Frequently Asked Questions

HomeFrequently Asked Questions

No, like all belt and chain drives, silent chain generates some amount of noise. However, silent chain earned its name by producing less vibration and noise than other types of chain. In a given application the exact noise level to be expected is dependent on a large number of factors including speed, load, lubrication, sprocket size, and drive support/enclosure design.

Throughout the world, chain pitch is normally expressed in inches. The most common pitches are .375”, .500”, .750”, 1.000”, 1.500”, and 2.000”. The most reliable method for determining chain pitch is to examine three consecutive pin heads and to measure the distance (in inches) between the center of the first and the center of the third head. Divide this measurement by two and you will have the pitch. If the number obtained is different from the common pitches listed above, you may have a special silent chain. Consult Ramsey for more information on determining your chain pitch.

Ramsey has distributors and representatives in most parts of the world. A partial listing of these can be found online. For additional information about the distributor nearest to you, Contact Ramsey.

Proper lubrication is important for a long service life, particularly at high loads and speeds. Lubricant specifications and methods can be found by clicking Lubrication. In some low speed conveying applications it may be possible to operate with powdered lubricants or no lubricant at all. In most cases, greases or heavy oils will not penetrate chain joints and are not recommended. Consult Ramsey for specific recommendations.

Ramsey has replacement silent chains for almost all products made by established industrial silent chain manufacturers. This includes products made by Bosch, Rexroth, Mecman, Westinghouse, Morse, Link-Belt, Whitney, and Renold. We also have replacements for products made by less well known producers. If you want to know more about replacing a chain, Contact Ramsey for assistance.

Some chains are designed specifically for power transmission and others are designed especially for conveying. However, in some instances a chain that has been designed for power transmission may be employed in a conveying application. If you do not know how a particular chain should be used it is best to consult the chain manufacturer.

In power transmission applications silent chain is capable of transmitting loads and speeds that exceed the capability of all other chains and belts. Drives are compact and efficient, operating with little noise or vibration. In conveying applications silent chain provides a durable,heat resistant, non-slip, flat, conveying surface that runs with a nearly constant linear velocity. The range of available sizes is extensive.

Two pin joints provide low friction, high efficiency, and long life and are the most common joint used in silent chain for industrial power transmission applications. In chains used for conveying either joint style may provide satisfactory results and it is often a matter of customer preference. Ramsey can assist you in determining whether one joint style is better for your particular application.

Silent chain’s smooth operation is the result of both chain and sprocket design. Driving links and sprockets are designed to engage with minimal sliding or impact. Chain joints, particularly two pin joints, operate with minimal friction and wear uniformly over the life of a chain. Together, these factors keep vibration to a minimum and contribute to the smoothness of the drive.

Silent chain drives compared with belts:

  1. Higher speed and power capacity
  2. Detachable and therefore more easily installed
  3. Greater efficiency
  4. Larger drive ratios possible
  5. No slippage
  6. Higher drive ratios at short center distances
  7. Less affected by temperature or humidity
  8. Lower bearing loads
  9. Less affected by oil or grease

Silent Chain Drives compared with roller chain:

  1. Higher speed and power capacity
  2. Reduced noise and vibration
  3. Greater efficiency
  4. Less velocity variation
  5. Higher efficiency (as high as 99%)
  6. More uniform wear characteristics
  7. Longer sprocket life
  8. Less affected by chordal action

Silent Chain Drives compared with gears:

  1. Reduced noise and vibration
  2. More economical with large center distances
  3. Less critical shaft location and alignment
  4. Lower bearing loads
  5. Greater elasticity and shock absorption capability
  6. No end thrust
  7. Detachable and therefore more easily replaced

Designing a drive consists of choosing sprockets and chain that are appropriate for the loads and speeds involved. Click on Drive Selection for step by step instructions, or download Ramsey’s Drive Selection Program. Ramsey sales engineers also provide free drive selection assistance.

It is possible to buy sprockets and chain from different sources if you are certain that they are fully compatible. However, often the design of a silent chain is proprietary to a given manufacturer and problems can arise when using separate sources. Ramsey maintains its own sprocket manufacturing facility to assure complete compatibility between chain and sprockets.

Ramsey’s RPV line of chain and sprockets will replace or interchange with Morse HV chain. However, RPV and HV should not be interconnected. Contact Ramsey for more detailed information about replacing chain from other manufacturers.

HV is a registered trademark of Morse and Emerson Power Transmission

There are a number of common terms that are used to describe silent chain width:

Width over heads – This is the maximum chain width and is measured across the “headed” or “riveted” pins.

Width over links – This is the measurement across link plates only, excluding pin heads or any washers that are on the ends of pins.

Width between guides – This is the measurement between guide plates and is used only with side guide chain.

Nominal width – This is not a measurement. It is a general approximation of chain size used in part numbering and catalogues.

Side guide chains may offer some advantage in applications where sprocket shafts are not horizontal. Otherwise, there is often little or no difference in the performance of side or center guide chains and many manufacturers produce both types of chain.

In some instances it is possible to purchase chain from different manufacturers that will operate on the same sprockets and deliver comparable performance. However, in many cases their are dimensional and design differences that will not allow a satisfactory interchange. Ramsey regularly replaces chain from other manufacturers and can readily identify products for which an interchange exists. It is not advisable to interconnect chains from different manufacturers.

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