Conveyor chain sprockets | FB Chain

Conveyor Chain Sprockets

What is a Conveyor Chain Sprocket?

Conveyor sprockets are used to transfer power to conveyor chains. Simply put, they are wheels that have teeth that match with a conveyor chain to transmit motion. They come in single, double and up to quintuple formats. Usual specifications for conveyor sprockets are teeth number, bore diameter, hub diameter, outside diameter, hub one side or both, length-through bore and weight.

Choice of material selection depends on transmission of power and speed, operating temperature, exposure to corrosive environments and noise factors. Where noise is a consideration, FB adopts noise reduction tooth profile technology. Conveyor sprockets with hubs made of stainless steel, or hardened steel are commonplace.


What are the parts of a sprocket?

Sprocket teeth – The teeth engage with the bush or roller of a conveyor chain and as the convoy sprocket turns the teeth pull the chain and in the direction of rotation.  The number of teeth is determined by outside diameter (OD) It also worth considering that If a sprocket has an even number of teeth, the same tooth will be engaged by the same rollers on each rotation so using an odd number of teeth will increase service life.  A similar result will occur if the number of teeth in the smaller sprocket is a divisor of the number of pitches on the conveyor chain.

Bore –  Most conveyor chain sprockets are supplied bored and keyed. Also referred to as Bored to Size, these are mounted onto a shaft with a similar keyway to the conveyor chains sprocket. Taper Lock clamping sets can make it easier to assemble and disassemble.

Hub – The hub diameter Is the distance across the hub from one side to another. This can be made to almost any size but must be sized to strength required allowing for keyway and set screws. This diameter must not exceed the pitch circle diameter minus the conveyor chain’s plate height.  Chain moving across oversized hubs can result in chain lift from the conveyor chain sprocket’s teeth resulting in more transfer of power.   Hubs can be on one or both sides and can be different diameters to suit the application.  The width hub must be sufficient to allow a long enough key to withstand the torque transmitted by the shaft and maintain the stability of the sprocket on the shaft.

Pitch circle Diameter (PCD) – This is the diameter across to the pitch circle which is the circle followed by the centre line of the chain pins as the conveyor sprocket turns and mesh with the chain. 

Tooth Flank – This is the part of the tooth that comes into direct contact with conveyor chain bush or roller and will be the surface which receives the most wear.  

Are there standards for conveyor chain sprockets?

There is no stand alone international standard for conveyor chain sprockets. Information on sprockets is generally found in the relevant conveyor chain standard.  Using the controlled dimensions in the standard ensure that the correct mesh is in operation and an efficient transmission of load can occur. The following standard maybe useful for reference:

ISO 1977:2006 Conveyor chains, attachments and sprockets

ISO 1275:2006 – Double-pitch precision roller chains, attachments and associated chain sprockets for tansmission and conveyors

ISO 6971:2002 Cranked-link drag chains of welded construction, attachments and sprockets

ISO 6973:1986 Drop-forged rivetless chains for conveyors

BS 4116-4:1992 Conveyor chains, their attachments and associated chain wheels.-Specification for chains and attachments (British series)

DIN 8165-1:1992 Solid Bearing Pin Type FV Conveyor Chains; Single-Strand And Double-Strand Chains

ASME B29.10M-1997 (R2019) Heavy Duty Offset Sidebar Power Transmission Roller Chains And Sprocket Teeth


How do know when a sprocket needs to be replaced?

Once conveyor chain sprockets have worn to a certain degree they can cause rapid chain wear and will need to be replaced at the next available opportunity. Replace them too early however and you’ll be incurring unnecessary costs. By examining the faces of the sprocket teeth you should be able to tell immediately whether a sprocket has worn or not.

When sprockets are replaced it is essential that they are properly aligned with the shafts as misaligned sprockets are a common cause of premature chain wear. When shafts and sprocket tooth faces are accurately aligned, the load is distributed evenly across the entire chain width which helps to achieve maximum service life. A straight edge, nylon line or laser sight tool should be used across the machined faces of the sprockets in several positions to check for wobble. Once sprockets have been correctly aligned, you should drive the keys home as a final check.


