How much does a structural drag chain conveyor cost? They aren’t inexpensive compared to other mechanical conveyors but they deliver under the most extreme conditions. The exact price depends on your layout and application parameters, but it can be worth it. These conveyors are ‘problem solvers in a pipeline’!
This article is for processors who want to understand the cost of using a structural drag chain conveyor in their process. If this conveyor fits your needs, the price is completely worth it. If it’s not a good fit, there are several other conveying solutions available. By the end of this article you’ll know which direction to go in.
WHAT IS A STRUCTURAL DRAG CHAIN CONVEYOR?
I want to give you a clear picture of what specific conveyors I’m talking about before I go any further. Not to be confused with tubular drag chain conveyors, this article is about conveyors utilizing a chain assembly inside of a structural pipe. Here at Spiroflow, we refer to them as Dynaflow® ultra heavy-duty conveyors.
COST ELEMENTS OF A STRUCTURAL DRAG CHAIN CONVEYOR
These conveyors are powerhouses compared to other mechanical conveyors. They don’t move material quickly, but they can move the widest variety and most difficult materials.
The material used in your application, along with the conveyor size, layout, speed, and capacity, will directly impact the drive assembly and motor required. Motors range from 1/3 HP up to 30 HP.
Structural drag chain conveyors will successfully convey the most challenging of materials such as sludge. See a partial list of materials here. Consider this type of conveyor if your process requires you to convey:
- Very hot materials – temperatures up to 482˚F (250˚C)
- Fragile materials
- Hygroscopic materials
- Moist materials
- Cohesive materials
- Fine particles
Conveyor speeds are typically up to 50 ft/min (15 m/min) and capacities typically reach 10 ft3/min (0.28 m3/min). Conveying rates are variable. Operating the conveyor at slow speeds minimizes the risk of material degradation.
Structural drag chain conveyors from reliable suppliers are usually offered in a variety of sizes (pipe diameters) to meet specific application dependent requirements. At Spiroflow we offer 3”, 4”, 6” and 8” conveyors. Of course, larger conveyors will provide higher capacities.
CONVEYOR LENGTH & LAYOUT
Structural chain drag conveyors can be laid out in a variety of configurations such as straight runs, loops, ‘Z’ configurations, and bulb loops. Of course, the length and layout of the conveyor will impact the price. An expert manufacturer can make recommendations on the ideal layout and then calculate the cost of the required length, the number and degree of bends and type of idler assembly.
The conveyor’s maximum total length is 400 ft (120 m) which includes the return leg. Multiple conveyors can be linked together to cover greater distances. The conveyors can have multiple inlets and/or multiple outlets.
MATERIALS OF CONSTRUCTION
PIPE: At Spiroflow, our drag chain conveyors are built with your choice of structural pipe.
- Schedule 40 carbon steel pipe
- Schedule 40 304 stainless steel pipe
- Schedule 40 316 stainless steel pipe
CHAINS & FLIGHTS: We can recommend the optimal type of chain for your application in 304 stainless steel, 316 stainless steel or cast iron. Chain choices include:
- Sealed pin chain with black neoprene seals & UHMWPE flights
- Sealed pin chain with white nitrile seals & UHMWPE flights
- Sealed pin chain with high-temperature silicone seals & carbon or stainless steel flights
- Dropped forged chain with cast iron flights
FLANGE JOINTS: There are a variety of flange joints to choose from. Not sure what you need? Don’t worry. We can make a recommendation based on your application.
- Carbon steel flanges, black neoprene gaskets & grade #5 fasteners
- Carbon steel flanges, white nitrile gaskets & grade #5 fasteners
- Carbon steel flanges, high-temperature silicon gaskets & grade #5 fasteners
- 304 Stainless steel flanges, white nitrile gaskets or high temp silicone gaskets, & stainless steel fasteners
NOTE: If your application requires different materials of construction a knowledgeable manufacturer should be able to offer additional alternatives.
Structural drag chain conveyors can be provided with a variety of additional options which may be recommended based on your application. These include but aren’t limited to:
- Flanged discharge hopper
- Air actuated discharge gates
- Inspection ports so operators can monitor the chain and material moving through the circuit
- Chain vibrator at discharge so material is removed from the surfaces of the chain
- Control system to operate the conveyor
OTHER STRUCTURAL DRAG CHAIN BENEFITS
- Totally enclosed, dust-free, contamination-free handling
- Operation in three planes
- Medium energy consumption
- Very low maintenance costs
- Can be started and stopped under load
- Can be run empty
STRUCTURAL DRAG CHAIN CONVEYOR COST
Now, let’s talk about how much what this all adds up to. The price will vary depending on your layout, materials of construction, conveyor size, specifies rates and capacities as well as elected options. A basic conveyor build will cost about $20,000 (£16,500). A complex design will cost $200,000 (£165,000).
OTHER CONVEYING OPTIONS
I mentioned this at the top, but if you think a different conveyor would be a better fit for your process, give us a call. Some conveyors can do the same kind of work for a much lower price. Here at Spiroflow, we have decades of experience in the dry bulk solids and powder processing industry. We’ll help you find the conveyor for you.
NEED MORE THAN A STRUCTURAL DRAG CHAIN CONVEYOR?
We have you covered if you have questions or if you’re interested in adding more than a structural drag chain conveyor to your process. Check out our line of bulk bag fillers and dischargers. Let us know if you have any questions about them.
We also perform control systems integration. Again, if you’d like to know more, feel free to ask.
DON’T FORGET TO RUN A TEST
One last thing, I highly recommend running a material test when considering any type of conveyor. Past projects give us a good idea of what will and won’t work. Using a test lab is the only way to know for sure. This allows you to see how the conveyor will run using your product. It’s so much easier to fix problems in the testing phase versus post installation.
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