Row By Row / April 2024

The Drago Parts Difference: Idler Sprockets

Olimac, maker of Drago corn heads, has focused on crafting better heads for more than 60 years. As industry leaders in yield capture and durability, their manufacturing process engineers every component for durability — down to our gathering chain idler sprockets. 

A critical, often overlooked component of a corn head, idler sprocket design is just as important to corn head performance as deck plates or roller knives. Poor design can lead to costly downtime and more frequent maintenance.

How it works

Idler sprockets function to ensure proper gathering chain operation, and their design is key to longer chain life and uninterrupted operation during harvest. Drago’s large idler sprockets are formed from one piece of solid steel, precision-measured to ensure they meet Drago quality specifications. Their larger size reduces crimping and stress on gathering chains, extending life of the chains, and their solid construction reduces chain derailment during operation.

Head-to-head comparison

Looking at the idler sprockets on a John Deere or Case corn head, it’s easy to see the Drago advantages. Deere idler sprockets are significantly smaller and run much faster than Drago’s, causing more crimping and greater chain wear, which shortens chain life. This also increases replacement costs, which comes with the time-cost of delays in the field.

Case idler sprockets are similar in size to Drago’s but are constructed from multiple components, leaving a gap that allows buildup of debris. Having this buildup under the gathering chain increases the chance of gathering chain derailment during operation. Case gathering chains and idler sprockets also run faster than Drago’s creating more wear and tear on chains, decreasing their life.



John Deere

Covering every detail

Idler sprockets are just one small feature that sets a Drago apart from the rest, giving farmers greater durability, less maintenance and better overall ROI from their corn head. Olimac optimizes every detail during manufacturing — from its laser-applied tungsten knives to spiral-cut gears and chainless Endura Drive system — for smoother, more successful harvests.

Continue exploring our site to learn more about the overall durability of Drago parts or to continue comparing head-to-head against Case IH and John Deere.