People have been using chain drives to transmit power as far back as ancient times. Needless to say, this technology is pretty old school.
So why do some manufacturing companies still use chain drive packages in their motors instead of more modern (and way better) direct drive packages in their motors?
Let’s break down why we think direct drive packages offer more advantages for your application.
Easy speed changes
Chain drive motors can provide easy speed changes, but direct drive packages can do it better.
A variable speed drive/variable frequency drive (VSD/VFD) on the direct drive motor allows speed to be increased or decreased at the turn of a dial. This also means less power is being wasted in higher rotations per minute (rpm), and less friction in the chain assembly, leading to increased efficiencies.
Real safety overload protection
Chain drives are side mounted to the rotor, driving it through a chain and sprocket. Using chain drives can lead to increased maintenance and downtime if the chain were to break or elongate, which also means more safety risks for your plant workers.
In direct drives, having fewer parts also means having fewer parts prone to failure. Direct drives also have an overall longer lifetime and increased safety. Because direct drives are mounted on to the rotor shaft, you can give feedback to a sensor that is directly on a rotor part. This will give your application more precision, fewer pinch points and fewer safety hazards.
One less part to look after
There are several ways that direct drives are more low maintenance, cleaner and put your application at less risk of contamination.
The removal of the chain drive arrangement allows the valve to be more compact and easier to install. This means when the time comes to clean your rotary valve—as demonstrated here—your valve is better designed for removing the end plates to get inside.
Chain drives, on the other hand, need more accurate mounting and careful maintenance to run effectively and efficiently. When they have been installed, they need regular maintenance and inspections on the chain to tighten it or ensure that it has proper lubrication.
In the food manufacturing industry, lubrication is an added risk of contamination, which can also put your products at risk of being recalled.
Both types of motors should include reduction gearboxes. Direct drives, however, can put out higher torque at a lower rpm due to the power savings from having no chain friction. The absence of a chain also means there are fewer parts that can vibrate, and much less noise.