The “roller chain” and sprocket system have not been fundamentally re-designed since first observed in drawings by Da Vinci more than 300 years ago or 16th century. They still suffer from a number of limitations: their movement causes them to make noise, to wear and to break. They must be made out of high density metal, lubricated regularly and cannot be reduced beyond a certain size. Nevertheless, millions of miles of roller chain are in active service globally: from the chain on your bike/motorcycle to the industrial conveyor belts used in manufacturing for the aviation, nuclear and food industries. Downtime from chain breakages is often the single largest source of unexpected expense for manufacturers.
New Motion Labs are re-designing power transmission in a way that solves fundamental problems in existing applications whilst opening up design options that were previously impossible. Their first invention; a re-designed chain, is completely compatible with existing systems, but lasts ten times longer before breaking (reducing downtime), can be made of materials other than metal (carbon fibre, plastic, reducing weight) and does not need to be lubricated (reducing maintenance costs). Moreover, it can be miniaturised. Their next inventions take on gearing systems – offering an infinite power ratio range with a single gear, in contrast to sets of discrete sprocket sets.
“This chain could bring a 10x reduction in wear.” – Andy Scarisbrick, Research Manager at Digital Engineering & Test Centre