Adjustable sprockets reduce downtime of industrial conveyors

Conveyor system components, from chains to attachments to sprockets, all need to be designed to achieve the optimum balance between durability, resistance to wear and strength. Conveyor chains are often required to operate in harsh environments making an increased reliance in the highest quality materials commonplace. Stringent manufacturing methods are brought into play to avoid unplanned and potentially costly shutdowns.

Find out how the introduction of an adjustable sprocket has provided tangible benefits for a company operating in the pulp and paper industry... Read More

Drop forged chain sprockets

We manufacture multi-piece wheels, that are constructed by bolting teeth onto a central hub, for use particularly with FB drop forged conveyor chains. These wheels are CNC machined from specially selected high-grade steel.

FB drop forged conveyor chain sprockets can also be manufactured in high carbon content steel – hardened and tempered material for greater wear resistance.

Single teeth and drum rings

The induction hardening of conveyor chain sprocket teeth results in only the localised hardening of the tooth surface which means that FB induction hardened conveyor chain sprockets are specifically hardened in the working area around the individual tooth profile.

To achieve such precision hardening, the applicator coil is only exposed to the tooth profile, while still enabling the bore and other parts to remain soft and ductile.

Sprocket solutions to avoid downtime

Cement production, recycling, paper and pulp and biomass are just some of the industries where the working life of a sprocket is often curtailed. Challenging environments rely on the use of industrial chain and components that have the strength and durability to withstand wear on a grand scale.

Here are six conveyor chain sprocket solutions that have been proven to reduce conveyor system downtime, improve productivity and prolong chain life…Read More

Shear pin sprockets

Conveyors nowadays include electronic load monitoring in the control system, undoubtedly a useful safety feature. While technical engineers recommend these they also recommend that they are used in conjunction with shear pin sprockets. Where there is a slow increase in load, electronic sensing is ideal.as there is time to stop the drive before any damage occurs. In cases of misfeed or mechanical breakage, where the increase of load is sudden, the sensor will not automatically break the connection between the motor and the driven load. This can cause extensive damage to the conveyor chain and its attachments and this is why a shear pin sprocket is also needed.

Shear pin sprockets may be more expensive than standard sprockets, but they work out more cost effective in the long run as they limit downtime and save on chain replacement costs as the shear pin will break and stop the conveyor, thus limiting damage in the event of a malfunction.. Once the load or obstruction has been cleared, only the shear pin needs to be replaced. This means the conveyor can quickly start moving again.

Sprockets with induction hardened teeth

The induction hardening of conveyor chain sprocket teeth results in only the localised hardening of the tooth surface which means that FB induction hardened conveyor chain sprockets are specifically hardened in the working area around the individual tooth profile.

To achieve such precision hardening, the applicator coil is only exposed to the tooth profile, while still enabling the bore and other parts to remain soft and ductile. Hard conveyor chain sprocket bores are well known to cause premature wear on shafts, so by induction hardening only the teeth of our hardened conveyor chain sprockets FB Chain can avoid such difficulties. Our induction hardening will extend your conveyor chain sprocket life, particularly in heavy load drives or severe and abrasive environments.

Odds, evens and the life of sprockets and chains

Modern day innovations in conveyor design and technology may be safer and more efficient but in some aspects they are more expensive in the long run. For instance, how many teeth have your sprockets got? Is it an odd or even number? It does make a difference… Read More

Split sprockets

Split sprockets are useful when removing them requires disassembling substantial portions of the drive or when numerous sprockets are on the same shaft. Large conveyor chain sprockets require a crane, which increases downtime. Special alloy steels make FB split sprockets. The tooth profiles are CNC machined for close engagement, not flame cut, and localised induction hardening helps the sprockets handle harsh situations. Split sprockets are useful when removing them requires disassembling substantial portions of the drive or when numerous sprockets are on the same shaft.

Anti-clog sprockets

Anti-clog conveyor chain sprockets with self-cleaning grooves can greatly extend both conveyor chain and conveyor chain sprocket life. 

This is particularly the case in chain conveyor applications where the loose material being moved falls between the conveyor chain roller or bush and the sprocket teeth. Should the conveyed material be abrasive or hard then the need for anti-clog conveyor chain sprockets is even greater.

How can I prevent conveyor sprockets from clogging?

Moisture mixed with the material that your conveyor is moving could be causing your sprockets a problem as this mixture causes wear to the sprocket and chain. There is, however, a cost-effective answer that eradicates the problem using a very simple solution...Read More