Choosing the Right Conveyor – Part 4

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Designing the Drag Conveyor

This is Part 4 of a five-part series on selecting drag chain conveyors. For the previous article, click here.

Choose Materials to Match the Environment

Drag chain conveyors can transfer virtually any bulk material. But for one to perform well, it needs to be equipped with the proper materials.

Conveyors must be designed to withstand the environment in which they operate. For example, conveyors handling ash or hot, acidic materials are best made with stainless steel, which will withstand corrosion. Conveyors handling acidic materials or which will be exposed to salt should likewise be made of stainless steel or galvanized. The correct finish will protect the conveyor and ensure its longevity.

Wear-resistant plates and custom chains can also increase performance. When dealing with highly abrasive material, AR plating may be required to protect the bottom panels from wearing out prematurely. And chains with large-diameter pins will ensure the chain remains strong even after the pin is highly worn, as it’s at the pin that chains typically fail.

For environments where sanitation is important, stainless steel will be necessary. Certain types of plastics and greases are required, too.

Choose the Right Design

The prime goal in choosing a drag conveyor system is low operational cost. To achieve this, you’ll want a conveyor design that is efficient, long-lasting, has low-cost components, and for which maintenance can occur quickly. Efficiency can be achieved by using low-friction materials like UHMW (1.) and by reducing contact points with moving parts in the system (2.).

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It can also be achieved in the specific design for the application. The effectiveness of material flow and flexibility of the system may be improved with multiple inlet points and outlets, for example.

It’s also important to design individual components in the conveyor to best handle the materials being conveyed. These choices include which chains are used and the design of the paddles. The material characteristics will determine the strength of the chain required, the configuration of the flights/paddles (if a single-chain conveyor is used), and the design of the paddle. For paddles in our SMART Conveyors™, how fine or coarse the material is will affect our choice of whether to go with a coarse-tooth, fine-tooth paddle, or piano-key paddle design, for instance.

Whatever you do, don’t opt for a generic, chain-in-a-box conveyor. These cheap conveyors offer little in terms of customization and are an expensive option for your operation despite the convenient price tag. They’ll operate inefficiently and require much in terms of repair. For the best performance, you’ll need to work with experts who understand your application and can design an effective conveyance system for it.

Many engineering firms will offer to design a chain conveyor for you, but few of these firms have the experience necessary to design a top-performing system. For that, you must turn to an expert.

Biomass Engineering & Equipment has the experience and knowledge you need to equip your operation with an efficient, world-class material handling system. Our SMART Conveyors™ are designed to keep your operational costs low and production time high. Contact us today to discuss your material handling challenges.

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