What is Roller Chain?

Roller chain is a type of chain that is used in a variety of industries and applications, including the transmission of mechanical power with machinery such as industrial conveyors and automotive industry.

MAXTOP roller chain offers full range options for the ANSI and British standard roller chains, which are widely used for material handling, food industry, sawmill industry, automotive/motorcycle, fitness equipment, spiral conveyor and so on.


Roller chain Construction

Roller chain only consists of 5 basic components: Outer plate, Inner plate, Pin, Bush, Roller.

  • Inner Link (also known as Roller Link): consists of 2 bushes press fitted into inner plates with 2 free rotating rollers over the bushes.
  • Outer Link (also known as Pin Link): consists of 2 pins press fitted into outer plates.

Pins are normally rivet type to ensure the fastness, but cotter type is also available to offer for easily disassembly.

roller chain construction

Roller chain Connection

Roller chain connecting is used to connect two chains or a chain to other component.
It could be categorized into 2 types: connecting link and offset link.
Here is the difference between the 2 types:

  • Connecting link
    The total quantity of links on a roller chain is usually odd number + 1 connecting link to be an even number chain.
    There are 2 types of connecting links: Spring clip type and Cotter pin type.
    It is common to use spring clip type for small size roller chains.
    Cotter pin type is used for medium/large size roller chains.

Connecting Links(EN.)

    • Offset link
      Offset link can be used when an odd number of chain links is required.
      There are 2 types of offset links: Single-pitch (OL) and Two-pitch (2POL).

    Offset Links(EN.)

    What are the types of roller chain?

    As mentioned, roller chains are widely used for many applications so international standards are set to ensure the specification enable to the match the sprockets.
    Roller chain can be categorized into 2 types as below:

    How to identify roller chain part number?

    From the part number, we could identify some specification of chains in the following way.

    American Standards

    • Chain pitch: The American Standards is measured in 1/8 inches so the first digit in the roller part number identify the pitch of 1/8 inches increment.
      For example, from the part number ANSI 40, we could identify the pitch is 4/8 inches (equal to 1/2 inches).
      The part number could be 3 digits for larger size. For example, ANSI 120 could be identified as the pitch is 12/8 inches (equal to 1-1/2 inches.)

    • Specification
      • 0 as the last digit: means the chain is standard chain which covers the range from ANSI 40 to ANSI 240.
      • 5 as the last digit: means the chain is bushing chain. Bushing chains don’t have rollers.
        For example: ANSI 25 and ANSI 35.

      • 1 as the last digit: means the chain is lightweight chain.
        For example, ANSI 41 is the lightweight version to ANSI 40.

    ANSI Roller Chain Part Number System(EN.)

    British Standards

    • Chain pitch: The British Standards is measured in 1/16 inches so the digits in the roller chain part number identify the pitch of 1/16 inches increment.
      For example, the pitch of 08B could be identified as 8/16 inches (equal to 1/2 inches) and 20B is identified as 20/16 inches (equal to 1-1/4 inches)

    BS Roller Chain Part Number System(EN.)

    Heavy duty roller chains

    Heavy duty version is at optional for both ANSI and BS series. They differ by having a thicker side plate and could also be identified from the part number by adding H in the part number.

    For example, ANSI 100H and BS 12BH.

    >check more information for ANSI Heavy Duty roller chain

    >check more information for BS Heavy Duty roller chain

    Straight sidebar roller chains

    Straight sidebar version is also at optional for both ANSI and BS series.
    The side plate is straight instead of figure 8 shape.
    The identified code in a part number is “F”.
    For example, ANSI 60F and BS 12BF.

    >check more information for ANSI Straight Sidebar roller chain

    >check more information for BS Straight Sidebar roller chain

    The strands of roller chains

    Based on the different strength requirement for the application, the multiple strands are the alternatives for the customer. MAXTOP chain has the options up to triple strands.

    In the part number system, adding a hyphen and number to present the strands of the chain.


    Chain No.

    Heavy Duty

    Straigh Sidebar

    Single Strand

    Duplex Strand

    Triplex Strand















    Related Articles
    Industrial Chain Expert

    Having more than 40 years of experience and technology in industrial chains, we aims to provide our best-quality, economical and efficient solutions to meet your various demands and applications.