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Conveyor system designs can vary significantly, which means the components used to drive those conveyors can also vary in design, shape, size, and function. A conveyor chain is a component that is usually used to help drive a conveyor belt or other conveyor system, though several types of chains may exist. A drive conveyor chain, for example, may be used to connect a motor to the conveyor belt itself, or it may run the length of the conveyor system to act as a guide for the belt.
While most systems feature chains made from metal, some systems may feature plastic chains as well. This is done to save weight and costs, though such conveyor chain systems generally won't be suitable for heavy-duty applications or any conveyor systems that run through ovens and other heating elements. When the conveyor chain is made from metal, it is generally made from steel. Certain types of steel are exceptionally resistant to corrosion and water damage, so galvanized steel chains are common on many systems. Steel also flexes a bit, which means it is a good choice for enduring the rigors of use under load.
Some conveyor systems will use a conveyor chain as a major component in the transport system. A drag chain conveyor, for example, features a long chain that runs through a pipe. This chain will feature discs sometimes known as pucks that are secured at regular intervals along the chain. As the conveyor chain moves through the pipe, the pucks will drag fine particulate matter through the system from one end to the other. This process eliminates the need for a blower system, and it accommodates bends in the pipe. Otherwise, an auger conveyor might be used, but such a system is limited because the screw-like auger cannot be bent around corners. The drag chain is flexible, which means endless configurations of the conveyor pipe are possible.
Other conveyor designs may call for chain links that connect to rollers, which are in turn connected to a guide rail. The rollers and the chain will hang down from the rail, allowing items to be hung from hooks or the chain itself. The size and shape of the links will vary according to the size of the rollers as well as the intended application of the conveyor system. This system is akin to a trolley system sometimes used on overhead winches used for hauling large items across a space.