As an invention, chains (the very useful series of links connected together) have been around for a really long time, since about 225 BC. They have withstood the test of time and they have only been improved upon. An obvious, yet, interesting fact to mention is that they’re ever to be used as a symbol of oppression and they have their place in hip hop culture. However, they are mainly used in industries for lifting, hoisting, pulling and securing. There are also chains that are made in a unique way and they are used for transferring power in machines. Chains are also used as a way to transfer motion in motorcycles and bicycles. Below I’ll go over the basics regarding industrial chains – how they are used and what to bare in mind when it’s time to choose one.
The first thing to consider is chain grade. This is the measure of the tensile strength of the metal used to make the chain. It indicates the amount of force the chain can withstand before it eventually breaks. The higher the grade number the more force is needed to break the chain. Besides the quality, the grade being higher also results in a higher price tag for the chain. Paying higher price for better quality isn’t anything new. But, depending on what grade the chain has, it can have a different purpose.
There is also division among chains regarding the size of the links. The size of the link is what dictates what the chain will be used for. Longer links make an industrial chain lighter and allow for it to be be used with shackle bolts. This makes them perfect for applications where something needs to be bolted down. More length doesn’t make them good for lifting as it creates weaknesses and it can cause chain damage even breakage. Studded chains have a tiny piece of metal in the middle of the links. This makes them a lot stronger (perfect for pulling and lifting), but also heavier. BBB chains are a little bit more compact and feature shorter links. These are usually used on boat windlasses and they are made out of low carbon steel.
The finish of the chains is also of great importance. If you plan to use your industrial chain for boat purposes in salty water, your best choice would be the “hot dip” galvanised steel, as it can’t get affected by the salt. Stainless steel is not the number one choice for salty water as it can get rusty from the salt.