Conveyor belts are the tools that move many industries, transporting the products and materials necessary for the UK's economy to grow. But have you ever stopped to think there's another ecosystem of parts and tools beneath this more visible layer? We're talking about the chains that make the conveyor belts work.

Just as there is a vast variety of conveyor belts, there's also a wide range of chain types.

Let's learn more about this critical piece of equipment.


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what is a conveyor belt chain?

Conveyor belt chains are continuous transport systems where chain links or plates are connected to form a surface on which materials can be moved from one point to another.

Chains can be made from a multitude of resources. The choice of the ideal material, as well as the desired design and functionality, will depend on the type of product to be transported, its weight and dimensions, the installation conditions of the belts, and the specific requirements of the production process.

The conveyor chain serves as the pivotal driving element, propelling either the conveyor belt or, in the case of a direct application, the materials themselves. The chain links engage with the sprockets, providing a secure drive mechanism that ensures the belt or products move consistently and smoothly along the system.

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exploring the different conveyor chains

Here's an overview of the different types of conveyor belt chains.

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plastic conveyor chains

Plastic conveyor chains are very popular because they are lightweight, versatile, and corrosion-resistant. They are made from reinforced thermoplastic materials, contributing to an extended lifespan. As a result, they require little maintenance, lowering operating costs.

These systems are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry and on conveyors that, in one way or another, are exposed to corrosive materials. Another advantage of plastic conveyor chains is their reduced noise level compared to metal belts.

It's also worth noting that their lightweight nature causes less wear on conveyors and reduces electricity usage. Furthermore, plastic conveyor chains are easy to clean.

Despite these advantages, it's important to avoid using these belts in high-temperature environments due to plastic's low heat resistance.

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roller conveyor chains

Roller conveyor chains are designed with cylindrical rollers interlinked at regular intervals. They are made from hardened carbon steel or stainless steel, and can withstand heavy loads and high-wear environments.

One of their characteristics is the precision of movement, which is essential for synchronising product transportation on assembly lines, especially in the automotive and manufacturing industries.

They can be customised with various attachments or carriers to accommodate specific operational needs, such as lifting, pushing, or carrying products at different stages in the production process.

Links can be replaced individually, minimising downtime and maintenance costs. Roller conveyor chains are ideal for applications where the operating environment is not overly corrosive or where temperatures do not exceed the material's heat tolerance. Alternative resources or specialised coatings may be necessary for environments outside these conditions.


drag chains

Drag chains, also known as scraper chains, are designed for dragging materials along a smooth surface. Unlike roller conveyor chains that use the rolling action of wheels to reduce friction, drag chains rely on sliding motion.

Built to handle the abrasive nature of the goods they move, drag chains are typically made from high-strength, wear-resistant materials. They are designed to efficiently move large volumes of powders, grains or small lumps along the conveyor path.

These parts are versatile and can operate effectively in different configurations, whether horizontal, vertical, or inclined.

Drag chains often operate within an enclosed trough, which helps to contain the goods being moved, reducing spillage and protecting the materials from contamination.

A notable disadvantage is that maintenance can be more time-consuming and complex than other conveyor systems.

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slat chains

Slat chains, also known as slat band or slat link chains, are particularly useful in applications requiring the stable and level transport of goods, such as in the assembly of electronics, appliances, and automobiles. They consist of slats, which are flat, plate-like elements connected by either hinges or chains to form a continuous conveying surface.

They are made from stainless steel, hardened plastic, or a combination of both. These chains can be customised in terms of width, slat material, and spacing to handle various product sizes and weights.

Careful consideration is essential when selecting a slat chain. Before making a purchase, consider the operational conditions of your business, as well as the presence of humidity, contact with chemicals, and temperature variations. Talk to your supplier to identify the most suitable material for your conveyor.

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wire mesh chains

Wire mesh chains, also known as wire mesh belts or wire belt conveyors, are a type of conveying system that utilises a meshed wire fabric to transport products. These chains are especially useful in environments where a high degree of airflow is necessary or where the items being transported need to undergo a heating or cooling process while on the conveyor.

