How much does a Tubular Drag Chain Conveyor cost?

by Patrick McManus

How much does a tubular drag chain conveyor cost? We get that question on a regular basis because we’ve been manufacturing these conveyors for customers around the world for years. It’s a great question too because the cost of this type of conveyor can vary quite widely depending on a number of factors. There isn’t a simple answer about the cost because it depends on your individual situation. The material you’re conveying and the requirements of your particular application impact the price. In this article, we will share all the elements that go into designing a drag chain conveyor so you can understand the variables for yourself.

2 Main Types of Drag Chain Conveyor

As you can imagine, drag chain conveyors come in several sizes and differing construction options. We make two types of drag chain conveyors at Spiroflow:

This blog post will only focus on chain conveyors that operate inside of a non-structural tube. We cover ultra heavy-duty structural drag chain conveyors in another post.

Why do I need a Tubular Drag Chain Conveyor?

Tubular drag chain conveyors are designed to provide gentle handling and low material degradation.  The heavy-duty, totally enclosed, dust-free drag chain conveyor economically conveys or batches dry powders and granules particularly fragile materials such as coffee beans, cereals, specialty breakfast cereals, nuts, dried fruit, grains, dry soup mix, candy, small cookies, baby formula powder, pet food, animal feed, and more. Food processors especially appreciate the hygienic, crevice-free molded UHMWPE discs and ultra strong stainless steel chain assembly.

With this system, you’ll get a series of straight and curved tubes coupled to housings in a layout designed for your site and application requirements. The conveyor forms a circuit where the product can enter and exit through multiple tube-mounted chutes. A crevice-free disc and chain assembly moves within a stainless steel tube. When the conveyor is in motion, the discs drag material through the circuit which is driven by a sprocket at one end. More sprockets can be added to the circuit to provide frictionless direction changes and to reduce the system load. A pneumatically actuated tensioning assembly mounted in the 180˚ idler housing applies continuous tension to the chain.

First Step of the Pricing Process: Understanding Your Application

We believe it should be the goal of every manufacturer to make safe, reliable, effective, and economical equipment. A sales engineer will need to know details about your process to accomplish that goal. Here’s a list of items that you’ll be asked about. We hope this can serve as a guide during your buying process. The specifics of your application will determine the cost.

Characteristics of Your Material

  • What is your material
  • Bulk density
  • Particle size
  • Temperature
  • Material form (powder, granule, pellet, etc)
  • Flow characteristics (Angle of Repose)
  • Hopper characteristics
  • Material characteristics
  • Liquid/Fat content
  • Required capacity

Conveying Capacity Requirements

  • How many hours/day will the conveyor run?
  • What rate do you require? (lb/hr or kg/hr) (ft3/hr or m3/hr)
  • What’s your feed source? How many inlets are required? Controlled in feed rate or surge feed?
  • How many discharge points?
  • What’s your conveying distance?

Equipment Specifications

  • What materials of construction are required? Do you require 304 or 316 stainless steel tubes and chain?
  • What are you motor specifications? T.E.F.C., Mill & Chem., Explosion Proofing, Inverter Duty, Washdown Duty

Optional Items

Here is a list of options that are available with our drag chain conveyors. Each option will potentially affect the final price. Don’t worry if you are not sure what you need. As drag conveyor experts we can explain the pros and cons of each and suggest which options you would benefit from most. Then you can decide based on your application needs and budget.

  • 90° Corner Housings
  • Hinged access covers
  • Hinged inlet chute access covers on corner sprockets
  • XP switch for hinged housing access cover
  • 15°, 30°, 45°, 60° or 90° tube bends or bends at other angles
  • Tube mounted inlets with adjustable baffles and lids
  • Tube mounted outlets
  • Hopper with safety grid, lid, and dust hood assembly
  • Hopper vibration – electric or pneumatic
  • Hopper agitator
  • Level indicator
  • Air purge
  • Clean out disc assembly
  • Tube valve with chute (Pneumatically actuated inline discharge valve)
  • Tube valve outlet transition chutes
  • Rotation sensor (highly recommended)
  • Static grounding
  • Controls (with or without VFD)
  • Mobile base

What is the Price of a Tubular Chain Drag Conveyor?

Now that we’ve talked about all of the factors that determine the cost of a tubular drag chain conveyor, we can talk about the price itself. On the low-end, these conveyors cost $12,000 (£9,800). On the high-end, the conveyors can cost around $70,000 (£57,000).

Material Testing

We highly recommend testing your material when considering the purchase of any conveyor.  Material testing allows us to verify the performance of the recommended conveyor under actual operating conditions which provides you with the ultimate piece of mind.   We conduct material tests in our test labs in the US and the UK. Customers can attend the test in person or we can share a video of the test.

Have any more questions?

We know these conveyors well. If you have more questions about drag chain conveyors or just need some advice, call or email us. If you have a specific drag chain application in mind we would love to hear more!

If a tubular drag chain conveyor isn’t a good fit for your process we have you covered. Spiroflow manufactures several different types of conveyors. Those can be viewed here.