Patent 7021454 Issued on April 4, 2006. Estimated Expiration Date: February 22, 2025. Estimated Expiration Date is calculated based on simple USPTO term provisions. It does not account for terminal disclaimers, term adjustments, failure to pay maintenance fees, or other factors which might affect the term of a patent.
To provide a conveyor chain, which easily can laterally discharge articles conveyed by the conveyor chain and easily can make U-turn and in which a count of parts of the chain links forming the conveyor chain can be reduced and the assembly, explosion and parts replacement and the like can be easily performed. A conveyor chain 1 is formed in such a manner that a plurality of chain links 2 each having a plurality of hinge portions 4, 5 respectively formed on both side edges of article loading portions 3, are adjacently, endlessly connected to each other with hinge pins. A gap portion 8 is provided between hinge portions 4, 4 formed on one-side edges in the article loading portions 3, and a ball unit 12 rotatably holding a free ball 16 in a split cover 15 consisting of a upper cover 13 and a lower cover 14 is attached to the gap portion 8. The upper and lower portions of the free ball 16 protrudes from opening portions 13a, 14a of the upper and lower covers 13, 14 and protrudes from the upper and lower surfaces of the conveyor chain 1.