Chain Drives vs. Belt Drives

Mechanical drives transmit torque, motion, and power from the motor shaft to the drive sheave. More than that, they adjust the intensity, direction, and speed of such factors to suit a wide range of operational requirements. There are a few main types of mechanical drives, all of which can be classified into two major categories: positive and non-positive drives.

A positive drive is free from slippage and provides a constant velocity ratio, whereas a non-positive drive cannot provide a fixed velocity ratio as a result of slippage and other issues. Furthermore, each drive offers unique advantages; thus, they find use in many applications. For example, a gear drive, chain drive, and coupling are good examples of positive drives, while belt drives and rope drives are good examples of non-positive drives that are prone to slip and creep. In this blog, we will be covering chain drives and belt drives in particular.

Belt Drives

Belt drives are a type of mechanical drive where motion and power are transferred from one shaft to another through the friction generated between the belt and pulley mounted on each shaft. Since friction plays a critical role in power transmission, they are often called friction drives. Keep in mind that slip can occur between the belt and pulley if the load exceeds the rated capacity. This slippage is not always undesirable, as it can actually protect numerous machine elements from overloading.

Chain Drives

Chain drives are a type of engagement power transmission system that transmits motion and power through successive engagement and disengagement chains with sprockets. As they are classified as positive drives, chain drives offer a fixed velocity ratio, but often fail to protect the system from excessive overloading.

Similarities Between Belt Drives and Chain Drives

Because both belt and chain drives are mechanical in nature, they utilize various mechanical elements in contact with one another to transmit power. In addition, both drives are well-suited for transmitting power and motion for medium to large shaft distances. They also share the same disadvantage of necessitating frequent adjustment in tension; otherwise, the potential for slippage increases as belt and chain drives stretch out with use.

Differences Between Belt Drives and Chain Drives

Other than the aforementioned differences we have outlined in the previous sections, there are a few more. For instance, atmospheric conditions and temperature have a major effect on belt tension, whereas a chain drive is unaffected. More than that, belt drives require minimal maintenance, while chain drives necessitate routine maintenance including lubrication.


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October 27, 2022

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