What are the Key Differences Between Chain Driven Live Roller (CDLR) and Belt Driven Live Roller (BDLR) Conveyors?

Dec 7, 2023 | Belt Driven Live Roller, Chain Driven Live Roller, General

Conveyors are indispensable in material handling systems, streamlining the transportation of products across various locations. Among the array of conveyor types, Chain-Driven Live Roller (CDLR) and Belt-Driven Live Roller (BDLR) conveyors are notable for their effectiveness in industrial settings. While both aim to efficiently transport products, they differ significantly in construction, operation, and application suitability.

Key Differences and Application Insights


  • CDLR Conveyors are built for robustness, featuring a chain and sprocket mechanism to power the rollers, which are made from materials like steel for durability. This design ensures smooth product movement, ideal for environments requiring reliability.
  • BDLR Conveyors use a rubber or synthetic belt to drive the rollers, offering a smoother and quieter operation. This approach is versatile, easily handling a wide range of product sizes and types.


  • CDLR Conveyors are characterized by a positive drive system, with chain-powered rollers providing precision in product placement. They excel in handling heavier loads and are suited for settings where product accumulation is necessary.
  • BDLR Conveyors utilize a friction drive system for a quieter operation, capable of accommodating diverse product shapes and sizes, thus offering considerable flexibility in various applications.


  • CDLR Conveyors maintenance may include regular lubrication and checks for sprocket wear. Timely part replacements are crucial for efficiency and to avoid downtime.
  • BDLR Conveyors generally require frequent maintenance, especially for belt tensioning and part replacements. However, their simpler design facilitates easier maintenance tasks for long-term stability.


  • CDLR Conveyors are the choice for heavy-duty applications like automotive, manufacturing, and distribution due to their quick and accurate product movement capabilities.
  • BDLR Conveyors are preferred for transporting fragile items or products of varied sizes and shapes, making them ideal for the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and packaging industries to maintain product integrity.


Conveyor Technical Specifications

Understanding the technical specifications of Chain-Driven Live Roller (CDLR) and Belt-Driven Live Roller (BDLR) conveyors is crucial for selecting the right system for your material handling needs. Here, we outline the key specifications for each type.

CDLR Conveyors

  • Load Capacity: CDLR conveyors are designed to handle heavy loads, typically ranging from 250 to 15,000 pounds per roller, making them suitable for industrial applications involving heavy products or pallets.
  • Speed: These conveyors can operate at variable speeds, commonly from 30 to 60 feet per minute (FPM), allowing for the efficient movement of goods through a facility.
  • Roller Diameter: The rollers in CDLR conveyors usually range from 1.9 inches to 5 inches in diameter, with the choice depending on the load requirements and the size of the products being transported.
  • Frame Material: Frames are typically constructed from steel for durability, capable of withstanding harsh industrial environments.
  • Drive: Chain drives are used to power the rollers, with options for direct drive to each roller or a single chain drive for a series of rollers, depending on the application’s needs.

BDLR Conveyors

  • Load Capacity: BDLR conveyors are suited for lighter loads compared to CDLR systems, with capacities ranging from 1 to 250 pounds per roller. This makes them ideal for handling packages, small items, and irregularly shaped products.
  • Speed: These conveyors also offer variable speeds, with a common range being 20 to 200 FPM. The speed flexibility supports various applications, from slow-moving assembly lines to faster packaging operations.
  • Roller Diameter: Rollers typically range from 1.9 to 2.5 inches in diameter, designed to accommodate smaller and more delicate items.
  • Belt Material: The belts can be made from various materials, including rubber, PVC, or fabric, chosen based on the application’s specific needs regarding friction, product type, and environmental conditions.
  • Drive Mechanism: BDLR conveyors use a belt under tension to drive the rollers. Depending on the conveyor length and design, the belt can be powered by an end drive or a central drive mechanism.

When choosing between CDLR and BDLR conveyors, it’s essential to consider their technical specifications relative to your needs, including product weight and size, desired conveyor speed, and environmental conditions.

Environmental Considerations and Sustainability

Chain-Driven Live Roller (CDLR) and Belt-Driven Live Roller (BDLR) conveyors have aspects that align with sustainable practices, although their impacts and efficiencies differ.

CDLR Conveyors: Sustainability Aspects

  • Energy Efficiency: CDLR conveyors are generally more energy-efficient when transporting heavy loads compared to other systems that might require more power to move the same amount of weight. This efficiency can lead to lower energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint.
  • Durability and Longevity: The robust construction of CDLR conveyors means they have a longer lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacements and, consequently, the environmental impact of manufacturing new systems.
  • Recyclability: The materials used in CDLR conveyors, such as steel rollers and chains, are highly recyclable. These materials can be repurposed or recycled at the end of their life, minimizing waste.

BDLR Conveyors: Sustainability Aspects

  • Lower Energy Consumption for Light Loads: BDLR conveyors can be more energy efficient for operations involving lighter loads than CDLR conveyors, as they require less power to move products. This can contribute to energy savings and lower emissions in facilities focused on handling lighter items.
  • Noise Reduction: BDLR conveyors operate more quietly than many alternatives, contributing to a better working environment and less noise pollution. This aspect, while indirectly related to environmental impact, highlights the importance of sustainable operational practices that consider all elements of environmental health.
  • Material Choices: The belts used in BDLR conveyors can be made from a variety of materials, including some that are more environmentally friendly or sustainable. Options such as recycled materials or biodegradable composites can further reduce the environmental impact.

Aligning with Sustainable Practices

CDLR and BDLR conveyors offer opportunities to align with sustainable practices through carefully selecting materials, energy-efficient designs, and long-term durability. Businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint can consider the following strategies:

  • Energy Assessments: Conduct energy assessments to choose the most efficient conveyor type for your specific needs, considering the weight of products and the required speed of transportation.
  • Sustainable Materials: Opt for conveyors made with recyclable or sustainably sourced materials to minimize environmental impact.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep: Regular maintenance ensures conveyors operate efficiently, reducing unnecessary energy consumption and extending the life of the equipment.

Both conveyor types are designed to enhance product transportation efficiently, but their differences in construction, operation, and maintenance make them suited for specific applications. By evaluating your requirements, you can select the most appropriate conveyor type for your system.

For expert advice and custom conveyor solutions, Power Pack’s team is ready to assist. Contact us to create the ideal conveyor system tailored to your operational needs.


About the Author

Dan Farrar is the CEO of Power Pack Conveyor Company, a pioneering industrial conveyor manufacturer since 1929. Power Pack Conveyor Company specializes in designing, engineering, and manufacturing conveyors, conveyor components, and turn-key systems for OEMs, System Integrators, and Distributors.

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