The Basics of Attachment Chain
18th Jun 2024

Attachment roller chains integrate useful features along their inner and outer plates to enable connections, adjustments, and more. Let’s explore what defines these versatile chain types and where they add value.

  • Features welded attachments for functional enhancements
  • Allows adjustable chain length and simplified connections
  • Reduces assembly labor and component costs
  • Broadens applications across industries

In industrial environments, the typical plain roller chain doesn’t always meet needs out of the box. That’s where roller chain with attachments steps in – delivering specialized functionality to simplify mechanical designs.

Defining Attachment Chain

At its core, attachment chain begins life like any other ANSI or ISO power transmission roller chain before entering secondary processing. Here, useful features get welded directly onto the chain’s inner and outer plates at fixed intervals.

Attachments might include pins, tapped holes, threaded studs, rings, hooks and more. They transform the chain into a sort of flexible fastening system or integrated mechanism by enabling connections, adjustments, and customized configurations.

Benefits Over Standard Chain

This embedded functionality unlocks several advantages over plain roller chain:

  • Adjustable lengths eliminate the need to order fixed sizes. Chains can be connected or disconnected via attachments as needed.
  • Mechanisms with moving joints are simplified by using chain as a flexible coupling.
  • Attachments enable quick connections to other hardware like motors or guides.
  • Assemblies require fewer separate components like fasteners, pins and brackets.

The flexibility of attachment chain allows designers to optimize the same product for multiple configurations, capacities, environments and motions with minimal rework. It consolidates mechanisms down to the chain itself while enabling customization.

Roller Chain Attachment Types

Roller chain attachments take on diverse forms thanks to the flexibility of welding additional features directly onto the inner and outer plates. Here are some of the most common attachment shapes used:

Straight Attachments

As the name suggests, straight attachment plates maintain the native roller chain geometry without bends. They may contain holes, threads, pins and other functional features. Straight attachments can be mounted to one or both chain sides.

Use cases include connection points to other hardware, anchors, guides to constrain the chain, and mechanisms with rotating joints.

Bent Attachments

Bent attachment plates take on L-shapes with 90 degree bends or other angles[1]. Bending the plate itself enables additional functionality like pivoting joints or angled connection points to external hardware.

Holes, threads and other elements can be added as well. Bent attachments see use in articulated mechanisms, guides, and adjustable connections.

Bent Over Attachments

This style bends the plate back on itself to create a hook-like profile. The bent over section may also include holes, threads and other functional elements.

Common uses include attachment points for hooks, rings or other guiding components that redirect chain routing. Bent over attachments also enable secure anchoring.

Extended Pins

Here, standard chain pins get replaced by longer versions that protrude well beyond the outer plates. Extended pins serve as pivots, connection points and supports for auxiliary components.

Use cases include articulated joints for increased flexibility, or mount points for accessories like scrapers, carriers and more. Chains can have extended pins on one or both sides.

Wide Contour Attachments

This broad category entails attachments with larger, wider bent plates contoured to specific shapes beyond simple bends. Wide contour attachments fit around or support other components.

Typical applications include curved guides and guards to direct the chain’s path, integrated scrapers and lubricators, and attachments encompassing other moving parts.


Attachment chain unlocks speed, simplicity, and flexibility for industrial designers through integrated useful features. This transforms ordinary roller chain into a versatile assembly component ready for immediate connection and adjustment. By consolidating mechanisms down to the chain itself using welded-on attachments, engineers gain efficiency while enabling customization to the application.

The next time a project calls for adjustable conveying, flexible power transmission, or motion guidance, consider employing attachment chain from Universal Chains as an enabling “backbone” component. The usefulness built right into each link can simplify the entire machine.

Article Sources
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