dimensions and Arrangements of Leaf Chain ..............................................................................220
Tension Linkages Using Engineering Steel Chains ......................................................................223
Characteristics of Engineering Steel Chain Tension Linkages .....................................................225
Draw Bench Applications ..............................................................................................................228
Tension Linkage Chains for Dam and Lock Gates.......................................................................229
Other Applications .........................................................................................................................230
Catenary Tension and Chain Sag...................................................................................................231
Chapter 9

Engineering Steel Chain Conveyors ........................................................................233

Types of Engineering Steel Chain Conveyors...............................................................................233


Engineering Steel Chain Conveyor Selection Guidelines.............................................................249
Engineering Steel Conveyor Chain Selection Procedure ..............................................................256

2006 by American Chain Association

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Chapter 10 Roller Chain Conveyors ...........................................................................................267


Types of Roller Chain Conveyors..................................................................................................267
Roller Chain Conveyor Selection Guidelines................................................................................267
Multiple-Strand Conveyers ............................................................................................................275
Roller Conveyor Chain Selection Procedure.................................................................................279
Precision Indexing..........................................................................................................................277
Environment ...................................................................................................................................279
Sample Roller Chain Conveyor Selection .....................................................................................288
Chapter 11 Chains for Bucket Elevators.....................................................................................293
Elevators Using Engineering Steel Chains....................................................................................293
Take-Ups ........................................................................................................................................303
Design and Selection of Chain and Bucket Elevators ..................................................................304
Selection Steps ...............................................................................................................................307
Elevator Chain Selection Example ................................................................................................312
Roller Chain Equipped Bucket Elevators......................................................................................314
Pivoted Bucket or Pan Conveyors .................................................................................................314
Operation Practices ........................................................................................................................315
Chapter 12 Flat-Top Chain Conveyors........................................................................................319
Flat-Top Chain Conveyor Selection Guidelines ............................................................................319
Flat-Top Conveyor Chain Selection Procedure .............................................................................329
Sample Flat-Top Chain Conveyor Selection .................................................................................339
Selection Software .........................................................................................................................341
Chapter 13 Chain Lubrication.....................................................................................................343
Purpose of Lubrication...................................................................................................................343
Lubricant Characteristics ...............................................................................................................343
Lubrication of Drive Chains ..........................................................................................................345
Lubrication Types for Chain Drives ..............................................................................................345
Chain Casings ................................................................................................................................347
Temperature Increase in a Chain Casing.......................................................................................350
Lubrication of Exposed Drive Chains ...........................................................................................351
Lubrication of Conveyor, Bucket Elevator, and Tension Linkage Chains....................................351
High-Temperature Lubrication.......................................................................................................355
Conclusion......................................................................................................................................358
Chapter 14 Chain Installation......................................................................................................359
Safety Precautions..........................................................................................................................359
Chain Guarding ..............................................................................................................................359
Installation Steps ............................................................................................................................359
Conclusion......................................................................................................................................374
Chapter 15 Chain Inspection and Maintenance ..........................................................................375
Safety Precautions..........................................................................................................................375
Inspection Program ........................................................................................................................375

2006 by American Chain Association

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Inspection and Maintenance of Chain Drives ...............................................................................376


Inspection and Maintenance of Chain Conveyors and Bucket Elevators .....................................383
Inspection and Maintenance of Tension Linkage Chains .............................................................385
Replacing and Repairing Chains ...................................................................................................386
Protecting Idle Chains and Sprockets............................................................................................386
Conclusion......................................................................................................................................386

2006 by American Chain Association