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Mechanical Conveyor Choices: Everything to Consider

Posted on 19th October 2016 by

mechanical conveyor examples for various processes

Selecting the best mechanical conveyor for your application is crucial to your processing success and your bottom line. Here at Spiroflow, we have a comprehensive range of conveyors that processers can choose from. Our primary objective is to provide you with the safest, most efficient, and most reliable conveying solution for your application.

We work with our customers to make sure they get the exact conveyor for their needs. We’ve been doing it for decades and we’ll do it for you.

This article will break down what you should keep in mind when working with a conveyor manufacturer. You’ll also find a handy chart that provides a very high-level indication of conveyor performance for a variety of metrics.

Mechanical Conveyor Selection

Product Attributes

The type of product you plan on conveying is one of the biggest determining factors when considering which conveyor to choose. How would you describe your material’s characteristics? Engineers will need to know the bulk density, particle size, moisture content, temperature, and abrasiveness of your product. Is it hygroscopic or likely to segregate? Is the product cohesive? Are there other properties that affect how it can be conveyed?

Needed Function and Performance

What are your desired conveying rates and capacities? What are your layout requirements and constraints? What materials of construction do you require? Will your conveyor require multiple inlets or outlets?  Must it elevate material or move it through multiple planes?  Do you need the conveyor to provide a variable conveying rate?  How will you feed your material into the conveyor? Will it need to provide gentle handling?  Does the conveyor need to be enclosed to contain dust or prevent material contamination?  Do you require a dust collection system? Do you need a weight measurement for the delivered ingredients?

Operating Features

Can the conveyor handle your required conveying distance?  Can it handle your current and future conveying volumes?  Does the conveyor have high installation costs or high operating costs?  Can it be installed in your existing operation? Will it operate in a sanitary environment? Do you require an integral bag/sack dump hopper? Do you require a mobile conveyor? Does the environment require explosion proof equipment?

Service Life

What is the projected duty life of the operation this conveyor will serve?  Some conveyors are light-duty units suitable for intermittent or short-term operation, while others are heavy-duty machines designed for continuous long-term operation.  Consider what service life your conveyor must provide to ensure that it can handle your application.

Long Term Energy Requirements

Consider how the conveyor’s energy use will affect its operating costs over the long term.

The Manufacturer

When you’re selecting a conveyor, we recommend that you work with a supplier who offers several conveyor types.  Such a supplier has the experience to satisfy your conveying performance needs and to ensure that the conveyor you select will withstand your process’s duty level throughout the life of the process.  This supplier can offer advice based on which unit can successfully handle your material and also provide the best combination of low purchase price, low operating cost, and high efficiency.

Testing the Material

Ideally, the supplier will also have a test lab with conveyors of various types to help you determine which one can best handle your material and operating conditions.  Ask the supplier for references to check whether previous customers with applications like yours are satisfied with the conveyors they have purchased.

Performance Guarantee

Finally, make sure that your supplier provides assurances that the conveyor will successfully transfer your material and perform reliably and cost-effectively for the long run.  Spiroflow, of course, guarantees all equipment solutions that have been tested in our test lab.

Mechanical Conveyor Comparison Chart

The mechanical conveyor comparison chart below shows how flexible screw conveyors, tubular drag conveyors, aero mechanical conveyors, and pneumatic conveyors compare on all the criteria listed above.

Flexible Screw Conveyors

These go by many names. They’re often referred to as auger screws, screw augers, flexible augers, screw conveyors, flex conveyors, helix or helical conveyors, flexible spiral conveyors, or spiral screw conveyors. They are dust-free, low energy, low maintenance, and economical. They provide gentle handling and constant remixing. They are also easy to install.

Aero Mechanical Conveyors

Aero mechanical conveyors offer high conveying capacities and total batch transfer. The cable and disc assembly is driven through a totally enclosed tubular system that fluidizes material at high speeds through a circuit. Aero mechanical conveyors provide a reliable means of transporting material between processes with low energy consumption.

Tubular Drag Conveyors

Tubular drag conveyors utilize a cable and disc assembly or a chain and disc assembly. These conveyors are made of a series of straight and curved tubes or structural pipe to provide a totally enclosed system that gently pulls material between the discs through the conveying path. Drag conveyors allow for complex circuits with multiple inlets and outlets. They provide total batch transfers but sacrifice conveying rate because of a lower operating speed than flex screw or aero mechanical conveyors.

Operating speed is determined by the setup of the circuit and distance traveled.

mechanical-conveyor-selection-chart

Still Have Questions?

We appreciate that you’ve found and read this article. It’s understandable if you still have questions. If you do, let us know! We have been in the bulk material handling industry for more than 45 years. We’ll work with you to find the right conveyor for your process.

 

(1) 704-246-0900 | [email protected] | +44 (0) 1200 422525

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Dave Hesketh

Director of Engineering & Product Development
Dave has been with Spiroflow for more than 25 years. He’s a Chartered Engineer, member of the Institute of Engineering Designers, and a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dave is a regular contributor to a variety of industry trade publications.