Constructed typically from steel or stainless steel, wire mesh chains can withstand high temperatures, making them ideal for ovens, foundries, or baking applications. They are also very durable.

However, they are not usually used for transporting tiny items that could fall through the mesh or for products that require a flat surface for stability.

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agricultural chains

Agricultural chains are built to withstand the harsh environments and heavy-duty usage common to various agricultural applications, from harvesting to processing. They are made to resist wear and tear, often featuring hardened materials and coatings to extend their lifespan in the face of abrasive substances and outdoor elements.

These chains can come with attachments or specialised designs, like extended pins or slats.

Maintaining 100% effectiveness of these chains is crucial and depends on regular chain conveyor maintenance. The service team must be attentive to remove debris and lubricate the parts. This lubrication is essential to protect the equipment.

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cleated chain

Cleated chains are designed with raised sections or cleats attached at regular intervals along the chain. The cleats provide additional grip to prevent slippage of materials, ensuring that items are transported reliably up or down an incline.

These chains are great for transporting grain or other bulk agricultural products and recyclable materials from lower to higher elevations. When selecting a cleated chain, ensure the cleats' pattern and height suit the size and type of goods transported.

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friction top chain

Friction top chains feature high-friction inserts or coatings on the chain's surface designed to enhance the grip between the conveyed product and the chain itself. The friction inserts can be made of various materials, including rubber or specialised plastics. Their gentle grip reduces the likelihood of damage to the product. Thus, they are commonly used in packaging applications. Regular cleaning is mandatory, as the build-up of dust and debris can reduce effectiveness.

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magnetic chains

Magnetic chains, as the name suggests, incorporate magnets in their structure. They are used in processes where ferromagnetic materials must be kept stable during transport, especially when it involves vertical paths.

Using magnetic adhesion reduces the need for clamps, guides, or other physical restraints, simplifying conveyor design and reducing wear and tear.

This type of chain is widely used in the automotive, recycling, packaging, and metal forming and stamping industries.

Maintenance of magnetic chains typically involves ensuring the magnets maintain their strength and are not obscured or coated with material that could reduce their effectiveness.

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do you need to replace your conveyor chain?

With so many types of chains available, one of the challenges companies face is quickly finding the ideal part for their conveyors. That's why it's so important to have a partner who understands how crucial these systems are to a company's operation.

Joloda Conveyor Service’s repair and maintenance services are designed to address any problems swiftly and effectively. Our service vans are fully stocked with a wide array of conveyor parts and components, allowing our skilled technicians to perform on-site repairs without unnecessary delays. This means that when a fault is detected, our service team can be dispatched quickly to your location, assess the issue, and replace any faulty parts on the spot.

Partnering with a dedicated repair and maintenance provider like Joloda Conveyor Services ensures that you have the support needed to maintain continuous operation, with services tailored to the demands of your business. Contact our team to ensure that your conveyor system remains a reliable component of your production process.

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about Joloda Conveyor Services

We are a unique service provider, focused 100% on repairs, maintenance and refurbishment of conveyor systems. Our team of conveyor carers are experts because they are not distracted by lots of additional bolt-on services; when your equipment needs attention, we’ll fix it and get you back operational as quickly as possible.

Learn more About Us and how we can help to keep your, and the nation's conveyors rolling.

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why choose joloda conveyor services for maintenance

Minimise your organisation’s conveyor belt problems by calling on us for maintenance. In addition to having more than 100 qualified, fully accredited mechanical and electrical engineers on standby to assist you with repairs whenever you need them, we provide comprehensive conveyor care to aid the ongoing performance of your equipment.

With our conveyor support, you can tackle conveyor belt problems head-on, minimise any potential disruption to your operations, and replace conveyor parts as soon as necessary.

Learn more about our conveyor services or start a conversation on our Let's Chat page to solve all your common conveyor problems, today.

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