Roller Chain and Sprocket Couplings

November 7, 2018

A sprocket coupling is waiting on a workbench. Let’s say it’s there to sate an observer’s curiosity. The coupling is cylindrical and manufactured out of hardened steel. It’ll support a huge load when it’s secured, but we’re not yet sure how the fastening mechanism on the coupling operates. As a clue, there are several metal-edged projections protruding from the cylinder. They form a rim around the coupling.

Deconstructing Sprocket Couplings 

The coupling breaks in half. This is the design principle in a nutshell: the two halves of the coupling mate together. When they join, their two sprocket ends align. The rims of precisely profiled teeth are clearly built to join together, but the joining element is missing. Here it comes now. The roller chain, formed into two hardened linkage rows, circles the two coupling sprockets. Now they’re locked together by the solidly anchored chain links. Think of it, the sprocket ends are aligned, the coupling is made, and a flexible chain is performing as the locking mechanism. And, as soon as the linkages do engage, that formerly flexible roller chain segment becomes as stiff and stable as any keyway based coupling system.

Roller Chain Coupling Benefits 

Unlike keyways or other traditional fastening solutions, roller chains form a fastening seal all around the rims of the coupling elements. They distribute rotational and sidereal torque throughout drive shafts and power transmission systems. There’s no chance of a few bolts or keys shearing because of load concentration incidents, and there’s no way the coupling will deviate from its set mounting zone, not when the twin sprockets are aligned so tightly. And, just as an added benefit, the chain section installs effortlessly as soon as the teeth protrusions align. All that’s required at this critical juncture is a locking pin, one that’ll secure the encircling chain linkages after they’ve engaged against each sprocket protrusion.

Employs Single-Pin Connectivity 

Eccentric loading factors and strange power transmission spikes are known coupling killers. By installing sprocket couplings, such downtime-incurring incidents are happily reduced. If the coupling does need to be removed, for whatever reason, simply pull the locking pin, unwrap the roller chain, and get down to business. Now, having reached the end of this post, are there any drawbacks a potential buyer should be aware of before employing this drive coupling solution? Perhaps one, just one drawback should be mentioned. Roller chain and sprocket couplings don’t react well to vibration, but even this issue is manageable.

Specially formulated locking pin cements and pin geometries are used to stop vibrational forces from undermining the chain securing system. After this problem has been dealt with, there are chain housings and lubricants available, which really make this coupling method a compelling drive system option.

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