Drives Element Technology Keeps Machines in Motion
Jan 6, 2020

We rely a lot on machines to keep the world moving forward and that’s especially true in manufacturing. When workers arrive to begin their shifts, they expect to flip a switch and watch the wheels start turning.  When that switch flip fails to put things in motion, the resulting downtime can have far-reaching impacts for the manufacturer and its customers. At Timken, we’re always searching for solutions to keep those machines moving, and our latest innovation – Drives Element™ Maintenance-Free Roller Chain is designed to do just that.

Roller chains are usually out of sight and out of mind. The only time we really notice them is when they fail to do their job. Proper lubrication is key to keeping them moving day after day. That requires precious time and regular investment in ongoing maintenance. To help solve that, we designed the Drives Element Maintenance-Free Roller Chain to reduce downtime and long-term costs while increasing the lifecycle of the product.   

Self-lubricating roller chains aren’t a new concept by any means, but our Drives Element Maintenance-Free Roller Chain can help eliminate maintenance costs and increase a product’s up time. Thanks to its self-lubricating technology, Drives Element is estimated to last 2.5 times longer than competing chains.

Integrated lubrication is just one piece of Drives Element’s game-changing trifecta. This innovative chain also incorporates extended-life CHP® pins and a Silver Shield CR® coating to extend performance life and protect against corrosion. Altogether, these upgrades represent a breakthrough for a vital part found in manufacturing equipment everywhere, presenting businesses with a new opportunity to increase efficiency and reliability and cut costs over the long haul.

These chains are commonly used in the packaging, conveying and food and beverage industries. One example is the paper-towel accumulator. Standard chains employed in this environment often become stiff and unusable from dust created from the manufacturing process. Our self-lubricating chains, on the other hand, are less prone to this problem. And they provide the added benefit of protecting paper towels from coming into contact with any lubrication. This is vitally important to paper-towel manufacturers who can’t afford to have their product contaminated in such a way.

This is just the first step in a much broader vision for Timken® chains. As the Drives Element rollout continues, the expansion of additional self-lubricating chains is underway. Starting small with a roller application provides us a great opportunity to think about this technology’s uses across the full line of chains used within a factory or other workspace.

We wouldn’t be able to advance innovations like this without valuable input from our customers and close collaboration between the Timken tech and Drives engineering teams. By working together across the ecosystem, we can drive peak performance and create a noticeable impact on the bottom line. The Drives Element is another great example of how we bring that commitment to collaboration to life.

Timken® is a registered trademark of The Timken Company. 


Thomas M. Young is President, Diamond Chain & Drives. He joined Timken in 1982 as an associate sales engineer and earned his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from The University of Michigan.