Complete Guide to Sprockets and their Applications


Diversified Specialties Inc. is a premier manufacturer of Sprockets, specializing in crafting top-tier split, double, triple, and multi-strand roller chain sprockets across a range of sizes and specifications. Our Stainless Steel sprockets are engineered to perform in diverse conditions for industries prioritizing exceptional quality and endurance. Each component we produce undergoes stringent quality checks to guarantee superior performance and longevity. Proudly made in the USA, our manufacturing capability caters to a wide variety of needs. In this blog, we will dive into the parts of the sprockets, production of sprockets, and how they’re used across a multitude of industries and jobs.

A Breakdown: The Parts of a Sprocket

Diversified Specialities’ component engineering is designed to elevate the efficiency and reliability of your machinery, delivering unparalleled value to your operations. Each sprocket has several differing characteristics, which include the following:

Number of teeth: This is the total amount of teeth found on the sprocket, which are individually called a tooth. The number of teeth is determined by the machine it is being placed in, and the size of the teeth also differs from the size of the machine.

Pitch Diameter: This is the circumference of the sprocket at the inner point between the tooth point where the chain meets the sprocket.

Outside Diameter: The outside diameter of the sprocket is the circumference around the sprocket at the end tips of the teeth.

Pitch: The full measurement per tooth, usually represented in inches. This needs to fit the pitch between the pins on a chain.

The Many Functions of Sprockets:

Power Transmission: The Sprockets are designed to efficiently transfer power via a chain or belt from one rotating shaft to another.

Speed Variation: By changing the size of the sprockets, the speed ratio between input and output shafts can be seamlessly adjusted.

Direction Change: Sprockets have the ability to change the direction of rotation between shafts in an instant.

Torque Amplification: Through gear ratios, sprockets can amplify or reduce torque as needed so that your machine can operate at any level or speed.

Types of Sprockets:

Duplex Sprockets: Duplex sprockets have two sets of teeth side by side, allowing for two chains to be used on the machines simultaneously. They are essentially double sprockets.They are commonly used in heavy-duty applications where a higher level of strength and reliability is required, such as in mining equipment, heavy machinery, conveyors, and industrial manufacturing processes.

Industrial Sprockets: Industrial sprockets are versatile and can come in various configurations and designs depending on the specific application requirements.These sprockets find applications across a wide range of industries including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, agriculture, material handling, and more.

Industrial Stainless Steel Sprockets

Triple Sprockets: Triple sprockets have three sets of teeth which are all side by side, allowing for three chains to be used simultaneously. Similar to duplex sprockets but with even higher load-bearing capacities, triple sprockets are used in extremely heavy-duty applications such as large-scale mining equipment, marine propulsion systems, and heavy machinery found in construction and forestry.

Idler Sprockets: Idler sprockets are sprockets that rotate on bearings and are used to maintain tension in a chain system or to guide the chain’s path. They are commonly found in conveyor systems, tensioning systems for roller chains, and in various types of machinery where precise chain alignment is crucial for smooth operation and to prevent chain slippage or derailment.

Taper-Lock Sprockets: Taper-lock sprockets are designed with a tapered bore and a corresponding taper-lock bushing that fits into the bore, providing a secure and concentric mounting onto the shaft. These sprockets are widely used in applications where quick and easy installation or removal is required, as the taper-lock bushing allows for a tight and secure fit without the need for keyways or set screws.

Applications of Sprockets:

Automotive Industry: Sprockets are key components that are used in the automotive parts of engine timing systems, transmission systems, and steering mechanisms.

Manufacturing: Sprockets play a crucial role in various places throughout conveyor systems, assembly lines, and robotics.

Agriculture: Sprockets are found throughout machinery such as tractors, combines, and harvesters for tasks like driving conveyor belts and operating mechanisms.

Mining: Sprockets are employed in heavy-duty mining equipment for tasks such as conveying materials and driving crushers.

Construction: Sprockets are used in equipment like excavators, cranes, and bulldozers for functions such as lifting, digging, and material handling.

Cycling: Sprockets are integral components of bicycles and motorcycles, facilitating gear changes and power transmission.

Military: Sprockets are used on a plethora of equipment to ensure the highest performance of all materials.

HVAC: Sprockets are utilized with HVAC systems to optimize the machine ability on lathes, milling machines, routers, and more.

Selecting a sprocket for a chain

Sprockets are available with either 1, 2 or 3 rows of teeth to suit the specific machine and chain they are working on. These are known as either simplex, duplex or triplex sprockets. Simplex is the most common type, covering around 70% of market applications, Duplex being about 25% and Triplex only covers about 5% of machines, but all sprockets serve a unique purpose.

Sprocket Ratio Calculator

An image showing gear ratio for sprockets
Sprocket Ratio Calculator

What is the difference between a gear and a sprocket?

Chain sprocket

Sprockets and gears are both used to transmit power in machines or move other items by interlocking with them, but the main difference between a sprocket and a gear is how they work on a practical level. Both tend to be wheels with notches for use in machinery, meaning they look very similar, but the way they operate and what they do in the machinery is totally different.

Usually, gears are designed to link together to transmit movement to the other moving parts, which then causes movement elsewhere in the machine. Sprockets on the other hand, normally work directly with some part of the machinery. These relationships are different because gears often push against each other and use their collective movement to cause a larger mechanical movement.

This means sprockets are designed to directly move something such as a chain or belt, and they’re considered to be a product that works more independently, whereas gears create a network to increase strength and cause movement.

The differences can also be seen when inspecting the grooves of both devices. As gears mesh directly together, the notches could be on the outside of the wheel as well as the inside circular piece.

Sprockets have precise teeth which are built to fit uniquely into slots of the device it’s designed to move. This puts some restrictions in the types of applications for which they can be used.

Maintenance and Care of Sprockets:

Proper maintenance is crucial to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the overall health of both the Sprocket and the overall life of the machines. Regular inspection for wear and tear, lubrication of chains, and alignment checks are essential practices. Diversified Specialities ensures the overall maintenance and care of their custom made sprockets is at the forefront of their standards.


Sprockets are extremely versatile components with an array of widespread applications across various industries. It is key to find a manufacturer that understands their functions, types, and maintenance requirements is key to optimizing their performance and ensuring the smooth operation of mechanical systems. Diversified Specialities is one such manufacturer.

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