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What are the best materials for a Cable Drag Conveyor?

Cable drag conveyors will gently handle the material fed into it. The key, however, is to make sure the proper material is being used. Selecting the wrong type of material to move with a tubular cable drag conveyor can lead to an inefficient process and machine downtime.

Our team at Spiroflow has been helping processors with their conveying needs for more than 45 years. Whether you’re a customer or not we want to help.

Where do Cable Drag Conveyors fit in a process?

There are several ways to install a cable drag conveyor depending on your layout needs and process. For example, Spiroflow’s conveyors have a total circuit length of 400 ft (120 m). Multiple conveyors can be linked to span greater distances.

The conveyors can have multiple inlets and outlets. Cable drags can also be metered or flood fed. This conveyor’s flexibility means it can work effortlessly with bulk bag fillers, bulk bag dischargers, other conveyors or other process equipment in your system.

Cable Drag Conveyor – Best Materials

Cable drags can run while empty. They can also be started or stopped while under load. But, what should and shouldn’t be conveyed?

Any respectable manufacturer will suggest running a material test to determine if your conveyor of choice will get you the results you’re looking for. We’ve learned that problems are much easier to solve during the testing phase compared to after the conveyor is installed.

Materials Effectively Conveyed

  • Dry
  • Fragile
  • Hot (up to 180˚F or 82˚C)
  • Fine particles (good on dry granules, ideal for cereals, nuts, coffee beans)

Not Suitable for Cable Drags

  • Abrasive
  • Hygroscopic
  • Cohesive
  • Slurry
  • Sludge
  • Large particle size


Cleanability is among the top concerns of processors we work with. Fortunately, there are several cleaning options processors can utilize with cable drag conveyors.

Manufacturers can offer hygienic construction materials, a sanitary finish, and air purges and spray nozzles in housings. One thing no manufacturer can guarantee is a sanitary braided steel cable. A coated cable may be possible depending on the application, but it’s important to note that the coating may come off over time. The braided cable has crevices and material can be trapped in the threaded steel. It’s another reason why matching the conveyor to your process and material is so important.

The cable can be removed for cleaning and the rest of the cable drag conveyor can be cleaned by dry scouring (running an abrasive product) or by air purging. Scavenged dust is directed out through the discharge outlet. Adding a wash gate and drain will allow the conveyor to be wet washed.

Other Conveying Options

Hopefully, you now have a better idea if a cable drag conveyor is a right fit for your process and material. If a cable drag won’t work for you, there are plenty of other conveying options. Based on your application requirements those alternative solutions might include ultra-heavy duty structural drag chain conveyorsheavy-duty tubular drag chain conveyorsaero mechanical conveyors, or flexible screw conveyors. We can always evaluate your process needs and make a recommendation to you.

Run a Material Test

If a cable drag seems like a good fit, I suggest running a material test. I mentioned this before, but it’s important. There are hundreds of materials that can be conveyed in a cable drag conveyor. The only way to know for sure that a material will work for your process is to test it out.

Want more information?

If you have any more questions, give us a call. Spiroflow has been a leader in the bulk material handling industry for four decades. Anyone of our experts will be happy to help you out. We’ll do everything we can to help you find the right bulk material handling solution.

We don’t just design and supply cable drag conveyors. Feel free to check out our entire line of conveyors, bulk bag fillers and dischargers, and what we can offer you from a control systems integration perspective.

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